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Why do companies consider platform diversity to be important for cloud systems?

Q:

Why do companies consider platform diversity to be important for cloud systems?

A:

There are various reasons why companies strive for multi-cloud systems or platform diversity in the cloud. Generally speaking, having platform diversity gives an IT architecture more flexibility and gives managers more options to choose from.

One of the big philosophies behind platform diversity is the philosophy of specialization. Rather than going with one overarching vendor platform, the idea is that companies can get better results by building assemblies of standalone systems that work well together.

For instance, rather than using a comprehensive ERP tool that contains elements like identity and access management, customer relationship management and supply chain execution management, a company could find three different vendor products that support each of these things, and link them together. Because many vendors are highly specialized in each one of these disciplines, companies feel they can get more out of the standalone product than a generic ERP system that may have some mediocrity built into it.

There's also the idea of redundancy and platform choice. Suppose a company only has one platform and is coming to the threshold of what the vendor offers without expensive additional fees – that company has no choice. However, a company with platform diversity that has multiple vendor products can choose to allocate resources between these products to contain costs, increase efficiency, boost productivity or promote data backup and redundancy solutions.

As an additional point, platform diversity allows companies to compare vendors. They may see things in a particular service level agreement that they like, and use them to make more informed choices in the future. By contrast, professionals talk about a "monoculture" or "vendor lock-in" that can stifle a company's IT growth over the long term.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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