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Builder versus Plumber

Rob Enderle recently added some great insight into a question we posed a couple of weeks ago, "What If a Plumber Built Your House".  When thinking about the question if you wanted a plubmer to build your house, he answered with "maybe".  Here are some of Rob's excellent points from his post, "Cisco, EMC and VMware: Cloud Computing Could Bring Strange Bedfellows".




  • Most builders learn the ropes in a specific trade like plumbing.


  • Plumbers can learn and partner.


  • Other experts may be useful if you were building with non-traditional materials in non-traditional places; like a cliff

Can a plumber learn new skills and partner with others to fill in the gaps?  Certainly.  Could a world-class builder do the same thing?  That is, continuously learn and partner to expand innovation in new areas based on a proven foundation.  Absolutely.


But when the example of the cloud came up, Rob inferred the cloud is primarily a network thing. Or at least a network, storage, virtual thing.  That's one point where we disagree.


The point between our builder versus plumber analogy is this: the only frame of reference when building a house is from the family and the people that make it up.  In the case of the next generation data center, that means the business and the applications and services it relies upon.  If everything isn't aligned, unified and integrated with those needs in mind for both today and the unknown tomorrow, it's a non-starter. 


Whether you are building a cloud, a data center, a or a tiny IT room, it's about about the business and delivering the application services the business needs - faster, cheaper and easier.  In our opinion, taking any kind of technology-centric view; network, server or storage is just the wrong approach.


This really just comes down to a simple difference in our points of view .  We view the big picture from the business and the application perspective across the data center, others see these as appendages hanging on to either side of a network cable.  


Rob ended with this.



"But the key to all of this is a general contractor that understands networking, storage and virtualization deeply, because those are likely the three critical skills in this new world order. By the way, this clearly suggests other partnerships, as well."


We agree it takes a lot to bring all the skills together to build in the world of the next generation data center.  Our team features EDS, who may be the world's greatest general contractor, HP software for the best home automation, and ProCurve might be your best bet for a plumber.  VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Oracle and more are some of our most talented sub contractors too.  But without a builder, how do all the necessary parts of your data center work together and stay optimized; and who's accountable if they don't?


A big thanks to Rob for adding a lot of great ideas to consider in the "builder versus plumber" discussion.  What do you think?

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  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
  • I work within EMEA ISS Central team and a launch manager for new products and general communications manager for EMEA ISS specific information.
  • Hello! I am a social media manager for servers, so my posts will be geared towards HP server-related news & info.
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  • Global Marketing Manager with 15 years experience in the high-tech industry.
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  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
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