Cloud Vendor Lock-In: The Basics

What is vendor lock-in and is it bad?

7 days ago   •   2 min read

By Angelique Tzanakakis

When moving to the cloud, there are many things that you have to think about. One of the first decisions would be which cloud service provider you should go with. You’d want to go with the provider that helps improve your organisation’s agility, scalability, and flexibility. Getting into a long-term agreement with a cloud provider who seems perfect for your current needs is the last thing you want to do to maintain agility and flexibility. In this post, we will explain what vendor lock-in is and why your organisation should care.

Vendor lock-in occurs when a cloud service provider places restrictions on a customer that prevents them from changing service providers easily. Occasionally, if customers want to transition to a new provider when they’re locked in, it’s an expensive activity. This causes customers to be completely dependent on a vendor. But how did they do this?

Most of us love a good discount - why wouldn’t we? That’s how, previously, some cloud service providers locked customers into sometimes 10-year long contracts - scalable discounts. At the time, scalable discounts were very attractive since it was a new service and costs were at a premium. However, as cloud computing increased in popularity, the costs associated with it decreased. Those discounts no longer seemed very attractive and signing long-term contracts seemed to be a thing of the past.

There are various reasons why you’d want to move over to a new provider. Perhaps they announce big price increases or, worse, they aren’t compliant with local privacy laws. In a situation where your business is no longer compliant with privacy laws, switching is unavoidable. However, if you’re in the vulnerable position of being locked in, switching providers will be painful. Remember - vendors will give you the best service if there’s a chance of you leaving. When you’re locked into 5- or 10-year contracts, they won’t provide the absolute best-in-class service because they don’t have to.

When you’re aware of the options available to you, and you maintain flexibility regarding service providers, you’re more likely to experience great service as vendors will do their best to keep you happy. At DotModus, we encourage our clients to consider a multi-cloud approach. A multi-cloud approach is one where your organisation uses two or more public cloud deployments from different providers. This helps protect your critical workloads, achieves granular cost management, and, most importantly, avoids vendor lock-in. You aren’t reliant on one single provider using this approach.

If your organisation is looking to move to the cloud, or you are looking for a new cloud, data, or software solution but have questions, contact us here and we’ll find the solution that best suits your organisational needs.

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