Breaking Free from Vendor Lock-in in Hybrid Cloud: The Role of Open Standards

Aug 1, 2023 | Valentina Spirdonova




The use of cloud infrastructure has become increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes, as it offers them greater flexibility, scalability, and cost savings compared to in-house infrastructure. However, transferring data from on-premises devices to the cloud can pose challenges, especially in terms of compatibility and data security.

Data management solutions that preserve native file formats can address these challenges and play a crucial role in enabling seamless compatibility across different software applications and platforms, mitigating the risk of isolated data silos and vendor lock-in.

The following article aims to provide a brief overview of the significance of native file formats and open standards and their impact on future-proof data management.


The impact of open standards on data transfer & storage

Open standards are considered essential for businesses that want to store their data in a way that’s independent of any particular software vendor or storage solution. Often, tiered storage infrastructures involve multiple vendors and software applications, which can make it challenging for businesses to access and use their data across these different systems.

By embracing open formats for data storage, businesses can gain access to versatile and scalable solutions that integrate with diverse software applications or cloud vendors. This flexibility eliminates compatibility issues and ensures seamless data interoperability, allowing organizations to efficiently leverage their data assets regardless of the specific systems or vendors involved.

The utilization of open formats and the ability for organization to maintain the native file format of its files, can also foster agility and future-proofing, allowing organizations to adapt to evolving technologies and market dynamics while optimizing their data management practices.

In fact, many established practices in the industry have advocated for the adoption of open formats in data storage.

In 2017, for instance, the European Commission recommended the use of open formats for data storage in its “European Interoperability Framework for European Public Services” (EIF). The EIF provides guidance on how European public services can use information and communication technology to improve their operations. The framework recommends the use of open standards to promote interoperability, vendor neutrality, and long-term accessibility of data.

The policy was introduced after an estimation by the European Commission in 2015 recognized the impact of the open standards and stated that their implementation could save EU Member States up to €1.1 billion per year in public procurement alone.


File formats in the context of hybrid and multi-cloud storage

Simply put, when organizations use a proprietary system that is specific to a particular cloud provider or storage solution, they become dependent on that provider or solution. This dependence, dubbed vendor lock-in, can make it difficult or sometimes even impossible for companies, organizations, and even institutions to switch to a different provider or solution in the future without unexpected costs, significant disruption to operations or even data loss.

Yet, storing data in its native format addresses this challenge as it retains the integrity and fidelity of the data as it is transferred across different cloud providers and storage solutions. Secondly, it makes files straightforward to retrieve and utilize on different platforms and software applications, irrespective of the provider or solution utilized.

Consider an organization that has adopted a multi-cloud storage solution to manage its data. If one of its providers raises prices, the organization could face challenges due to budgetary constraints regardless of whether it decides to stay put or switch over to another cloud solution. However, if the organization stored its data in non-proprietary formats in the first place, it could smoothly transition to another provider without any data format conversion requirements. Such a migration would save the organization valuable time and resources, ensuring business continuity while also avoiding the risks associated with vendor lock-in or data loss.

Therefore, industries with mission-critical on-premises deployments such as the public sector and healthcare have been on a lookout for vendor-lock-free file management services to maintain the necessary controls, encryption, access restrictions, and metadata structures that align with their specific requirements.

To ensure organizations can grow and scale as they embrace innovation, file management services that preserve the native format of data allow for its easy integration and processing by cloud-based AI services , such as advanced analytics, machine learning algorithms, and predictive modeling. This enables organizations to extract valuable insights, automate repetitive tasks, and make data-driven decisions.


The role Tiger Bridge plays in promoting interoperability and open standards in data storage

Tiger Technology is contributing to the preservation of original file formats by providing a software solution that enables the seamless integration of diverse storage systems and cloud platforms. The company’s flagship product, Tiger Bridge, enables the preservation of the file & folder structure of local storage, ensuring that data is replicated to object storage, and that multiple local devices connected to the same cloud bucket can access the same dataset, stored in native formats.

By doing so, Tiger Technology’s software-only solution ensures that data can be easily accessed and shared between different cloud platforms and storage systems, promoting interoperability and data portability. Furthermore, Tiger Bridge preserves Active Directory permissions and file attributes, meaning that customers maintain control over their user access.


In Conclusion

By embracing data management services based on open standards, businesses can ensure data independence, accessibility, and long-term preservation. These practices promote data interoperability, mitigate compatibility issues, and contribute to cost savings, ultimately enabling organizations to seamlessly transition between different systems and platforms as they see fit. Additionally, they allow businesses to harness the power of cloud-based services, such as AI/ML and benefit in terms of scalability, efficiency, and continuous innovation.