Cloud vendor lock-in isn’t just a problem because it’s difficult to switch to a different cloud provider if your budget or technology needs change. Cloud vendor lock-in presents a business continuity problem; what do you do if your cloud provider goes out of business?
Obviously, with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, the size and strength of the underlying businesses seems to make that a small risk. However, there are no guarantees that they’ll remain strong in the future, and if you’re using a smaller cloud provider, the risks are bigger. In either case, it’s important to think about how you’ll handle it if your cloud vendor goes away—whether it’s a temporary outage like the DNS problem that recently impacted Azure or they’re permanently out of business.
Strategies for Cloud Business Continuity
Plan Your Exit At Your Entrance
The key to your cloud’s business continuity is having a plan. You need to know which applications you have deployed in the cloud, the technical resources they require, which cloud providers offer suitable alternatives, and how you could potentially migrate workloads.
You should start developing your cloud vendor exit strategy when you develop your initial plan for adopting a specific cloud. Make sure you understand any termination clauses in your cloud agreement as well as the costs of migrating data out of the cloud. To make it easier to access data and transition to another cloud, you may want to implement a backup strategy that keeps a second data copy outside of the cloud.
Don’t Wait to Build An Alternate Cloud
Another approach to mitigating the risk of cloud vendor lock in is to take a multicloud approach to cloud. While there are different ways to use multicloud, to achieve this business goal, you could deploy the same workload in multiple clouds now, before there’s any outage. If an outage occurs or one cloud provider stops offering the services you need, you shift your processing to the other. Of course, this requires twice the migration effort and potentially double the cloud costs, along with more complex management and operational procedures.
Keep Applications Portable
If you implement cloud native applications, you’re tied to a specific cloud vendor’s tools, APIs, and idiosyncrasies. Conventional application architecture is more portable, though it may not be able to get the full benefit of being in the cloud. You’ll need to weigh your risks and priorities to determine whether you’ll be better off with a cloud native architecture or if you prefer the reduced dependency on your vendor of a traditional approach.
For most businesses, using cloud makes sense. Vendor lock-in is a factor to be considered, but likely doesn’t outweigh the advantages of using cloud. VAST IT Services helps businesses develop cloud strategies and business continuity solutions that allow you to take advantage of cloud and maintain operations in case of issues. Contact us to learn how to address the business continuity challenges of cloud vendor lock-in.