Companies migrating to the cloud need to be able to optimize performance and minimize cost while keeping their options open. A key way to do this? Avoid vendor lock-in. Vendor lock-in is the enemy of agile, proactive enterprise activity. 

What Is Vendor Lock-In?

“Vendor lock-in” refers to a situation where an enterprise gets tied in to one specific cloud vendor. This means they are locked into the entire stack, and into the way in which that particular cloud vendor (or their services) operate. Such lock-in comes with inherent restrictions. 

To avoid lock-in, companies often use the minimal set of services that a vendor provides, the idea being that you can easily move from one vendor to another. But this is not the best idea for two reasons:

  1. Often, the native cloud services in question are effective, and you’ll want to be able to leverage them fully. You lose some of the advantages of moving to the cloud in the first place if you don’t.
     
  2. The idea that you can easily migrate from one vendor to the other is an illusion. It’s not that easy to move house, especially for complicated applications. There are a lot of details to consider, and different vendors vary based on performance and API. You will need to do a lot of work to move a complicated application, even if you just use a single object to store some basic database capabilities. Just setting up all the networking and the configurations around is a challenge.

Why Multi-cloud is the Answer

The best way to avoid vendor lock-in? Go multi-cloud.

Smart companies deploy a set of applications with cloud vendor one and another set with cloud vendor two. This way, they have multiple vendors to leverage during price negotiations. Another option is to move a portion of the workload as part of a phased approach, while leveraging the additional phases as leverage in negotiating better pricing or flexibility.

The crucial point here is this: when you’re moving workloads to the cloud, you have to be hyper aware of where your data is living. Fundamentally, data has a lot of gravity. After the initial investment of moving your data to the cloud, justifying that spend a second time is less likely. 

Data sharing between on-prem and cloud, or even between multiple clouds and on-prem can be a hard thing to pull off. Your cloud strategy will likely be constrained by the cost of moving data, which cloud services you pick up, and the architecture of your applications.

It’s critical to think through all aspects of your cloud deployment strategy because you can get effectively trapped if you’re not careful. Always keep an eye out for vendor lock-in, and always consider how you can dodge it if possible.

For more useful resources on migrating to the cloud, download our Cloud Migration Cost Assessment Data Sheet.