Perils and plusses of a single-vendor infrastructure

Matt Stansberry

The tech industry has reached the point where shops can standardize on a single vendor for hardware or software needs. But, while the getting looks good, there can be drawback to a single-vendor shop.

Experts say opportunities exist, but buyers beware.

There are several benefits to standardizing to a single vendor:

  • It requires fewer skill sets, therefore fewer bodies on your IT staff.
  • The staffers themselves are cheaper, because the standard skills are more abundant.
  • Standardization allows you to work with fewer vendors, leveraging hardware, maintenance and licensing costs.
  • It can significantly reduce the cost of integrating multiple technologies by reducing middleware.
  • It makes it easier to predict hardware refresh cycles.

    "There certainly are some benefits to standardizing. You basically have one set of owner manuals for your IT staff to learn," said Charles King, principal analyst at Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Research. "It's like doing business in a small town. You develop a good personal relationship and get premium service. You tend to be at the top of the repair list."

    According to Mark Feverston, director of the ES7000 platform, Unisys' Intel-based box, standardization is the macro-trend of this decade.

    "Everybody tells you that they want to do more with less. Reducing the number of technologies in your infrastructure can do that," Feverston said. "[Standardization] gives clients more agility with equal or greater

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