IT management, Content

Dispatches From Mexico City: (Single) Panes of Glass

Author: Ty Trumbull
Author: Ty Trumbull

I have a mild obsession with the doors of Mexico City.

As you wander around the countless side streets that litter this city you often stumble upon these ornate, ostentatious portals into people's’ homes, offices, or places of worship. It’s not uncommon to see big, baroque entranceways attached to dilapidated buildings, making it clear that some people take pride in these doorways.

When I first moved here from Canada I took lots of pictures of doors. I even toyed with the idea of starting a dedicated Instagram account to my obsession, but there’s something kind of creepy about standing outside someone’s house pointing your camera at it. Still, it’s an idea I return to from time to time, so who knows, maybe I’ll be an Instagram sensation yet.

My knowledge of architectural history and trends is severely lacking, so I’ve had a hard time figuring out how these entranceways became so popular. A search of “Mexico City Doors” mostly yields stories about The Doors concerts here in 1969. But the mystery keeps me intrigued and for now, I’ll simply equate them with the other magical things I’ve found in this place.

From Panes to A Single Pane

Staring at these beautiful, gilded doorways surrounded by cracked sidewalks, crooked foundations and a general lack of interest from others passing by caused me to think back on an interview I did for ChannelE2E. I don’t believe this part of the conversation made it into the actual piece, but the interviewee and I started discussing the “single pane of glass” (SPOG).

It’s a coveted thing in IT management. After all, who wouldn’t want an all-in-one solution?

There is, however, a growing body of thought that says the SPOG solution isn’t much of a solution at all. New technologies are developed all the time. Implementing these products with legacy systems would be a continuing struggle. The director of product management for unified computing at Cisco, Mark Balch, has said: “There is no single pane of glass for every conceivable function of an IT environment.”

As Good As Advertised?

Whether a single pane of glass is actually a viable solution or not is a question for people much smarter than me, but a holistic approach to diagnosing problems does seem like a worthwhile problem to solve.

Still, as I think about those beautiful Mexico City doors surrounded by cracked buildings, I can’t help but search for a metaphor. Could the single pane be a mask for foundational problems? Or is it a portal into a new world where everything fits seamlessly together and different functions serve one another perfectly?

I wonder if the single pane can ever be as good as promised. Still, there’s a good number of vendors offering single-screen solutions to IT service providers. But just how good is the view?

Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday, he offers views about his new hometown.