When planning a wood-working project one of the more interesting decisions one can make is what kind screws to use. Flat head screws allow for more torque to be applied for the same size head. Phillips head screws are easier to drive and counter-sink.
Of course when you have to take something apart the choice is pretty much already made for you. If you need to take out a bunch of Flat-head screws, it really helps to have a Flat-head driver. Standing around with a box full of Phillips drivers cursing the builder for not anticipating your choice of drivers is a bit counter-productive.
As is the whole silly Virtual-directory versus Meta-directory debate.
Dave Kearns has declared the Meta-directory as a “last century technology”. Perhaps is it. But the applications that customers need to bring into their identity infrastructure often date to the last century as well. It’s pretty hard to apply a virtual directory solution to applications that are not directory enabled to begin with.
And some future applications may not be much different. As Kim Cameron points out, your application developers and vendors may not buy into the whole Virtual-directory vision:
I admire many aspects of Dave’s thinking about identity. But I pity anyone who follows his really ideological argument that virtual directory solves everything and distributed storage just isn’t needed. We need both.
He’s asking readers to bet against databases. He’s asking them to bet against the programming model used by application developers. He’s asking them to forget about performance. He’s asking them to take all the use cases in the world and stuff them into his Prius – which is actually more like a hobby horse than a car.
Once you have identity data distributed across stores you either have chaos or you have metadirectory. I’ll explore this more in upcoming posts.
Meanwhile, if anyone wants to bet against the future of databases and integration of identity information into them, drop me a note and I’ll set up a page to take your money. And at the same time, I recommend that you start training for a second career.
As I look at, you don’t provide value by telling a customer that they need to re-engineer production systems to adhere to a new identity philosophy. You provide value by providing solutions to their existing problems. If a Meta-directory is the best fit, use it. If a Virtual-directory is a better fit, use it.
My old thesis advisor at the U. of Florida had a great saying:
An engineer is someone who measures with a micrometer, marks with a piece of chalk, and cuts with an ax.
Sometimes a Meta-directory makes a mighty fine ax.