As more and more organizations are planning to move their data on the cloud, there are apprehensions looming high on vendor lock-in. What if after spending thousands of dollars on moving corporate data to the cloud, the vendor technology is not compatible for expansion or transition to other vendors? Vendor independence is not yet achieved in arena of cloud computing. As enterprises are looking towards robust security options on both public and private cloud, it becomes no less imperative to assess the risk of vendor lock-in before taking the bold step forward towards the cloud.


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Let’s look at some key factors to consider in the planning phase of cloud adoption that will help assess the risks involved in vendor lock-in, and equip us to be better prepared.


#1 Study and understand the nitty-gritty of the cloud agreement

Ultimately it’s about the legally binding SLA that defines the cloud agreement between the service procurement party and the cloud provider. Understanding the fine print well, assessing it with the cloud adoption plan of the enterprise—both short-term and long-term—will help to overcome any hidden agenda, constraints or ambiguous points that may later lead to a lock-in scenario. Especially in federal agencies, IT teams are doubly careful and cautious in signing cloud agreements with vendors.


In a post by TechNewsWorld, IDC Government Insights recommends vendors take the following actions.

  • Assume responsibility for meeting SLA requirements
  • Be knowledgeable about the government client's business
  • Provide money back or other credits for inadequate performance
  • Consider third-party verification of compliance with certain SLAs to ensure unbiased analysis.


Private organizations and federal agencies must be aware of these points and discuss with the provider and decide in advance on the conditions before signing the deal.


#2 Check if the cloud provider is equipped with data backup plans

It might so happen in case of an uneventful contingency that the cloud provider is unable to secure the customer’s data on the cloud leading to data loss. The cloud customers must certainly ask about data backup and disaster recovery plans from the vendors, and understand the procedure well before entering in a cloud agreement.


#3 Analyze cloud provider’s data migration plan

In order to prevent a situation of data lock-in because the vendor has decided to move the cloud infrastructure. The cloud procurement agencies must check with the vendors what migration tools and portability services the vendors are equipped with.


Even if the customer wants to migrate from one cloud vendor to another, assessing the vendor’s migration plan will help. There may be cases where the cloud data has been for compatibility with the vendor infrastructure, and migration to another vendor may require rolling back to the original state of the customer data. One must check if the cloud service provider is prepared for these scenarios.


#4 Assess if your cloud provider is financially supported

This might be quite important when it so happens that the provider doesn’t make good business and goes on to sell off assets. It is only wise to assess how well the provider is funded and capitalized.


At the end of the day, to the customer, cloud is all about security, functionality, cost and performance. Ensuring all these attributes are justified in spend and ROI, choose the right vendor, and make your move to the cloud. For those who wish to host data on a private cloud, you may want to consider employing private cloud monitoring and management tools to ensure performance and scalability.