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Avoiding vendor lock-in allows you to ensure flexibility, agility, and choice


Limiting your options is never a good idea in today's fast-paced business environment. Choosing a solution stack is no exception. You must remain agile as priorities change and technologies improve.Vendor choise_Telco_blogshutterstock_1276935895.jpg

Finding yourself locked into one vendor at all layers of your solution stack is a situation fraught with peril. There are many disadvantages to being stuck with one vendor, and an attractive deal on the front end may prove quite costly on the back. Let me explain why vendor lock-in is bad, and how open, industry standard alternatives can provide you with choice and protection.

Why CSPs want choice

Whether they're dealing with the internal intricacies of their own data centers or the choice of cloud vendors, I've found that our customers expect to have the freedom of choice in their IT investments. They've learned from past mistakes that putting all of their eggs in one basket rarely ends well.

Customers like that freedom for a few reasons:

  • They want to use best-of-breed solutions from a variety of vendors—and they don't want to wait for one outlet to make that technology available on their platform.
  • They want the ability to consume competitively priced products and services and not rely on a single vendor that could take advantage of a big, sticky account and raise pricing, year after year.
  • When situations change, they don't want to incur significant costs to switch out proprietary gear and retool processes and procedures that were developed and put into production for just one vendor's systems.

The key to agile IT is flexibility

I've seen the need for today's CSPs and IT departments to be agile, to react quickly to new technologies and adopt them in order to stay competitive and respond to customer needs.

Unfortunately, in some situations, moving applications and workloads from one system to another can work and function very differently depending on how proprietary an environment is. Different software vendors and hardware providers may only certify particular solutions working with certain combinations of proprietary components. It's difficult to integrate new offerings into an environment built with tools and processes that focus exclusively on one vendor's solution, and it's hard to stay agile when you can only pick from a limited list of hardware and software that works together.

The right solutions are heterogeneous

Being linked to a single flavor of operating system or hardware vendor is also not advantageous. You're stuck with their momentum, their progress on development and maturation of their solution, and their support services to glue it all together and make it work. Ultimately, you can only progress when they do.

One of the major risks here is in timing: Different technology stacks mature at different times. By choosing compute, storage, and network investments in an open way, your organization can shift to the best solutions at any given time, using applications and workload solutions from whatever vendor represents the best option at that particular time.

Benefits of committing to open solutions

Often, heterogeneous solutions rely on industry standard technologies and APIs that make it super easy to integrate products from multiple vendors and manage as a single layer. Our NFV Blueprints are a great example of the benefits of choosing open solutions that use industry standards, and here's why:

  • HPE has the largest ecosystem of technology vendors and offer hardware components choices such as CPUs, and NICs from various vendors in our HPE Blueprints.
  • We embrace open-source software. Our carrier-grade solution is based on Linux, OpenStack, and KVM implementations, and we use open-source components for additional technologies, too.
  • We use OpenStack and its APIs to avoid the vendor lock-in that occurs with proprietary solutions.
  • Our NFV Blueprints offer support for multiple guest operating systems, not just a single flavor. Use what works best.
  • We're committed to fostering an open ecosystem, and our collection of systems integrators, independent software vendors, and network equipment providers gives service providers choices that are open to avoid vendor lock-in.

When it comes to the investments a telco makes in network function virtualization (NFV), HPE offers a carrier-grade stack of commodity hardware, networking, and storage hardware built for enterprises of all shapes and sizes. Plus, our software is based on commonly run and highly available open-source code. With OpenStack and Linux at the core of the solution, HPE telco solutions utilize open technologies that encourage the freedom of choice and completely sidestep the issue of lock-in.

See how HPE helps avoid vendor lock-in

Maintain a flexible, agile IT environment by avoiding vendor lock-in. Come see how our NFVI platform choices embrace open technologies while delivering world-class performance and reliability.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC), Hewlett Packard Enterprise will showcase how HPE Edgeline can help you effectively run network and appliance components at the edge – while empowering you to deliver incredible customer experiences. Visit the HPE booth #3E11 to see HPE Edgeline in action.


Vice President, Telco Segment Solution
Hybrid IT Group
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
About the Author


Business leader for HPE’s Telco Segment and Network Function Virtualization Solutions in HPE’s Hybrid IT Business group. Responsible for go-to market activities, product development and strategic partnerships enabling HPE’s infrastructure business in the telecommunication segment.

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