Vendor lock-in protection

Vendor lock-in
One of the biggest concerns with cloud adoption is its high degree of vendor lock-in. A lot has been said on this topic and it seems that the majority of providers try to minimize the issue. We are aware that such approaches can temporarily quell the client's concerns but in the long term they just exacerbate the situation and not only can they slow down the cloud adoption but also heighten the cost of the cloud for the client. With this in mind we have prepared a solution that addresses and solves the concerns with cloud computing.

Types of lock-in

Lock-in can be defined as a clients inability to use other provider's products without substantial cost increases due to product switching. The client is thus dependent or locked-in to a provider who can then exploit it to gain more income by setting prices higher than the rest of the competition. Such cases have already led to antitrust actions against monopoly however, this happens rarely so clients have to protect themselves from vendor lock-in and address the issue promptly.

BitSwarm offers an Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) cloud which already has the lowest degree of vendor lock-in by definition. Nevertheless dependency issues still exist and they can be defined in three different dimensions:

Vertical lock-in

The IT infrastructure can be generally divided into the following layers: hardware, virtualization technologies, operating systems, platforms (programming frameworks, application servers, database management systems) and finally applications. The degree of vertical lock-in is defined by how much these layers are interdependent between them. The Microsoft SQL Server for example runs only on the Windows operating system and as such represents a complete lock-in to the Windows operating system.

BitSwarm supports both Windows as well as Linux operating systems. Additionally, all the major Linux distributions and Windows versions are supported thus covering the need for the vast majority of users as the market share of the two operating systems is over 95%. Also the export of the BitSwarm cloud machines is available in the OVF format which guarantees for virtualization environment independence.

Horizontal lock-in

Horizontal lock-in generally refers to a situation where the client is restricted to replace a product with a comparable product from another vendor. In IaaS environments this normally arises from the provider's inability (or unwillingness) to provide the client with the hosted client's virtual infrastructure in a form which can be transferred to a different provider.

In BitSwarm, all cloud machines, storage volumes, machine images and backups can be obtained in Open virtualization format (OVF), which can later be imported into all the major virtualization providers (VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V) as well as some cloud providers.

Generational lock-in

Everything tends to get old and obsolete and software in the cloud is no exception. In the traditional environment hardware and software need to be replaced once every couple of years with the hardware some times even more often due to failures and defects. In the cloud, the hardware is replaced transparently by the provider but issues with software still exist. In context of operating systems it is normally an issue of licensing.

BitSwarm offers you to rent instead of buy Microsoft licenses for all Microsoft operating systems as well as other software so the license is never really acquired and as such can easily be upgraded to the newer version. Linux on the other hand is open source software (OSS) and thus does not need any licensing at all. The new versions of both operating systems will of course become available in the BitSwarm cloud as they arrive on the market. For higher level software (like for example: application servers, DBMSs, end-user applications) BitSwarm does not impose any new interdependency that is not already present. (eg. Imposed by the software vendor)

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