We live in a whole new world. Cloud is everywhere and you can do things today you never dreamed possible even 5 years ago. The hyper-providers’ innovation continues at a blistering pace, rapidly enabling more functionality. There are services and capabilities that allow you to develop applications that are secure, monitored, logged, alerted and even analyzed for performance and costs, without deploying a separate set of tools--truly amazing.

However, keep in mind that one things holds as true today as it did back when you deployed everything in your data center 5 and 10 years ago: vendor lock in. Sure, cloud makes your virtual machines portable and you can take that to an even more agile model by leveraging things like containers. But, all of those services you leverage to do all of the things mentioned above are as proprietary as they have always been. Your workloads may have some wheels on the bottom of them but your processes and operational designs may very well not. It is crucial that you think through how you want to model your IT operations in the cloud because you can leave an on-premise vendor lock just to build another one in the cloud.

Now, that is not to say that by leveraging those tools that the hyper-provider gives you is in any way a bad thing. It simply means that if you design around them and decide you want to move someday, you will likely have to re-design them all somewhere else. Here are a few key areas where you can find yourself locked in if you leverage the provider-supplied tools. The good news is there are several other options that come at low cost and are very flexible:

  • Monitoring and Alerting: centralize all alerts for intelligent correlation and routing
  • Logging: implement Graylog or the ELK stack for a truly portable solution
  • Configuration: steer clear of cloud-specific configuration tools
  • Automation: choose a multi-cloud tool to enable easy migrations
  • Orchestration: focus on platform-independent discovery and coordination
  • Security: avoid proprietary authentication and user directories

    Be sure to understand the flexibility and universality of these choices so that you can enjoy the freedom of cloud in case you decide another option suits you better than the one you use today!