Every technology has its fair share of trends, and cloud computing is no exception. Several years ago a trend emerged to "avoid vendor lock-in" - which means customers should avoid getting tied to a vendor's product or service so much that they can't easily transition out to a competing service. Concerns over cyberattacks, wide spread outages, and possibilities of future rising costs have many companies heeding this advice and making efforts to mitigate dependencies on cloud vendor proprietary formats and services. Companies are designing portable architectures that can shift either within the cloud vendor, between cloud vendors, or in hybrid environments. Thankfully, advancements in open source technologies, as well as increased supportability (e.g., Microsoft Azure's support for Linux), have made transitioning between cloud vendors more attainable than ever before. Today, the avoid vendor lock-in trend is still prevalent and is one of the main drivers for the more recent trend of multi-cloud vendor strategies.
Nevertheless, companies should not over exaggerate the avoidance. Often at times, companies will not even attempt or build from scratch, piecing many complex components together to achieve what is readily available by the cloud vendor via a few clicks. However, much of the managed services provided by cloud vendors offer significant benefits, which include:
- Capturing competitive advantage, market share, and time to market
- Driving innovation through continual experimentation, prototyping, and proof of concepts
- Cost savings - many of these new services are inexpensive compared to what it would cost to implement on your own
Their services typically relate to cutting edge technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Streaming, Serverless Architectures, Machine Learning, and more - capabilities that can be extremely complex to implement, perhaps not even feasible without the cloud. In a matter of minutes, you can have a suite of solutions that provide application stability, data storage, management, monitoring, and maintenance - freeing you up to focus more on the business value. Envision implementing an end-to-end Big Data solution in weeks instead of months.
While utilizing these services, you should continue to use architectural best practices and ensure you understand any limitations or feature gaps provided by the managed service. This will aid in remaining open to the threat of vendor lock-in. However, over time, vendor lock-in will continue to decrease as technologies supporting containerization, microservices, advanced automation, and more become standardized and reach more widespread production use. As for right now though, don't over avoid lock-in by completely avoiding agility.
About the Author
Adam is a Manager based out of CapTech's Richmond office with expertise in cloud computing and web content management platforms. He holds a unique ability for aligning technology solutions with business goals skilled in strategy, project management, as well as architecting and implementing enterprise solutions. Adam has a passion for knowledge sharing and growing the technology community as a conference speaker, president of user groups, and recognition as a Top 50 SharePoint blogger.