Get out of the office much?

In an article about the future of DeCarta, and other DeCarta-flavored beverages, the Virtual Earth Blog serves up this opinion-nugget:

If your web based map app calls for supreme control and customization of cartography you historically would build your own cluster around ESRI’s universe of software and get to coding. For small- to mid-sized apps this was OK assuming you could make the development investment, but it broke down when scaling forced you to build out that cluster. This is where hosted solutions like Virtual Earth come in…

He goes on to beat up DeCarta/Telcontar for having the pricing sensibilities of the ESRI solution (high) with the cartographic flexibility of Virtual Earth (low).

Somehow, he missed the option where you build your customized cluster on open source, and you scale it out for the cost of commodity hardware. He also missed that part where he admits Virtual Earth and Google Maps have a pricing advantage over DeCarta/Telcontar because they are currently giving their services away at a loss and that is going to go on… forever?

In the business of building potentially high volume geospatial sites, my feel is that you have two choices, just like Virtual Earth blogger, it’s just that my two options are different than his: hosted (Google/Microsoft/Yahoo/DeCarta), or open source. Anything else will break the bank when scaling time comes.