The Realities of Single Panes of Glass

by Bob Plankers on February 23, 2012 · 4 comments

in System Administration,Tech Field Day,Virtualization

The folks at Virtualization Tech Field Day 2 were tweeting about single panes of glass (I think they were playing buzzword bingo) and reminded me of my feelings on the topic.

I’ve never thought a single pane of glass was all that special, or necessary. Once upon a time, when I was the IT guy for a small environment, I never used them because I didn’t feel like dealing with the hassle of tying everything together, arbitrarily creating dependencies and unnecessarily complicating my life. Now, as an “enterprise” guy, I can’t use a single pane of glass to see into my storage, network, backups, etc. because of the politics & silos with the storage, network, and backup teams. And even if the politics weren’t there I still wouldn’t use a single pane of glass, because I don’t need more complexity and dependencies in my systems. I want to remove interdependence & complexity, not add more, and every time one product touches another it opens the door for support finger-pointing, and causes lag & drag as I wait for support matrix updates, certifications, qualifications, etc. Have enough products touching each other and you find you can’t move forward at all.

When it comes right down to it, I think a vendor is better off spending time making their interface solid & highly usable than trying to integrate it with everything else. A good example of this is Veeam, where they’ve decided that a full-featured Windows client for their Backup & Replication product is the way to go, rather than making a half-assed web interface that “integrates.”

Single pane of glass? Great idea on paper, but never works right in practice.

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