Vendor lock-in has become a proverbial four-letter word in the technology industry as businesses turn to open-source infrastructure and software design to support freedom of choice. For characters in the most recent episode of Doctor Who, vendor lock-in was a nightmare. The plot revolves around a malicious entity that is forcefully uploading human souls into the cloud, and, once "fully integrated," they can't be downloaded out of it. It may be an extreme example that relies on some dubious premises regarding the cloud's capabilities, but it does touch on a legitimate concern that companies do have: the ability to migrate architecture and other assets in and out of cloud environments. 

It is not just about the freedom to shift data and software functionality around. Closed architecture prevents businesses from utilizing the cloud infrastructure best optimized for them. Fortunately, many providers are responding to these prevalent concerns by adopting an open design philosophy when building their solutions. In an interview with TechTarget, Aaron Patrick, cloud services architect for The Markley Group, discussed some of the core decisions that guided the launch of the company's recent infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

"We want to stay away from vendor lock-in. We want to be as open as possible," said Aaron Patrick, Markley's cloud services architect. "It is important not to dictate to a customer what they have to use. That is something we don't want to force on them. What we want [is] to deliver the capabilities they need so they can do whatever it is they need to without being impeded by some technology decision we made."

One of the ways that Markley has addressed core technological challenges while sticking to an open design is by working with other businesses. Markley told the news source that the company is working with six different vendors, with the biggest challenge being to get all of these services to connect. He said the advantage of using open source design is that it enables cloud hardware providers to use industry-standard solutions that deliver high-performance more affordably than traditional options. 

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