Call it irrational exuberance. Call it hype. Call it whatever you want, but understand that just because a big technology trend dominates the media doesn’t mean it’s The Right Thing for you or your company to embrace. Not wholesale, anyway.
For example, consider just a few of the trends sweeping the industry, particularly those that are finding their way into job specifications. HTML5, NoSQL (e.g., MongoDB), cloud computing, Hadoop, etc. Spend a few minutes on TechCrunch and you’ll start to feel that YOU MUST BUY INTO THESE RIGHT NOW!
And, in some cases, you should.
But not always. If you’re building a cloud application, for example, you’re likely going to want the scale-out capabilities of a NoSQL database like MongoDB. But Oracle has a good point arguing that you wouldn’t want to build a checking application for a bank with NoSQL technology. SQL has its place, and NoSQL has its place. It just happens to be dominant for new school applications, which may not be the kind you’re developing.
Or consider Hadoop, which has dramatically lowered the (economic) bar to data mining/analytics. Hadoop is fantastic technology, but it’s batch-oriented. If you need real-time analytics, you’re likely going to want to couple Storm with Hadoop, as we do here at Nodeable. Or maybe you should embrace Red Hat’s JBoss Data Grid 6, which “as an in-memory, key-value store…is much more optimized to handle the operations that Hadoop simply can’t: transactions like the kind found in e-commerce and financial trading systems.”
Does this mean you dump Hadoop and swap it for Data Grid or Storm? Of course not. But it does mean that developers need to look beyond the hype to determine what is the best tool for a particular job.
The same thing holds true in mobile, where HTML5 promised to be the end to mobile’s fragmentation problem. Instead, it turns out native apps dominate the smartphone space, while content-friendly tablets are much more likely to be friendly to HTML5.
The list goes on. Some swear by Node.js, but it’s best for server-side app development, and not a panacea, according to Nodeable CEO Dave Rosenberg. Cloud? You probably shouldn’t choose private or public, but both, declares Citrix’s Peder Ulander. Etc. etc.
Each of these technologies is trending because it solves real needs in novel, useful ways. But this doesn’t mean they’re right for you. Of course, one of the great things about cloud and open source and other megatrends like these is that they tend to skew open, such that you can try before you buy. As a vendor, this is a huge boon, as I’d much rather customers buy what they need and are happy, rather than getting duped into buying hype that doesn’t fit their needs.
That’s the old world: buy into the hype and regret is later. The new world lets you regret your decision right away.