May 31, 2021
Companies are becoming increasingly more dependent on their cloud service providers. Without strategies in place, companies risk cloud lock-in. This blog will explore what cloud lock-in is, what some challenges are, and what you can do about it.
Cloud lock-in refers to the situation in cloud computing in which users become dependent (or “locked in”) on a sole cloud provider. This situation stems from a variety of reasons including the barriers that come with transitioning to a different cloud provider.
In fact, the fear of cloud lock-in is often seen as a major bottleneck toward universal cloud service adoption. With the dominance of the big cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP), the only alternative for end users, it seems, is to take a multi-cloud approach.
A recent Bain & Company survey revealed that two-thirds of CIOs actually prefer to use cloud computing services from “several different vendors to avoid lock-in.” In the end, however, 71% of the companies in the survey rely on only one cloud provider.
The reality is you can’t really avoid vendor lock-in, especially in 2021.
In today’s age of the public cloud, cloud lock-in can be mitigated with the following:
With cloud service providers, you are able to adopt the cloud on your terms. The cloud is inherently designed so that end users only use the cloud services they see value in. This ultimately means you only pay for what you use, many times through pay-as-you-grow pricing models (think storage, VMs, instances).
You incur monthly cloud billings without the worry of long-term commitments or contracts. The good thing is you have the ability to shut down your cloud environment and walk away if you’re unhappy. Pay-as-you-grow pricing models make it easy to quickly get your infrastructure up and running too.
However, it’s not always easy to move workloads from one cloud vendor to another, especially if workloads are already in production.
The availability of many “as a service” functions offer affordable opportunities for organizations to build and adopt various types of cloud computing environments. For example, there is IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS that allow users to easily avoid upfront costs of installing and deploying a service with ease.
Other significant benefits besides reduced operational costs also means you can spend less time managing hardware and software while benefiting from increased or improved productivity and profit.
To protect yourself even more, cloud agnostic proponents highly recommended that you build applications and deploy services that are as independent as possible from the cloud in which they run on in order to avoid cloud vendor lock-in.
For example, you can choose to run microservice applications on one cloud platform and stateless applications on another cloud platform.
If you do find yourself in the position of wanting to migrate, nowadays cloud services are built to support migration into and out of the cloud platforms. Furthermore, cloud service platforms provide their own native tools that make migration even easier. This can include moving data between networks (cloud to data center or cloud to cloud).
Cloud lock-in is not going anywhere. So, the next best thing is to make sure you are optimizing cloud costs as much as possible.
Whether you decide to opt for a multi-cloud strategy to avoid cloud vendor lock-in or not, taking extra steps toward cost optimization will guarantee additional cost savings.
Cloud cost optimization tools can help facilitate certain automated processes like freeing up unused or unattached cloud resources.
Read more about benefits of cloud cost optimization tools here.