Insight by Nutanix

How to free agencies from vendor lock-in with the cloud

On the IT Innovation Insider show, Nutanix details a new concept called “Freedom” that promotes agility and flexibility in the cloud.

The move to the cloud was supposed to end many of the age-old concerns with on-premise data centers. Changing hardware, updating software and, maybe most importantly, ensuring agencies didn’t get caught in the dreaded “vendor lock-in” were part of the great promise of the cloud.

While the first two concerns seem to be taken care of, the threat of agencies becoming beholden to one cloud vendor remains a real challenge.

“We see this concept of vendor lock-in in requests for proposals with restrictive language,” said Chris Howard, vice president of public sector for Nutanix, on the IT Innovation Insider program. “The most noticeable was the Department of Defense’s initial path with its JEDI acquisition where it wanted to go to a single cloud. That alone would be pretty significant lock-in.”

Howard said agencies don’t just need to move off legacy technology, but move off of a legacy mindset about how they buy and manage technology.

To help facilitate that change in mindset, Nutanix is promoting a concept called “Freedom.”

“At the heart of this campaign is about how do we give our customers the freedom to build and modernize the data centers they always wanted to build or the freedom to run the workloads that they want to run where they want to run them, whether it’s on their own private cloud or the public cloud,” said Ben Gibson, the chief marketing officer for Nutanix. “It’s about the freedom to make those decisions, freed up with simplicity and with the knowledge in terms of what’s the most cost effective cloud platform to run different applications on.”

Gibson said the “Freedom” initiative is really about the commodization or electrification of cloud services—no matter what service or application an organization has it can plugged in and played on any cloud.

And this concept becomes even more important as agencies continue to implement a hybrid cloud approach.

“We like to talk about ‘one-click.’ With one click, you can manage applications and application mobility across different cloud environments,” Gibson said. “Also, it’s about making informed choices. Every work load has cost implications dependent on which cloud it runs on. The more we can provide that visibility into that kind of information, the smarter our customers become, the more informed decisions they make, and ultimately the can impact both top and bottom line for their organization’s operations.”

There are five key concepts around the “Freedom” concept:

  • Freedom to build—Modernizing your data center environment to simplify your architecture environment and reduce costs and other resources.
  • Freedom to run the applications where you chose—This means having application mobility across different environments.
  • Freedom to cloud—Almost have a brokering environment where you can make decisions based on cost and performance requirements.
  • Freedom to invent—Gives IT professionals more time to think of new applications or innovate rather than maintain legacy systems.
  • Freedom to play—“Part of the promise we’d like to see with our experience with our customers that they have some better work-life balance. They are not being called in on weekends with some kind of availability issue and instead because of radically simplifying their private cloud and moving into hybrid cloud environments, they have time to have fun,” Gibson said.

Gibson said the reason cloud lock-in remains a challenge for agencies is every public cloud has its own set of application programming interfaces (APIs), has its own set of security implementations and other features that may be hard to break free from.

“We think this is an opportunity for an IT organization to reclaim some strategic control over what in many cases has become a bit of an uncontrollable environment with a lot of different organization firing up a new workload in a new public cloud platform at any given time,” he said.

Howard said the “Freedom” concept also will help agencies as they continue to push toward technology modernization.

“We want you to be able to run your application in any cloud you want with the freedom to move it anytime you want based on security, based on cost, based on governance or for whatever reason,” he said. “You need to have the freedom to move and be flexible.”