Friday, March 28, 2008


Do software vendors consider vendor lock-in an antipattern?

I wonder if folks from Microsoft, Oracle, Sun and others think about the notion of vendor lock-in being an anti-pattern in the same way that enterprise architects do?

We have often encountered software projects that claim their architecture is based upon a particular vendor or product line. Other anecdotal evidence occurs around the time of product upgrades and new application installations: "When I try to read the new data files into the old version of the application, it crashes my system."
"Once you read data into the new application, you can never get it out again."

A software project adopts a product technology and becomes completely dependent upon the vendor's implementation. When upgrades are done, software changes and interoperability problems occur, and continuous maintenance is required to keep the system running. In addition, expected new product features are often delayed, causing schedule slips and an inability to complete desired application software features.

  • Commercial product upgrades drive the application software maintenance cycle.

  • Promised product features are delayed or never delivered, subsequently, causing failure to deliver application updates.

  • The product varies significantly from the advertised open systems standard.

  • If a product upgrade is missed entirely, a product repurchase and reintegration is often necessary.

  • Do vendors laugh at us enterprise architects when we allow products purchase decisions to be based entirely upon marketing and sales information, and not upon more detailed technical inspection?

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