Is vendor lock-in a problem to solve or should you manage your purchases better?

CIO magazine has a post on the Open Compute Project and how it takes aim at vendor lock-in.

Facebook Data Center Project Takes Aim At Vendor Lock-in

Facebook's Open Compute Project aims to reduce 'gratuitous differentiation' among IT vendors

By Joab Jackson
Thu, October 27, 201

IDG News Service — By launching the Open Compute Project as a stand-alone foundation, Facebook is hoping to further standardize the market for data center equipment, thereby reducing costs and vendor lock-in, the new foundation's board members said at a press conference Thursday.

"What has been missing here has been standardization at the systems level," said Andreas Bechtolsheim, an OCP board member who co-founded Sun Microsystems and later was the first major investor in Google. He railed against "gratuitous differentiation" on the part of server vendors, who each have their own unique chassis or some other component that prevents users from intermingling the equipment with gear from other vendors.



But are vendors really the problem or is it how companies make their purchases the problem? The smart data center guys are looking at the hardware purchases and data center designs as a complete system and they need engineering talent in the company to design the systems and choose the right hardware.

You could blame the vendors, but they are doing what any company would do figuring out how to maximize their profits, and differentiate their products vs. others.

Are vendors reacting to the way customers buy or are vendors defining how customers buy?  Facebook is drawing attention to what happens if hardware designs are open sourced.  But as Kevin Heslin asked last week at the Open Compute Project, how does the foundation determine what is open sourced and what is not?

Is Open Source Hardware the answer or is it how companies purchase?  Think about it.  Buying Open Compute hardware changes the purchasing process.