The patchwork quilt

The principles of modularity, simplicity, or orthogonality, insofar as they contribute to overall simplicity, are an excellent means to an end; but as a substitute for simplicity they are very questionable
C.A.R. Hoare

There are now hundreds of vendors offering COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) OSS tools, many of which are listed on our vendors/products page. There are many niche products in this list. It also means there are many products available that consistently and repeatably deliver a solution for multiple customers, thus driving economies of scale. Many of these tools are mature in that they’ve evolved to meet the needs of multiple CSPs.

Ultimately, this means that there are fewer one-off OSS tools in existence than there were in the early days of OSS where CSPs often created their own tools. This is described in more detail on this page.

The “best-of-breed” approach meant that many CSPs have a patchwork quilt of disparate COTS tools in their OSS stable as a replacement for their earlier customised, monolithic solution. The downside of “best-of-breed” is that the CSP had to maintain many different vendor relationships.

Anecdotally, it seems that the pendulum has been swinging back towards a rationalisation of the number of tools and vendors that each CSP has, down to a more manageable count. This plays into the hands of the full-spectrum vendors / integrators, enabling them to win larger new B/OSS transformation projects.

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