Avoid Cloud Vendor Lock-in with ONTAP 9.1

Nov 22, 2016

Cloud solutions offer so many compelling benefits that most IT leaders have already made some movement toward the cloud. Those who have not moved yet will likely move soon. Security in the cloud, once a top concern, is no longer a major barrier. If you are working with a top-tier cloud provider such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, then basically, as one analyst puts it, “You don’t need to worry about security anymore.”

What cloud-aspiring CIOs and IT Directors should be focusing on instead is vendor lock-in. A recent paper in the Journal of Cloud Computing shows that vendor lock-in is a “major barrier” when it comes to cloud adoption.

Here’s why. Cloud service providers do try to make it easy to migrate your data into their cloud. But they have no compelling reason to make it easy to move your data out of their cloud. The more your cloud provider has, the more profitable you are as a customer to that provider.

Cloud Vendor Lock-in as a Digital Hostage Situation

While it is probably not a great analogy to think of a cloud as a form of ransomware—you can access your data in the cloud all you want—it seems fair to think of cloud as least a form of ‘inconvenienceware.’ Moving your data and applications out of the cloud, such as repatriating them back on-premises, or simply moving them to a different cloud will typically cost you significant time and effort.

How much time and effort? A Bloomberg article points out that switching cloud providers would require a customer “to rewrite much of their software.” And that’s even without taking into account the hassle of moving vast amounts of data from point A to point B.

Why Some See the Cloud Game as Being Rigged

Earlier, we mentioned cloud benefits, so let’s be specific about what those are. In a survey conducted by IDF Research Services, 62% of respondents said the key benefit they get from moving to cloud is scalability. Another 51% are seeing less downtime and fewer planned outages—an availability benefit. Half of survey respondents see increased IT efficiency, which yields higher productivity and lower costs.

If you were waiting for the cloud industry to agree on and implement open standards for data portability before moving to the cloud, you would be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. Many attempts to implement standards have already failed, and the current proposed standards are not making much progress. As a result, waiting would put you at a significant competitive disadvantage relative to early cloud adopters.

With that in mind, it may well seem as if you have to risk vendor lock-in just to keep up with the industry. But this is where forward-thinking data storage companies such as NetApp come into play.

How the ONTAP 9.1 Data Fabric Keeps You Out of the Digital Slammer

NetApp is in the business of helping you manage and derive insights from your data. At the NetApp Insight 2016 event in Las Vegas, NetApp CEO George Kurian described his vision of data fabric. He sees it as an enabler of digital transformation. In practical terms, that means that a data fabric architecture allows you to painlessly move and use data anywhere you want—including into and out of clouds.

ONTAP 9.1, the newest data management storage software release from NetApp, brings the data fabric architecture into the real world. Think of it as a “get out of jail” free card for your data. It incorporates a common operational model, common data transport and common data format. In short, it lets you move data across multiple cloud platforms regardless of vendor or the underlying infrastructure.

ONTAP 9 Breaks You Out of Vendor Lock-in

A data fabric architecture, such as that in NetApp ONTAP 9, gives your IT organization the freedom to choose among powerful cloud solutions without the risk of cloud vendor lock-in. You remain in control of your data and you decide where it resides. This is why choosing NetApp ONTAP 9.1 is a smart strategic decision.