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The Problem With Cloud Vendor Lock-In: Sticky Clouds Edition

Vendor lock-in

Ever feel like your cloud provider has you locked-in? They actually might be trying to.

One stop shop: a concept that while awesome in its potential also carries with it a significant downside, in particularly concerning a wide variety of business infrastructure requirements.

The truth is all cloud providers, whether they are AWS, Rackspace, GoGrid, Microsoft Azure, HP, Datapipe, or Logicworks, have something to offer. How they deliver their offerings can deeply impact the value you can expect from an outsourced cloud service.

Many companies seek to make their offerings as sticky as possible to facilitate cloud vendor lock-in on the product set level as well as at the contract level. But why avoid vendor lock-in? As Gathering Clouds’ friend Barb Darrow notes:

“The advent of cloud computing should make it easy to mix and match services from multiple vendors within a cloud and to let data flow in and out of parts of the clouds as needed.”

Barb is spot on. The notion of being able to migrate workloads, or even designate entire parts of infrastructure to certain purposes, has a lot to do with unlocking the full value of the cloud. However, depending on the kind of service you use, this is easier or not.

Jason Bond over at the Motley Fool recently noted how “sticky” AWS’ service offering is, making associations with big data (in particular) as a viable application of AWS resources. While noting other major providers like Rackspace, the article doesn’t go far enough to articulate that many businesses don’t simply use one service, nor does he focus on the difficulty of syncing AWS resources and tools with other infrastructures.

One of the key considerations for what kind of cloud provider to sign with is determining what cloud or combination of clouds will help you achieve your business goals in the way that you want to. If all you need are AWS resources and the tools they have internally, then that’s what you should use.

If your business is looking to remain agile and decides to create its own competitive advantage by leveraging relationships based on internal technology platforms, you might be unhappily surprised. For instance, when you decide to move away from AWS, your next provider will probably not have the same capacity to house certain processes that you were used to at AWS. Similarly, if you have become used to open cloud platforms with say Rackspace, moving towards AWS with its proprietary tools and APIs might present a degree of difficulty in moving workloads and gaining value from the range of cloud platforms.

How does your business remain agile in the cloud? Let us know on Twitter @CloudGathering.

By Jake Gardner

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