Don't Get Locked In! Three Keys To Avoiding Provider Lock-In

Posted 03/16/2016 by Lance Shaw

Commvault has a proven history when it comes to satisfying enterprise requirements for data protection and rapid recovery. Customers who are considering Commvault as an upgrade to their current backup and recovery systems will often ask us about how we continue to stay ahead of competitors like EMC, Veritas and others. While there are many unique and industry-leading technologies within the Commvault Data Platform, one aspect often stands out: the open approach and flexibility of Commvault Software.

For most customers, both large and small, the data infrastructure is not a homogeneous place. The diversity and breadth of applications, file shares, storage arrays and other information repositories can often be mind-boggling. Organizations that have previously purchased data protection systems from companies like EMC frequently find themselves trapped in a world of limited integration and a brevity of supported platforms. You cannot blame companies like EMC; it's in its best interest to be able to go back into its customer base and up-sell more of its own technology. But in the real world, organizations acquire or inherit disparate data systems from many different storage and application vendors and they all need an integrated approach to data protection and management.

Let's take a look at three perils of provider-lock-in and how to avoid them.

Lack of Flexibility: OK, this might sound obvious but you would be surprised how the lack of flexibility can become a real issue for an organization. Commvault was recently chosen as the preferred data protection vendor for a large organization that previously used a Veritas solution. The company had made the decision to take advantage of the new, powerful flash-based storage from Pure Storage, but integrating this into the older Veritas system was going to be difficult (read: costly). The company was being held back due to a lack of flexibility with its current data protection system and it became abundantly clear that the long term strategy demanded a more open and extensible approach. In other cases, a lack of flexibility can rear its ugly head when it comes to choosing cloud providers. If an organization wants to take advantage of a better cloud hosting solution, moving data and transitioning access between providers can be a nearly insurmountable cost and time barrier. A truly flexible data protection implementation allows organizations to move between cloud providers with no interruption in service.

Escalating long term operational costs: Organizations often get themselves locked into a provider due to initial acquisition cost considerations. The vendor naturally wants to lock the customer up long term and offers a sweetheart deal for add-ons and other components that the customer may or may not need. The deal seems too good to be true (warning sign No. 1). There can be an initial appeal to a closed system where the software and hardware are allegedly designed to work with each other. However, any initial savings are quickly forgotten as longer term operational costs mount up within a closed system. If you want to integrate with another application or hardware platform that is not supported, get ready for a lot of custom scripting, in-house testing and long term professional services engagements. Avoiding or minimizing long term costs with a data protection system that easily integrates with current and future data systems can realize tremendous savings and help you avoid a lot of second guessing.

No opportunity to be truly agile: Becoming an ‘agile business’ often remains an aspirational goal for organizations. Is there more that can be done with current data management schemes that would accelerate the pace of IT innovation, dev/test cycles and simplify the retirement of outdated or legacy applications? Line-of-business requirements to aggregate information from different applications highlight the need to have an open data management platform with a single index and easy information discovery. From an IT perspective, accelerating the pace of application testing, deployment and retirement will have a significant impact on business agility and the bottom line.

Organizations that need to improve its approach to data protection, recovery and application management are wise to consider an open approach to integration and provider support. It has direct ramifications on operating expenses, administration costs and infrastructure. Avoid the perils of provider lock-in and become a more agile, flexible and successful business. Learn more about how Commvault solves these challenges via the Traditional Backup Versus Modern Data Protection infographic.