Gartner Research

A Guidance Framework for Managing Vendor Lock-In Risks in Cloud IaaS

Published: 09 December 2019

ID: G00448107

Analyst(s): Lydia Leong

Summary

I&O technical professionals must balance the agility, productivity, operational, and management advantages of strategic cloud IaaS adoption with the risks of vendor lock-in. We provide guidance for building lock-in risk assessments and creating a cloud IaaS portability strategy.

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement

The Gartner Approach

The Guidance Framework

  • Prework
    • Lock-In Is the Result of Architectural Choices
    • Effective Cloud Portability Practices
    • Architect for Contextual Independence
    • Be Wary of Abstraction Layers
    • Have Cloud Exit Contingency Plans
  • Step 1: Assess Each Application’s Need for Portability
  • Step 2: Identify Each Application’s Barriers to Portability
    • Barriers to Portability by Category
    • Why Containers Are Not a Portability Panacea: An Analysis by Lock-In Category
    • Lock-In Varies per Provider
  • Step 3: Identify systemic risks created by vendor dependence
    • Business Continuity Risks
    • Governance Challenges
    • Future Risks
  • Step 4: Create a Cloud Portability Strategy
    • Rate the Priority of the Business Motivations That Justify Lock-In Acceptance
    • Determine the Relative Importance of Standardization
    • Choose a Strategic Stance on Lock-In
  • Step 5: Educate Sourcing, Vendor Management, and IT Finance
    • Market Reality: Where Else Are You Going to Go?
    • Provider Strategy: Keep Customers With Honey, Not the Tar Pit
    • Provider Failures Cannot Be Effectively Managed Through Contract T&Cs

Risks and Pitfalls

  • Pitfall: Thinking Lock-In Is a Vendor Management Problem
  • Pitfall: Allowing a Faction to Dominate Lock-In Decisions
  • Pitfall: Taking a “Lowest Common Denominator” Approach
  • Pitfall: Falling Victim to Hype

Gartner Recommended Reading

©2020 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.