Is extensibility giving you a headache?

Have you noticed how everything is scalable, extensible, modular, componentised and (yup, you guessed it) flexible these days? Not that it shouldn’t be of course, it’s just that it’s such a heavily emphasised facet of so much of the technology industry at the moment that you can’t stop yourself from wishing the vendors who talk about it would get over themselves sometimes.

Have you noticed how everything is scalable, extensible, modular, componentised and (yup, you guessed it) flexible these days? Not that it shouldn’t be of course, it’s just that it’s such a heavily emphasised facet of so much of the technology industry at the moment that you can’t stop yourself from wishing the vendors who talk about it would get over themselves sometimes.

We know that companies, industries, economies and even countries can experience exponential growth and that ‘provisioning for extensibility’ (I can’t believe I just said that) is important. So have arguments for computing efficiency such as virtualisation and cloud computing helped take the sting out this topic? Don’t get your hopes up – today we’re more modular than a bag of Lego bricks at a Tupperware convention (not sure if that analogy works?) if you get my drift.

I’m all for reusable code structures to speed up software development, but I question whether too much voice is given to application delivery devices (or controllers) that claim to be able to do the architect’s or administrator’s job for them.

A case in point is Zeus Technology, who says that its position in the industry is defined by the fact that its customers’ requirements for rapid and scalable delivery of applications have becoming increasingly more complex.

The company sells something it calls ZXTM (Zeus Extensible Traffic Manager) – essentially this thing is an extensible (there I go again) application delivery platform that manages traffic by inspecting, transforming and load-balancing requests across an application infrastructure. It is, we’re told, the “only” software application delivery controller available on the market.

My point is this – remember when storage was more of a big deal? Your hard disk got full, you played around with 3.5-inch floppies and you quickly used up your 32Meg USB stick when you first got it. These days we’re not so worried about extending our storage capacity for growing data needs. Will we see a time soon when we accept that application delivery demands can spiral upwards and know that we are equipped to deal with those eventualities? Or will we always need to essentially extensible and exponentially extendable?