Cloud lockin is equivalent to the high risk of forced imprisonment in a provider’s cloud , since moving applications to different clouds is a more complex and expensive task. There are different types of lockin in the cloud, but the most common is the vendor lockin , in which there is difficulty in changing providers.
The more abstract a cloud is, the more possibilities there are for blocking to occur. Thus, a SaaS cloud has greater blocking potential than a PaaS. PaaS offers greater risks than IaaS.
What are the causes?
Lock in occurs because each provider uses its own set of APIs and, not infrequently, also uses its own programming environment and database. Consequently, the user is stuck in that cloud, as moving applications to different clouds is cumbersome and can be costly.
APIs use resources that allow access to specific resources and have no standardization. For example, migrating from Amazon Cloud to Google or Microsoft (Azure) cloud requires a lot of conversion work.
As we said, there are several types of cloud lockin . Depending on the type, the causes may vary. See a quick analysis of the diversity of lockins and their causes:
- vendor lockin : makes switching vendors difficult;
- product lockin : In general, open source items avoid this problem, but can develop another lockin , when they create unique APIs such as kubernetes ;
- architecture lockin : overuse of a component, which ends up disturbing the output for another item, such as migrating from a kubernetes environment to serverless ;
- version lockin : this is a lock linked to a specific version of a product (the version upgrade can cause this type of lockin );
- platform lockin : involves platforms that do everything, such as application management, configuration management, user management and the environment for running apps;
- legal lockin : legal and/or legal issues;
- skills lockin : technical knowledge (changing the solution requires a high investment in financial resources and time for staff training);
- mental lockin : influences people’s thinking, thus, it is the most dangerous, as it leads you to reject alternatives.
How to avoid cloud lockin ?
Let’s give some tips that will help to avoid this type of block, which can be very unpleasant and limiting for the company.
Evaluate cloud services carefully
The company must carry out a rigorous research regarding cloud providers before contracting the services. One tip is to implement a proof of concept to make sure that the level of service offered is enough to meet her needs.
Diversify the PaaSs
Sharing the risk is one solution. This means making use of different PaaS providers. If they aren’t dependent on just one cloud to deliver their business apps , they can explore PaaS options that you maintain control over.
It is a knowledge that arises from interest. Therefore, you should ask providers questions to understand PaaS execution and how risk management works, especially when it comes to a large centralized cloud.
Adopt a multicloud strategy
The multicloud strategy involves different cloud providers , which helps reduce dependence on a single provider. In hybrid clouds, data will remain under the direct administration of a company, in a private cloud or on local storage .
Implement DevOps tools
DevOps tools are more developed to improve code portability . Containers are a way to isolate software from the environment and abstract dependencies that are far from cloud providers. Since standard container formats are supported by most providers, it will be easy to transfer your company’s application to another partner.
In addition, the management tools allow for the automation of the configuration of the infrastructure on which the company’s apps run. Thus, it is possible to deploy in different environments, which can reduce the difficulties in switching to new suppliers.
DevOps tools reduce the lockin risks that result from proprietary configurations, and can facilitate migration from one provider to another.
Use portable applications with open standards
An application should be flexible in deploying across platforms and operating systems without requiring significant changes to the underlying code. The construction of portable apps also helps companies to avoid cloud lockin at suppliers.
If a critical business app is designed, whose function depends on the platform’s specificity, the company may receive vendor lock-in. The solution in this case involves:
- creating portable apps that are loosely coupled using open standards with cloud application components ;
- no need to be externally dependent on hard coding in third-party proprietary apps;
- maximizing the portability of corporate data, choosing a standardized format and not adopting proprietary training;
- description of data models in a clear way, using schema patterns that can be applied to create detailed and readable documents.
Maintaining internal data backups helps the company to be able to host these assets in other locations, in case it is too difficult or time-consuming to extract them from the cloud service (it also offers protection against ransomware ).
Keep data ownership
As enterprise data grows in size while being stored on a single provider, the expense and duration of data migration tends to increase and can become prohibitive. This will result in the blocking of providers in the cloud.
In this sense, it is advisable to resort to a cloud-linked data storage solution to maintain ownership of the data, to guarantee the protection of confidential data and portability, if it becomes necessary to change providers.
Nowadays, cloud computing has become necessary to optimize business processes. Now that you know better about cloud lockin , how it works, its types, as well as some ways to ensure more security, it is possible to avoid it in this scenario.