Finally, the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) or the vendor that manages the datacenter should define a way to extract data quickly, easily, and economically. Data lock-in is a huge risk to mitigate; these steps simplify and enable immediate data transfer to alternate platforms when necessary.
Stick to SDLC best practices. DevOps is the high point of present-day software development life cycles. It focuses on platform-independence in both cloud and on-premises deployments. For example, Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a common DevOps practice that aims for technology-independent design with guidelines for provisioning, managing, and operating IT infrastructure.
DevOps helps maximize code portability by enabling deployment of applications to diverse environments by isolating software from its existing environment and abstracting dependencies away from the solution provider.
Is Vendor Lock-In Always Bad?
While no organization wants to be in a monogamous vendor marriage without reason, there is such a thing as a win-win relationship with vendors. Today, the typical organization wants to use standardized or even commodity software, but create sophisticated aggregations and “stacks” of software components, and build a bespoke solution that enables them to deliver a differentiated offering to their customers.
IT organizations tend to think they’re on top of everyday operational processes like managing data, installing additional software components, applying patches and upgrades on time, and scaling functionality while ensuring availability and performance, is within their capabilities. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is too much of data, infrastructure, and human resources risk involved, and these problems rear their ugly heads every day – application loads exceed system capacity, new APIs need require newer data formats, lack of redundancy causes transaction failures, and so on.
Therefore, the choice of technology vendors becomes a multifaceted decision involving features, cost, scalability, support, and future viability of the solution. This is better understood by traditional datacenter managers more than cloud architects.
“I don’t think datacenter managers necessarily ‘hate’ vendor lock-in. In the absence of an open market they will select the solution that best meets their needs. The possibility of vendor lock-in can be seen as a necessary price to pay to get what you want in the near term,” said John Sloan, analyst for the Info-Tech Research Group.
IT needs to focus on developing and deploying next-generation applications instead of upgrading the infrastructure or migrating to a better cloud. While there are many commonalities between different CSPs, especially in the public cloud ecosystem (such as VMs, block storage, and Hadoop services), the underlying architecture that runs critical workloads differs drastically from one provider to another.
The added complexity of multicloud environments as well as open source software components doesn’t always justify the singular purpose of avoiding vendor lock-in. Many cloud vendors have unique and powerful capabilities that enhance the organization’s ability to deliver better services to their customers. Thus, IT needs to change its antiquated view that vendor lock-in is an evil that needs to be avoided at all costs. It is only one factor to assess when evaluating technology and operational strategy.
A very strong reason to work with a single cloud service provider is that usually, it’s far easier to migrate workloads from one public cloud to another as opposed to migrating to the cloud from a datacenter or upgrading on-premises infrastructure. Moreover, using a single platform for all compatible IT needs allows the organization to get a better deal and gain more leverage in deployment, support, upgrades, and renewals.
No Silver Bullet
There is no magic pill (or even the need for one) to avoid vendor lock-in. Many companies keep shunting between private and public clouds and on-premises infrastructures, only to realize that proprietary technologies offer better performance, tighter security, cost savings, or just simpler operations than a vendor-independent solution. An organization using AWS, for instance, cannot simply wake up one morning and switch to Google Cloud.
However, with some straightforward due diligence, it is quite possible to reach a comfort level in operational flexibility as well as risk mitigation by making sure there’s a fallback vendor available in case of a vendor fallout.