As Cloud Computing grows, so does customer concern about cloud services vendor lock-in. Fungible clouds would avoid the prospect of swapping on-premises platform lock-in for a cloud services provider lock-in. Fungibility would help avoid being held hostage while enabling applications to be able to “breath in and breath out” of similar cloud systems and processes.
The things to watch out for in the cloud computing industry: Will Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) or other dominant players start to behave as an economic bully? We’re in the early days of cloud so people aren’t feeling the potential for domination. When people come up with a PaaS, it provides extra functionality, but now it means that instead of just relying on a virtualized hardware, you’re now relying on a specific middleware, and it becomes absolutely vital that customers consider lock-in and don’t just end up trapped on a particular platform. But people who are thinking ahead to the endgame are pretty clear that that power will emerge because any rational, publicly traded company will maximize its shareholder value by applying any available leverage.
Fungibility is critical for customers but the fungibility level of current cloud solutions is very low. Cloud services vendors fear customer churn and want to ensure long term customer loyalty so they tend to lower entry costs while raising exit barriers. The best way to achieve long term customer loyalty is to actually eliminate barriers to exit. Think of a bank where you feel safe depositing your cash. Imaging one such bank tells you there would be a exit fee. Would you even consider depositing your money with them? As businesses embrace cloud computing, how can they protect themselves against service provider lock-in, ensure openness and portability of applications, and foster a frictionless marketplace among cloud providers? Can business applications and data move with relative ease from cloud to cloud – public and private clouds and between various public cloud providers?
Lets try to find answers.
Fungibility (fənjəbilətē) noun
The property of a commodity whose individual units can be substituted mutually. A dollar bill is fungible. Your car is probably not.