The Problem With Exclusive DNS and Cloud Service Provider Contracts and Why You Should Avoid Them
Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.
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A horde of zombies is about to overtake you. You have no weapon, no food or water, and you have no backup. You have three options. First choice: Just give up and accept that you’re about to join the ranks of the walking dead (or that there won’t be enough left of you to matter). Second choice: Hole up in a fortified building that only has one way in or out and hope they don’t break down the door (and you don’t starve to death). Third choice: A fortified building that has a front and back exit, and that’s easily defendable.
Okay, I think we can all agree that the first choice is just plain “rotten.” Thanks, but I’ll pass. And, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that if a horde of the walking dead was trying to eat your brains, that you’d avoid getting cornered at all costs (call me crazy).
Why, then, would you let yourself get trapped into an exclusive DNS or Cloud Service Provider (CSP) contract? In essence, you’re backing yourself into a corner—brains (aka networks) ripe for the picking!
Vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in, is just what it sounds like. It’s when a company signs up with one DNS provider or CSP and is only able to use that company’s services. And typically, the company is locked into the contract for several years.
When you go all-in with one provider, you have essentially chosen the second choice of the above scenario. The DNS or cloud service provider you’ve chosen may be strong, but at some point, “zombies” are going to overwhelm the door.
In the case of DNS and content delivery networks (CDN), the zombies are large or unexpected spikes in domain traffic, DDoS attacks, or other types of cyber threats. Choosing a provider with no “back” exit or that doesn’t play nice with other services leaves your domain vulnerable. If that provider goes down, so does your domain. This can cost companies thousands of dollars per minute. And as they say, the bigger you are, the harder you fall. Or in this case, the more money you lose.
Convenience – Perhaps the biggest appeal to signing up with just one CSP is convenience. There’s only one provider to deal with and you can have all your DNS and CDN services in one place. This can make it easier to manage your DNS and cloud services.
Ease of Use – Along with having everything in one place, when a company uses the same provider for all of their services, they often find it easier to use. There’s usually just one interface and they don’t have to do multiple configurations across different platforms.
Discounts – The ability to bundle services and receive a discount can be as big a lure as a convenience when it comes to signing an exclusive provider contract. To seal the deal, most CSPs offer big discounts if a company chooses to use their services exclusively.
As mentioned above, there are benefits to signing up with one provider. However, the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to DNS and CDN strategies.
Lack of Features and Limited Infrastructure
Many times, companies are forced to sacrifice certain features to go all-in with one provider. Even if a CSP does have all the features you’re looking for at the time of sign up, that doesn’t mean they will in the future. Not only that, companies who sign exclusive contracts often build their infrastructure and APIs solely around this one provider.
But what happens when your business grows?
Being tied down to one provider can seriously limit your technological growth. If you build your APIs around just one provider, you’ll be stuck only being able to evolve your infrastructure according to the capabilities of their platform. If they don’t advance, your options are limited.
As Your Business Scales, Your Costs Increase and the Price For Change is Steep
Even if you’re happy with the features of your chosen provider, your costs can dramatically increase as your business scales. Remember those discounts you received when you signed on? Those are typically just for new customers (kind of like a cable service promotion). Those prices also reflected service costs for the size your business was at the time you signed on.
Furthermore, if you decide you want to break up with your current provider, there is often a huge financial penalty to do so. And if you have to develop new APIs to work with different or newer services, the costs are even higher.
There are several things to consider when looking for a DNS or cloud service provider.
The big takeaway here is that if you’re not considering a multi-cloud strategy, you should be. Vendor lock-in can cause all kinds of problems for your domains and your business.
As much as we’d love for the internet to be a safe place, cyber Neegans with their Lucilles (aka keyboards) will always be there. And if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that things happen that are beyond our control. Countless domains, from retailers, schools to game sites, and more were simply overwhelmed due to the sudden demand for online services in 2020.
Expect the unexpected, and you’ll be ahead of the curve. Companies with the strongest networks and DNS strategies in place pre-pandemic, stayed online while others suffered outages. Much of this could have been avoided if organizations simply avoided getting locked into an exclusive DNS or CSP contract.
For information on Constellix or DNS Made Easy products and services contact us. Our specialists will be happy to discuss your specific needs and work with you to find the perfect DNS solutions for your business.
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