Cloud computing could drive vendor lock-in: Dell Moving to the cloud means buying into the specific tools of the cloud vendor

By Sophie Curtis | Techworld | Published: 08:17, 12 January 2012

The move to cloud computing is undoing a lot of the good work that IT managers have done over the past decade to enable solutions based on open standards that can be built, supported and replaced, regardless of vendor.

According to Ed English, Dell's EMEA marketing director for next-generation computing solutions, cloud is allowing some enterprise IT vendors to shoehorn their proprietary technology back into the data centre.

"Companies and IT managers alike have worked very hard to drive more flexibility and more interoperability into the data centre. It started at the desktop level, but it's now permeating the data centre as well. There is this big shift from proprietary to open," said English.

"However, if you're looking at private cloud solutions that are based on technology that locks you into a specific storage vendor or a specific network vendor, it is creating a situation where the trend ticks back a little bit," he added.

Implementing a cloud solution means buying into the specific protocols, standards and tools of the cloud vendor, making future migration difficult and expensive. This is largely because standards are still being formed, and cloud computing is not yet mature enough for customers to demand vendor independence.

Cloud providers are in no rush to make things more open, as keeping things proprietary locks consumers into their environment.

Meanwhile, the common belief that cloud computing saves organisations money is a "massive misconception," according to English. On a compute for compute basis, there is often no difference in price, he said, and many businesses forget to factor in the cost of migrating off the cloud platform later down the line.

There are of course good reasons to consider cloud computing, such as the resilience it offers, and the opportunity it provides to move quickly and flex capacity up and down. However, organisations should not think of cloud computing as a cost saving move, said English.

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