Crowdsourcing system configuration data

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Would you share anonymized data about the configuration of your systems and networks if by contributing that data you were entitled to review the aggregated data (scrubbed of any personally identifiable information)?

As far as I know, this configuration data is held today primarily by a) vendors (who know it through their customer interactions) and b) industry analysts.    Therefore, questions about ‘best practices’ for IT management and configuration are typically answered by analysts, vendors, or one’s peers.   I’m wondering if the best answers come from the crowd.  If thousands of customers have a certain app (say, Exchange) configured a certain way, wouldn’t that imply a best practice?  Customers always ask “How are others in my (geo/vertical/etc) using your software?” and something like this could answer that question, potentially in a vendor-neutral way.

Are there any non-profit or for-profit companies that doing this today?  Does anyone find this interesting or am I missing some key points?

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  1. This is very interesting topic. I think targeted ads are a version of this. Or even polling. I might participate in either if I were certain my information was not going to be shared. But, I’m on the fence whether the compiled data constitutes a “best practice” or the most popular practice, and in the case of IT configuration, subject to popular notions about cost considerations — the information held out there by the crowd may or may not be correct, and like all markets subjects to the whether perfect information is available. The scenario you lay out might become more compelling as time goes on as the speed at which information makes its way through communities increases.

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