Free your cloud and your apps will follow
What is Vendor Lock-in?
Vendor lock-in is a big problem for the Cloud. But what is vendor lock-in in the context of the Cloud (Cloud Lock-in)? Cloud lock-in is how hard it is to move between Cloud vendors. Cloud lock-in is measured by:
- Proprietary APIs that only work with one vendor’s systems
- The inability to easily move off of any one Cloud vendor because of proprietary features
- Lack of interoperability
- Lack of choice
- Can’t run on-premise
Why is Vendor Lock-in Important?
When you are building modern applications, dependencies on locked-in platforms can be a kiss of death. You become beholden to bad price changes (see Google AppEngine), you become beholden to large scale outages (see Amazon Web Services), and the more you build, the harder it is to move.
Is There An Alternative?
Startups like AppFog are bringing Cloud freedom to market in a huge way. Cloud freedom is measured by:
- Open source systems you can run yourself (OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, etc)
- Support many Cloud infrastructures independent of proprietary APIs
- Interoperable: ability to be run by various operators
- Many options, many choices
- On-premise options
Developers need to be able to have the freedom to not only deploy their apps where they are best deployed – but also to be able to move those apps should conditions change. Portability for your app is and should be a requirement for the selection of any Cloud vendor.
What is the Vendor Lock-in Acid Test?
Here is the simple test we like to suggest developers consider:
Can you take your app and run it in a non-virtualized environment without redevelopment? Can you redeploy to a different Cloud Provider without redevelopment? If redevelopment is required, how significant would it be?
If the answer is “we would have to rewrite large portions” or “we’d have to start from scratch” you need to run away. If the answer is “it would be hugely painful but we could do it” then this is still Cloud Lock-In. If, however, the answer is “we’d need to spend a couple hours and it would be fine” then you’re good to go. And if the answer is “Oh… yeah, that would be no problem” then you’ve found a vendor who is not trying to lock you in and lock you up.
How is AppFog Providing Cloud Freedom?
What happens if you are no longer happy with AppFog for any reason? You simply move your code and services to any other Cloud Foundry compatible service provider, or you run your own Cloud Foundry and move it there. Cloud Foundry is open source and anyone can run it, you can even run it on your laptop.
This gives AppFog incentive to build the best service possible. You don’t stay on AppFog because we locked you into our platform. You stay on AppFog because we provide the best quality service on the widest range of service providers in Singapore, Europe, Brazil, Rackspace, HP, IBM and many more.
In the modern development world – where agility and the ability to iterate, test, refine and rapidly change direction based on lessons learned and data collected — there is no place for constraints on how you can change your app. Cloud Lock-In is the enemy of innovation. It is the enemy of agility. It is the enemy of developers and the enemy of Freedom.