Five Things That Can Go Wrong With Vendor Lock-In

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Five Things That Can Go Wrong With Vendor Lock-In

Vendor lock-in can be a huge drain on both time and resources.

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Avoid vendor lock-in

There are five reasons why you should avoid vendor lock-in

The Consequences of Application Platform Lock-in

If you've worked in IT for a few years, you've seen it happen. You select an application framework, operating system, database platform, or other infrastructure because it meets the checklist, the price is right, or sometimes because of internal politics. You quickly discover that it doesn't play well with other solutions or across platforms — except, of course, it's "easy and seamless" when used with offerings from the same vendor.

Want to learn more about vendor lock-in? Check out this post on the different scenarios in which vendor lock-in can occur.

But try telling your developers that they can't use their favorite framework, development toolset, or have to use a specific operating system for everything they do. If developers feel like they don't have flexibility, they quickly adopt their own tools, creating a second wave of shadow IT.

And it doesn't just affect developers. IT operations and security get bogged down in managing multiple systems and software sprawl. The business suffers because of efficiency and innovation lag when teams get caught up in fighting fires.

Below are five things that can go wrong when you get locked in to an infrastructure platform:

#1: Other Platforms Become Inaccessible

Will the platform you pick work with any combination of public and private clouds? Will you get cornered into using a specific operating system for anything tied to their platform? When an infrastructure vendor pushes you to use their other platforms because they're "well-integrated," think carefully about whether you're willing to limit your choices as this will likely cost more and result in unhappy developers.

#2: Your Best Developers Find Other Opportunities

Developers want to work with the best frameworks and tools for their task at hand. Node.js and .NET Core may be popular with developers, but there is a wide range of tools out there. The 2019 Stack Overflow Developer survey results make it clear that developers have diverse preferences and work best when they have the most choice and flexibility.

#3: Application Development Will Slow Down

If developers are forced into a particular development framework, innovation and creativity can be hindered. Good developers rarely have trouble finding work, so your best talent may leave. Even if most of your developers stick around, they'll spend more time testing applications across platforms. What works on one machine won't necessarily work on another if developers are busy finding workarounds to use the tools they prefer.

#4: Operations Teams Will Spend More Time Fighting Fires

Keeping the lights on already consumes 70 to 80 percent of IT budgets. Using application platforms and tools from a single vendor may seem like it will save time, but the reality can be quite different. Other solutions come into the picture (usually whether you want them to or not!), creating silos of infrastructure that IT ops teams need to look after.

#5: The Business May Not Be Able to Pick the Best Technology

If you're stuck primarily with one platform and framework but a new, promising tool isn't compatible, you can either adopt another platform or pick second-rate tooling. Platform lock-in means the business can end up forced to make technology choices that ultimately don't serve the best interests of the company.

Key Takeaway: Platform Lock-In Is Bad for Business

Simplicity and choice and choice are key when it comes to software. You should be able to easily build, share and run applications across any combination of clouds, operating systems, languages, and frameworks. 

Further Reading

Lock-In: Let Me Count the Ways

Multi-Cloud Is a Trap

DZone Research: Cloud Concerns

accessability, lock-in, open source, os, platform, vendor, vendor lock-in

Published at DZone with permission of John Kreisa , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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