AWS Public Sector Blog

Busting the Myth of Vendor Lock-In

The cloud enables organizations to achieve their missions faster, speed up innovation, and save costs by scaling up quickly without the lengthy and costly process of acquiring additional hardware. Although more public sector organizations are adopting the cloud for mission-critical workloads, misconceptions about vendor lock-in still exist.

Lock-in is typically an anticipated fear of difficulty in switching from one alternative to another. However, the cloud offers more flexibility in services and solutions than on-premises infrastructure, and moving from cloud-to-cloud is easier than moving information within legacy systems.

Before the cloud, IT was running in dedicated on-premises environments, requiring long-term capital investments and an array of software license commitments. Based on that experience, it is understandable that a customer would be concerned about lock-in.

Let’s get past the myths and talk about the realities. Here are three reasons our customers find freedom in the cloud:

  • No Long-Term Commitments: Customers can adopt the cloud on their own terms. AWS is designed so customers only use the services when they see value, and they are free to use the technology of their choice. Pay-as-you-go pricing provides customers with the ability to shut down their environment, export their data and virtual machines (VMs), and walk away without ever incurring another expense. AWS support plans function similarly and are billed monthly without any long-term commitments or contracts regardless of tier.
  • Customer Choice: Technology choice is at the forefront of AWS’s customer-driven innovation cycle. Customers today have alternatives to proprietary tools with advances in open source software technologies, along with a range of ‘as-a-service’ capabilities that can remake traditional IT. A wide range of solutions that support industry standards allow customers to choose what they want to invest in and architect for application portability from the beginning.
  • Moving Into and Out of AWS: AWS services are built to support both migration into and out of AWS, and we provide many tools and documented techniques to make it easy to do both. Many cloud service providers offer several tools to help move data in between networks and technology partners. AWS cloud services, for instance, are built on numerous open standards like SQL, Linux, and Xen. This flexible foundation allows our customers to securely move information in and out of the cloud regardless of where that information is going: cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-data center.

Embrace the Lock and Open the Cage

One example of an organization who feared being locked in to one cloud provider was D2L (formerly Desire2Learn). When D2L first decided to move to the cloud, they were compelled to explore the opportunities that came with the cloud. They overcame the perceived risk, but did not want to migrate completely to AWS.

D2L tried to mitigate perceived vendor lock-in by avoiding use of native AWS services designed to facilitate ease of migration, only to find that their own self-hosting tools were more restrictive. Avoiding AWS native tools and a true rehost of enterprise architecture also caused an inflation of costs. Eventually, D2L shifted away from a self-hosted “lift” into an efficient and effective “shift” while prioritizing cost, client safety, and speed of development.

Learn from D2L’s successes and missteps, and convert your own enterprise systems into the cloud both through native cloud births and enterprise conversions in D2L’s re:Invent talk.

Given our commitment to open standards, interoperability, and portability, AWS reduces or eliminates the dynamics of traditional vendor lock-in. We believe that we must earn our customers’ business every hour, every day, every month, and every year.