09-23-19 | Blog Post

What is Public Cloud Vendor Lock-in?

Blog Posts

According to the recent RightScale State of the Cloud report, hybrid cloud strategies continue to grow. On average, enterprises are using or experimenting with an average of nearly five clouds. As migration from on-premise data centers to the cloud continues to march forward and companies navigate integrating multiple clouds into their environments, they are increasingly dealing with the obstacles that come with multiple, disparate systems and vendors.

Recently, we explained a few of the challenges that IT leaders and departments face when dealing with data portability among multiple public and private clouds. We mentioned the cost factor that’s involved when applications and data must move between clouds – and specifically, out of a public cloud. So how do companies that set out to create a hybrid or multi-cloud environment end up becoming “locked in” to one public cloud? How can they overcome vendor lock-in with confidence?

What exactly is public cloud vendor lock-in?

Vendor lock-in is when an organization using one cloud service, such as public cloud, can’t easily transition to another environment and becomes essentially ‘stuck’ using the public cloud service exclusively. Lock-in is typically the result of incompatibility with other platforms and extraordinarily high costs to move applications and data outside of one environment.

Today’s largest public cloud vendors, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, use various hypervisors. There may be options, so it is important to be aware of what they are and plan ahead so that you can standardize on a hypervisor that works for you across the board with all your providers and platforms. But the biggest obstacle comes down to cost. In order to port your data or applications out of a public cloud into any other environment, you must be prepared to pay. Migration, capacity and storage fees are substantial and can quickly escalate. Finally, the public cloud giants may also present contract issues that create some hardships for you when switching vendors or moving data and applications.

How to avoid getting locked in

While these challenges can feel overwhelming, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of public cloud obstacles and avoid lock-in. 

Do your homework at the outset

Take a look at your entire IT environment and how your multi or hybrid cloud strategy is impacted. Then determine your data and application portability requirements. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be prepared to estimate what will be required operationally and financially to migrate.

  • Know your providers: This is essentially an extension of doing your homework. After you’ve surveyed your internal situation, dig deep into your current or prospective cloud provider’s terms and conditions to find out where the fees and restrictions come into play should you need to move data around.
  • Design your applications mindfullyBy now you have all the information you need to optimize the design of your applications so that they will work across your internal and cloud environment. Build your applications so they’re as flexible and loosely coupled as possible to maximize portability.
  • Implement best practices and processesConsider tools and processes that will ensure consistency and reliability across your environment. Automation, containers and DevOps tools are increasingly being used to support multi- and hybrid cloud solutions for the benefits of efficiency and cost containment.

While vendor lock-in can be a concern, especially for multi and hybrid cloud environments, a proactive approach can minimize the potential impact and help you reap the benefits of your overall solution. If you are experiencing challenges with vendor lock-in and are looking for a solution, Otava has your back. contact our hybrid cloud experts today at www.otava.com/contact or call (877) 740-5028.

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