AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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AWS vendor lock-in

I spoke to companies who are sceptic moving to AWS. Accept costs, specifically when operating 24×7 and having an existing on premise infrastructure incl, one other reason they mention is their policy is to avoid vendor lock-in. Do we think these are legitimate concerns or what would be your response to this?

1 Answers

Hi Jeroen,

I hear this question lots and have heard it for many years….especially for companies who got stung by IBM back in the day of big iron or Microsoft or Oracle.   I’ve seen the concern of vendor lock-in be rooted in a risk mitigation strategy or it could be rooted in trying to maintain negotiating power from a procurement standpoint.  I do think lock-in with cloud providers is nowhere near as confining as it was with the hardware and on-prem software providers like Microsoft, Oracle or IBM.

From a cloud perspective, interesting things have been happening around commoditization.  If a company whats true freedom to shuffle workloads, how about just containerize or virtualize everything?  All the public cloud providers support the likes of Docker and VMWare images.   However, this strategy would still leave opportunity on the table, missing out on the managed resources aspect of public cloud providers–and that’s where I think the true value is…letting someone else manage the infrastructure and you can just consume the end result in pay-as-you-go manner.

From an architecture standpoint, if you adopt open-standards and best practices for integrations, you will be able to significantly reduce your need for vendor-centric patterns…  I’m talking about stuff like canonical forms, REST interfaces, micro-service architectures, loosely coupled interfaces and such.   These patterns make it much easier to move around parts of your applications because they are abstracted.

One could go on for ages debating the lock-in question.  I personally don’t think it is a risk that outweighs the potential benefits.  The big three cloud providers are stable companies and their pricing has consistently been trending down over the years.  I’d be much more worried about attracting and retaining talented people who can make the cloud sing at highest efficiency.


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