January 26, 2016

How can you avoid vendor lock-in in the cloud?

Niraj Sood

Business Development, Tieto Managed Services

The cloud is a key enabler of digitalization. It improves agility, frees up resources for innovation and growth, and helps organisations to save money. But the cloud comes with its own challenges, too - including the risk of vendor lock-in.

Vendor lock-in is nothing new. For as long as we've had IT in the workplace, organisations have needed to weigh up the possibility that their technology choices may leave them saddled with service providers that eventually cease to meet their needs, but can't easily be ditched in favour of something better.

You'd think that the cloud, with its subscription-based pricing and easy scalability, would solve some of these problems. But in reality, there's a risk of vendor lock-in here, too.

This is particularly true of the public cloud market, which even today is dominated by just three providers - Amazon, Microsoft and Google - whose power increases steadily as organisations adopt their services in greater numbers. When the time comes to migrate, who's to say how difficult it might be?

This risk of vendor lock-in is directly opposed to the cloud's promise of greater agility, flexibility and cost-efficiency. Luckily, there's a way to combat it.

How a hybrid cloud can mitigate vendor lock-in

Right now, we're seeing a lot of momentum behind the hybrid cloud model. Even as more organisations adopt public cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google, most of them choose to keep some of their data and applications on their own premises or in private cloud infrastructure. This way, they can continue to oversee the security and availability needs of their most critical resources and applications, as well as make the most of legacy investments that have yet to reach end-of-life.

Essentially, a growing number of organisations are combining cloud capacity from different sources in order to get the best of both worlds. And this thinking can be used to combat vendor lock-in, too.

So, for example, you might choose only to use the public cloud for services that can easily be transferred to another source of on or off-premises infrastructure, or in order to accommodate seasonal peaks in demand. Then, if the market changes a few months down the line, you won't be stuck with a provider that no longer fulfils the requirements of your business.

Understanding the cloud in terms of ecosystems

Here at Tieto, we believe very strongly in this hybrid cloud model and the importance of having a technology and vendor-agnostic hybrid cloud strategy in place. In our view, the real measure of an organisation's cloud maturity isn't how much it uses the cloud - it's how successfully it combines different sources of on and off-premises infrastructure to meet its needs, and how readily it can adapt when the market changes.

For this reason, we've focused heavily on building and integrating an extensive open partner ecosystem for our cloud customers rather than ramping up our capabilities around just one or two providers.

In order to address every possible need around agility, security, technology, vendor preference and cost, would-be cloud adopters may decide to use dozens of different services from a mix of household names and smaller, more innovative suppliers. Tieto's aim is to deliver this level of choice and control, making it easy for organisations to tap into a healthy and comprehensive hybrid cloud ecosystem.

Our vision: One partner for multiple clouds. We have a vision and aim to be the number one cloud destination in the Nordics for large enterprises and organisations, one partner for multiple clouds and different needs. This will be a complete digital platform for business innovation and agility, allowing organisations to manage any combination of vendors from an open partner ecosystem - as well as their on-premises infrastructure – via a single portal, and in a holistic way.

This will make it simple to use different sources of cloud capacity side by side. The customer may choose to use the public cloud for development and testing, and a private cloud for production, for example. Tieto can help make the whole process as quick and seamless as possible.

With the right hybrid cloud environment and ecosystem, you don't need to worry about vendor lock-in or what technology to use. But managing this environment can be complex. This is why we believe in one partner for multiple clouds: one destination for all your needs, one SLA, one invoice, and one platform for business innovation, agility and growth.

Read also Benefits of Cloud Maturity - Cloud Maturity Index 2015 and visit our web site.

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