IDG Contributor Network: 6 sneaky ways cloud infrastructure providers lock you in

With more enterprises adopting multi-cloud and hybrid cloud computing strategies, it’s more important than ever to avoid getting locked into just one cloud provider’s tools and technologies. Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments offer many benefits. They include the ability to pick and choose which cloud vendor’s add-on services are right for your business, as well as the ability to implement best-of-breed solutions when the time is right. Multi-cloud also adds redundancy and security because all of your proverbial eggs are not in one basket.

Despite the trend toward multi-cloud, however, there are still plenty of ways to find yourself locked in. Here’s a quick look at six common ways enterprises get locked into using one provider, along with some advice on how businesses can keep cloud implementations open and interoperable. 

1. Proprietary interfaces

The major cloud infrastructure providers offer add-on services designed to automate routine tasks like streaming, orchestration, and serverless functions. The idea is to free up enterprise users so they can spend more time focusing on higher-value activities. But if the cloud provider uses proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs), those basic services can lead directly to vendor lock in. Users can avoid this problem by seeking out a cloud infrastructure provider that supports open APIs and builds services using open source tools like Kubernetes, Kafka, Terraform, and Fn.

Keep in mind that simply supporting open APIs may not be enough. The cloud provider also needs to do so in a consistent fashion across services and regions. In other words, make sure the cloud provider’s approach to open APIs isn’t disjointed. One way to assess this is to take a close look at the providers roadmap to determine if it is realistic and can properly support your multi-cloud strategy now and in the future.