Look out for the Dragons!
So one of the phrases which I keep seeing coming up in different social media posts and articles is about “Vendor Lock In”. You can see some of the ones I’ve found via a quick search of the interwebs below, all with their own theme and position.
To me a lot of this may as well be a map from the 1500s saying “here be dragons” (or to be accurate “HC SVNT DRACONES” as it was in Latin). There is something out there when making business decisions to be scared of, but it isn’t dragons…I mean vendor lock in, it is not probably reviewing our business requirements before making a decision
So how real is Vendor Lock In?
Very real, I can guarantee that any purchase you make will have some level of lock in to a technology or a process or something that will be difficult to change:
From my perspective I’m looking at the technology side; but we are of course as free as we want to believe we are.
“A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings.” – Sam Harris, Free Will
Is there a way out?!
Docker and Cloud Foundry are two organisations talking about the ability to remove vendor lock in. This is great for giving you portability between public and private clouds however it brings up that little issue….you are locked into their solution.
Even if there is no or little cost there is a considerable amount of time and effort you have to put into this solution to get it up and running and then, if a feature or entire product is impacted some how, you have to be able to migrate away from it.
The only solution….choose wisely!
In short we have to make our decisions wisely and weigh up all the options without emotion relating to what is best for our business. You could build up on Azure PaaS for example, and have a close working relationship with Microsoft giving you access to updates, new features, automatic scale, hyper-scale etc (shameless plug) or you could look at utilising Docker to enable you to switch between public cloud providers like Azure, Google and AWS depending on where the wind is blowing price wise and geography requirements.
Whatever you do just make sure you properly consider what you are trying to achieve and relate this to your design decision and, this is a big one, when you do make your decision take responsibility for it. Also make sure you have prepared at least a high level exit plan. If vendor X decided to deprecate a product you are using have an idea about what it would take to migrate off the product.
And the ultimate vendor lock in?
Grant Orchard (https://twitter.com/grantorchard) from VMware made a comment about the ultimate vendor lock in, and nailed it! It is…..drumroll……kids! Hopefully that is one kind of vendor lock in that you do like (I know I do)