NetApp has coined a new industry term, urging customers to ensure they have a ‘clexit' - cloud exit - strategy.
At the vendor's Insight technical conference in Berlin, NetApp said that the way the cloud industry is going means that customers are unknowingly signing themselves up to cloud deals through which the provider can later make it difficult for them to get out of.
Peter Wüst, NetApp's senior director for emerging solutions and innovation in EMEA, told press at the event that customers must work out how to move to the cloud freely. Following the recent Brexit vote, he decided to coin the term "clexit", meaning cloud exit.
He said recent cloud price rises following Brexit, means customers should be considering "clexit".
"What I want to say is that in five years and ten years from now, you can bet that the prices on public down are not going down," he said, citing Microsoft's recent announcement that prices will rise in the UK in January. "This is a recent example - Microsoft Azure and Office 365 increased prices in the UK. You can say it is because of the currency stuff - ok, that's right - but if you are a CFO, that doesn't matter. If prices you go up, you don't have the budget. So what are you doing about it? That's my key point. How do you react? Are you prepared?
"Frankly, every one of our competitors is trying to create their own silos and trying to capture you into what I like to call a data prison, where it is always difficult to escape."
"The preparation can be if you build a hybrid cloud data platform that you're able to move data sets between those different clouds and therefore still have a choice. We are now talking to many customers who really fear they have vendor lock-in. I am seeing at the moment that people just run into one cloud and they don't think twice about it. [You can] foresee this won't work out in the next five years, [and] you should act today and now. Acting today means you need a clexit strategy. You need to be able to exit your cloud. You need to be able to exit your private cloud and move it to Azure and AWS."
At last year's Insight conference, NetApp was keen to shout about how its technology helps customers avoid getting locked in by rivals, and Wüst pushed the same message again this year.
"What we are doing is working relentlessly to be able to provide our customers and partners the freedom of choice so they are not stuck in one cloud or the other one and they can really move in between those clouds," he said. "How do I move data from one on-premise cloud into a service provider cloud and back? It is possible if you have the same data format. That's what we have built. By doing that, we are giving our customers and partners the freedom of choice."
Around 3,500 delegates are attending Insight in Berlin this week, a third of which are from customers. In the main general session, NetApp's vice president for worldwide field and customer operations Henri Richard also banged the same drum, insisting rivals do not have customers' best interests at heart.
"Frankly, every one of our competitors is trying to create their own silos and trying to capture you into what I like to call a data prison, where it is always difficult to escape. We have the ambition to set you free. We want to remove friction in managing this data.
"That is what we call the data fabric and that's what we've been focused on for the last two years. It is an architecture - a platform - that provides you with a consistent, easy-to-manage, seamless, data tool. It is read for the new era of public cloud and hybrid cloud and it's there to facilities the combination of on-premise and cloud architecture to allow to deliver various flavours of cloud to your customers."
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