As market pressures increasingly persuade organizations to become more agile and responsive to changing business needs, leading many to migrate infrastructure and application environments to the cloud, challenges are apt to appear along the way.
Cloud management platforms, like VMware’s vRealize Automation (vRA), can streamline such migrations by automating manual processes and accelerating how IT services and applications are delivered. The right cloud management platform can also increase the productivity of your development and IT teams, potentially reduce costs, and offer robust governance and control tools.
On the other hand, the wrong approach can lead to some significant complications.
Fortunately, WWT is committed to helping our customers achieve well-balanced, standardized and supported cloud management platform solutions that simplify cloud migrations.
This article uses a cloud automation lens to explore three IT situations you may have heard of: vendor lock-in, labor lock-in and coding silos. In addition to discussing which should actually concern you, we highlight how WWT’s vRealize Remediation services can help you get the most out of your cloud migration initiatives.
What is vendor lock-in?
“Vendor lock-in” has become a popular term over the last decade as more and more IT manufacturers cross over into each other’s product lines.
While vendor lock-in is predominantly associated with hardware procurement, you’ll sometimes see it used to position cloud management platforms — software frameworks that specialize in infrastructure automation.
Whether intentional or not, the phrase “vendor lock-in” plays on the fear of being controlled or taken advantage of by a large OEM, vendor or technology partner over time. Without a proper strategy, the fear of vendor lock-in can lead to knee-jerk purchases.
On the hardware side, being locked into business with a single OEM across the board can result in an unbalanced diversity of technology. While it’s true you may be able to negotiate favorable terms and exit strategies that result in a more balanced long-term procurement agreement, this reactive approach isn’t one we recommend. Proactively avoiding vendor lock-in is often the smart move when it comes to IT hardware, depending on your situation and the OEM in question.
Conversely, when investing in a cloud management platform, proactively avoiding vendor lock-in might not be the right move. Doing so just might introduce two additional problems: labor lock-in and coding silos.
Let’s explore why we believe partnering with a market-leading OEM for cloud automation can actually be a shrewd move.
What is labor lock-in?
“Labor lock-in” happens when a company invests in technology that (a) has very little market share or (b) is based on an open-source tool for which there is minimal standardized support — either from the open-source community, a correlated enterprise license agreement (ELA) or elsewhere.
For example, let’s consider a fictional company that invests in an emerging cloud management platform built with open-source code. Given the technology’s newness, there happen to be only five engineers in the entire U.S. market who qualify as subject matter experts for this platform.
What do you think will happen to the company’s investment over time?
Because of the dearth of experts, the company will likely send one of its own FTEs through expensive training just to have someone in house who can operate their new cloud management framework. This seems like a prudent investment.
Let's assume our fully trained FTE spends the next six to twelve months writing unsupported scripting or workflow customization for the platform. What happens if the FTE then realizes they have a monopoly on a highly sought-after skill set that might double or triple their income on the open job market?
In this scenario, the company has to strongly consider matching or exceeding any incoming offers just to retain their in-house expert.
Our fictional company has just experience labor lock-in. If it doesn’t meet the FTE’s demands, it’ll be forced to recruit replacement talent from other markets with expensive rates and shallow talent pools. It’s a no-win situation.
Market-leading OEMs can actually help companies avoid labor lock-in scenarios like this by ensuring skilled technical engineers and architects available for their products in major labor markets. They can also keep labor lock-in at bay by offering IP-based ELA support, ongoing certifications, training focused on specific skill development and robust online communities.
Unfortunately, labor lock-in isn’t the only problem facing our fictional company in this example. They also face a coding silo problem due to their original decision to adopt an open-source cloud management platform solution.
What is a coding silo?
A "coding silo" arises from unsupported coding, scripting or workflow development that unintentionally promotes partitions or barriers within an IT organization (e.g., technical, departmental or political silos).
Building off our open-source scenario above, if the company’s fully trained FTE proceeds to write 10,000 lines of code to automate infrastructure provisioning through PowerShell, or develops workflows with an unpopular, unsupported or “trendy” framework, the company is in danger of generating coding silos.
If the trained FTE leaves the company for any reason, the company is stuck with understanding and unwinding those scripts/workflows and associated integrations, then rebuilding the process into a more standardized and supported framework. Such revamps are very expensive and usually take months to accomplish, even when a skilled technology partner is hired to remediate the issue.
To avoid coding silos, as with avoiding labor lock-in, WWT recommends investing in a market-leading cloud management platform that offers multiple support options and access to supplemental software that can enhance the framework by standardizing integrations.
How vRealize Remediation from WWT can help
Vendor lock-in and labor lock-in are both valid concerns when assessing software adoption and development strategies. Every organization must choose the approach that best suits their environment, budget and long-term goals.
WWT is committed to helping customers achieve well-balanced, standardized and supported cloud management platform solutions. With a practice focused on the implementation of VMware’s vRealize Automation (vRA), we can help customers realize the full value of this market-leading solution.
VMware’s Cloud Management Business Unit has endorsed WWT’s “vRealize Remediation” campaign, which is now officially offered through our teaming agreements.
vRealize Remediation from WWT includes a concentrated session highlighting how vRealize can be adopted and developed with the quickest time-to-value and the least amount of risk. It also includes a vRealize development investment strategy that remediates the coding silos most common with vRA implementations.
The session features a review of vRealize product strengths and limitations, SovLabs Modules and Blue Medora Management Packs. It can:
- Eliminate coding silos and labor lock-in from your environment.
- Standardize workflow development.
- Provide a proven roadmap for your vRA framework journey.
- Establish an on-prem gateway to VMware Cloud Assembly, Service Broker and Code Stream.
Selecting the right cloud management platform can streamline your cloud migration initiatives and help you avoid problems like labor lock-in and coding silos. In the end, you’ll benefit from automated manual processes and the accelerated delivery of IT services and applications.
We recommend VMware’s vRA for a complete, fully supported cloud management platform. Our vRealize Remediation services can help you extract the full value from this solution.
To learn more, connect with me or reach out to your local WWT account manager to learn more about cloud automation tools and our vRealize Remediation services.