Software Defined Data Center.

Cheryl J. Ajluni
Feb 4, 2016

If you’re in IT, you know about vendor lock-in—that scenario that occurs when you as the customer of a particular vendor become so dependent on that vendor that it becomes impossible to switch to another vendor without having to incur tremendous cost. That cost is so substantial that it forms an insurmountable barrier, which forces you to stay “locked-in” to your original vendor.

For many, the fear of vendor lock-in has been a big drawback of the cloud. For some, it may have even prevented them from adopting the technology altogether. But that is one of the selling points for the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), a data center approach that leverages cloud computing; it is supposed to improve this situation by effectively consolidating infrastructure and reducing vendor lock-in.

With SDDC, enterprises no longer have to feel locked into a single vendor or that they have to replace entire systems with solutions that all come from one company. That’s because SDDC gives enterprises a choice. They can use a cloud, for example, from one vendor and a cloud management suite from another.

Dave Russell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explains that while open-source standards or a cloud management platform may help IT organizations reduce the dreaded vendor lock-in in a SDDC, it is not something that can be eliminated altogether. “There are also no universal standards in place for infrastructure APIs, so adopting and coding to a particular API results in a degree of lock-in. It's vital to understand the trade-offs at work and the costs of migration or exit when choosing vendors and technologies.”

So the SDDC might not completely eliminate vendor lock-in, if that’s a concern of yours, but it does improve the situation and give you more choice. The key, according to Russell, is for IT organizations to “recognize that adopting an SDDC means trading a hardware lock-in for a software lock-in.” And that means they need to “choose the most appropriate kind of lock-in consciously and with all the facts at hand."