EDITORIAL: No easy questions these days

You’re standing on the corner of a busy street, cars blowing by you nonstop. The Walk/Don’t Walk sign is broken; and both the go/no-go signals are brightly lit. What do you do? Stand on the corner and hope the light will change so you can cross in relative safety, or do you run like hell and hope you don’t get mowed down?

This month’s issue is about making tough choices that can cost plenty if you happen to make the wrong decision.

IBM has been talking up Workplace, the messaging and collaboration platform it announced in 2003, writes Stephen Swoyer. Meanwhile, Notes/Domino customers are beginning to suspect IBM will abandon the platform, leaving them without support or access to product innovation.

IBM adamantly says Notes/Domino won’t be scrapped, although it concedes Domino and Workplace eventually will converge into one product. That leaves longtime Notes/Domino customers wondering if they should stick tight and protect their investment or migrate to Workplace, which is clearly the future for IBM.

Alan Joch’s feature looks at another tough choice IT shops are mulling over: Should they stick with costly commercial software with support or move to no-cost, open-source software with little or no support? Joch, who is new to these pages, spoke to IT pros who have not only deployed open source, but also have made it pay off by sharing their code.

IT shops are giving software as a service, and its compelling value proposition, a close look these days, writes Steve Ulfelder, who is also writing for ADT for the first time. However, SaaS offers little to world-class enterprises because of their extensive investment infrastructure and apps.

Whether to apply the latest patch from a software vendor can often be a tricky question. Some patches, to close a security hole, for example, are absolutely essential. But others may actually do more harm than good. Johanna Ambrosio looks at how some IT shops are managing the patch problem.

Finally, frequent contributor John Waters investigates how some enterprises are attempting to get unstructured data under control. The experts say more than 80 percent of data that companies generate does not fit into the neat little cells of a database. Getting that information under control is no longer an option, however. If you can’t think of a business reason to do it, the federal government has some ideas.

About the Author

Michael Alexander is editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends.