About X vs Y in tech
Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Actually, I was going to write a blog post about “Why Docker might be enough” but soon I caught myself, that this blog post would be one of these posts where someone (I) tries to convince somebody to use something (in this case Docker) instead of another thing (Kubernetes maybe). Bad, because in this case the article wouldn’t be more than one of these “X vs Y in tech” blog posts the internet is already flooded with.
Why is it that hard to accept one others position?
One reason might be because we are trained to compare everything at any time since we were young? For example, at school we got our marks and we all know that an one is better than a five (in school systems with numeric marks). Pretty clear, isn’t it? I think it’s not, because it’s only one of probably many ways to look at it. At school, one mark does not make a report card. There are many different subjects, and if someone is maybe bad at math he or she might be good at PE.
Another example is sports. There is always “versus”, in every game. And most of the time there is one, and only one, winner. The second or third place hardly matters. This is something which is trained over years, since our early days. Therefore, we are conditioned at that in most of our discussions only the first place matters. “The winner takes it all the loser standing small.” s[ABBA]
And the same point of view should be taken into account, if we are talking about X vs Y in tech. Often, only technical parameters are compared, for example: Kubernetes clusters can scale out to more than 5000 nodes versus Docker Swarms are able to handle about 1000 save and sound. So, ding ding, point for Kubernetes! Pretty clear, isn’t it? I think it’s not, because a lot of other parameters are not taken into account. One important thing is experience, the other point is the environment.
About experiences and environments
As we all proceed throughout our tech lives, we make different experiences, good ones and bad ones. And of course, as we all proceed, we prefer the solutions which worked well. That’s why we tend to convince others about our solution. That’s human but sometimes it would be helpful, if we first try to understand the environment of the person we discuss with. An example: At KubeCon EU 2019 my colleagues and I talked with a lot of people. In nearly every chat, sooner or later we were asked where and how we use Kubernetes. Our answer was: We are currently not using Kubernetes (neither in the Cloud nor as on-premises enterprise solution), we use native Docker Swarm. The reaction differed from wondering to horrify - until we, the Devs and Ops, explained our environment, our experience, our knowledge and also the why (simply we don’t need it at the moment) behind our current decision - which is not set in stone!
Co-operations would be better
In our spare time, we (Bernhard and I and some other colleagues) are also playing computer games for fun. And you know what? We are always playing co-operative games, were three or four people have to co-operate to achieve the given goal. It is much more satisfying than playing a player versus player game. If you are interested in the background to co-operative behavior take a look at the Prisoner’s dilemma.
Instead of focusing about the “versus” when comparing two (or more) things, I think it would be much more helpful to focus on the co-operative or the synergy between to objects. Like in the picture of this post, it might be absolutely OK that two persons can be right at the same thing at the same time but with different points of view about the object of interest. But if they co-operate, they can find a way where both can still be right. In this case, the common result will exceed the individual achievement.
Maybe, next time I will write an article about “The synergy of container technologies”… 😂