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Cloud and the Clichéd Vendor Lock-in

Vendor lock-in” still remains a hurdle that the technical sales rep has to go through

I started my career in late 90s selling Microsoft Application Platform that included the servers and the developer tools. One of the most common customer objections that I used to handle was “vendor lock-in”. Every time I pitched MS SQL Server or Visual Basic, the immediate concern from the customers was getting locked into the Microsoft platform.

A decade later, “Vendor lock-in” still remains a hurdle that the technical sales rep has to go through. But the landscape has changed significantly. Now the vendor lock-in argument has shifted to the Cloud. I often hear lock-in in the context of Amazon Web Services. AWS competitors use the lock-in factor to create FUD among the customers with a hope to increase their sales prospects. But how much of this is a real concern? Should businesses be really worried about getting locked into one platform?

In my opinion, every technology decision involves some level of lock-in. My Hyundai car came with an in built MP3 player that makes it difficult for me to upgrade to a better audio player. For a long time, I lived with a HTC phone that had a proprietary headphone socket that prevented me from plugging in the powerful Bose headset into it. All of us tolerate certain level of lock-in across the devices and technologies that we use.

Vendor lock-in can be avoided to a large extent in the IT world. But, it is a huge trade off between performance and portability. Let’s consider the example of Microsoft SQL Server as the database. Like most of the enterprises databases, SQL Server comes with a lot of built-in optimizations that can be exploited for enhanced performance. To leverage these optimizations, one has to encapsulate the business logic in the stored procedures written in T-SQL, which is a native SQL variant used by MS SQL Server. This gives the database developers and the DBAs a chance to extract the best possible performance from SQL Server. So, what’s the trade off here? This makes it extremely hard to move the data tier to Oracle or DB2 at a later point.

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Janakiram MSV heads the Cloud Infrastructure Services at Aditi Technologies. He was the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. In his current role, he leads a highly talented engineering team that focuses on migrating and managing applications deployed on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.
Janakiram is an industry analyst with deep understanding of Cloud services. Through his speaking, writing and analysis, he helps businesses take advantage of the emerging technologies. He leverages his experience of engaging with the industry in developing informative and practical research, analysis and authoritative content to inform, influence and guide decision makers. He analyzes market trends, new products / features, announcements, industry happenings and the impact of executive transitions.
Janakiram is one of the first few Microsoft Certified Professionals on Windows Azure in India. Demystifying The Cloud, an eBook authored by Janakiram is downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first few months. He is the Chief Editor of a popular portal on Cloud called www.CloudStory.in that covers the latest trends in Cloud Computing. Janakiram is an analyst with the GigaOM Pro analyst network where he analyzes the Cloud Services landscape. He is a guest faculty at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) where he teaches Big Data and Cloud Computing to students enrolled for the Masters course. As a passionate speaker, he has chaired the Cloud Computing track at premier events in India.
He has been the keynote speaker at many premier conferences, and his seminars are attended by thousands of architects, developers and IT professionals. His sessions are rated among the best in every conference he participates.
Janakiram has worked at the world-class product companies including Microsoft Corporation, Amazon Web Services and Alcatel-Lucent. Joining as the first employee of Amazon Web Services in India, he was the AWS Technology Evangelist. Prior to that, Janakiram spent 10 years at Microsoft Corporation where he was involved in selling, marketing and evangelizing the Microsoft Application Platform and Tools.