The cloud has become an integral part of modern business. As such, more and more businesses are moving their data and applications to the cloud. But with this increase in cloud adoption comes the risk of vendor lock-in.
Vendor lock-in is when a business is dependent on a single cloud provider. This can happen when a business builds its applications on a specific platform or stores its data on a specific cloud. vendor lock-in can also happen when a business uses a cloud provider’s proprietary services.
Data gravity is another issue that can arise with cloud adoption. Data gravity is the tendency for data to accumulate in one place. This can happen when a business stores its data on a specific cloud platform or when a business uses a cloud provider’s proprietary services.
Both vendor lock-in and data gravity can make it difficult for a business to switch to a different cloud provider. They can also make it difficult for a business to move its data and applications back to its own on-premise infrastructure.
In this blog post, we look at some of the key issues surrounding SaaS vendor lock-in and how to protect your organisation from being trapped unwittingly.
What is vendor lock-in, and why is it a risk
Vendor lock-in is a business’s dependence on a single cloud provider. This can happen when a business builds its applications on a specific platform, stores its data on a specific cloud platform, or uses a cloud provider’s proprietary services.
The issue with vendor lock-in is that once a business is using a specific cloud provider’s services, it can be difficult to switch to a different cloud provider or move back to on-premise infrastructure.
This is because the cloud provider’s services are often proprietary and so cannot be replicated by any other provider. This lack of portability makes it difficult for businesses to switch away from their current cloud provider.
Vendor lock-in can also cause other issues such as data gravity, where data accumulates in one place, making it difficult for a business to move its data and applications back to its own on-premise infrastructure. Vendor lock-in can also lead to higher costs for the business.
What is data gravity, and why does it matter
Data gravity is a related phenomenon to vendor lock-in. It describes the situation where data stored in the cloud becomes ‘stuck’ in one place, which makes it more difficult to move, copy, and back up.
This creates an issue for businesses trying to move away from a certain cloud vendor, as it can be difficult to move large chunks of data off the cloud vendor’s platform.
Data gravity is caused by a number of factors. Firstly, the cloud environment can become more attractive over time as other services are added, making it easier for businesses to move data to the cloud and harder for them to move data away.
Secondly, once data accumulates in a particular cloud environment, it can become more expensive to move port it to another. Thirdly, the cloud provider can impose restrictions on the movement and copying of data, making it difficult for businesses to access their own data if they decide to move away from the cloud.
Avoiding vendor lock-in due to data gravity
There are a number of strategies businesses can use to overcome vendor lock-in and data gravity.
Firstly, you can use open-source technology and cloud services. This allows you to be less dependent on any particular vendor, as the source code is publicly available and can be used in other environments.
Additionally, many cloud providers are now offering services that are compliant with open-source standards, allowing businesses to easily migrate between environments.
Secondly, businesses should consider deploying a data lake, which is a storage repository, usually based on object-based storage, that is used to store structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. A data lake can enable businesses to have access to their data at any time, without being locked into any particular vendor.
Finally, businesses can look at using Cloud-agnostic solutions, which means they have software and services that are independent of any particular cloud provider. This can save businesses time and money in the long run, as they don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in and data gravity when they need to move to a different provider.
Leveraging SaaS without the risk of vendor lock-in
Vendor lock-in and data gravity are real and ever-present challenges for businesses using SaaS applications, cloud services, and object-based storage systems.
The strategies outlined above can help businesses to overcome these challenges and give them the freedom to move between vendors and data storage systems with minimal disruption.
By deploying open-source technologies, using a data lake, and employing Cloud-agnostic solutions, businesses can take the necessary steps to protect themselves from vendor lock-in and data gravity.
Ultimately, these strategies can help businesses reach their goals more quickly and cost-effectively, allowing them to stay competitive in an ever-changing and increasingly digital world.