One of the most appealing aspects of cloud computing is the promise\u2014in theory at least\u2014that if you\u2019re not happy with a vendor, you can migrate to another with much less pain than with traditional enterprise solution providers. Today, CIOs have an almost bewildering choice of cloud applications and cloud platforms.\nThis multi-cloud reality opens up greater potential for leveraging on-premises enterprise software with cloud resources.\nGone are the days of waiting for a behemoth ERP vendor to build out a new module or capability \u2013 you can\u2019t wait to innovate. The cloud enables choice and agility, giving CIOs and their business partners the ability to take advantage of innovative applications and technologies that provide competitive advantage with very little friction to get started and accelerate time to value.\nAccording to RightScale\u2019s 2017 State of the Cloud survey, the average enterprise is using or experimenting with applications in 3.6 public clouds and 4.4 private clouds. The survey indicates that 79% of workloads run in the cloud, almost evenly split between public and private cloud environments. But, as RightScale points out, those private cloud applications may include workloads running in existing virtualized environments or bare-metal environments that have been \u201ccloudified.\u201d\nIt\u2019s also likely that cloud has been deployed somewhat opportunistically\u2014maybe even haphazardly\u2014to deal with particular needs. Or even as undercover \u201cShadow IT\u201d projects outside the purview of central IT. Many would argue that Shadow IT simply reflects business needs to move faster than IT is willing or capable of doing.\nVendor choice\nBut while there are options galore in terms for finding the right applications to meet virtually any need, the major cloud platform providers would just as soon like to lock you into long-term commitments.\nAmazon Web Services (AWS), the largest public cloud vendor, is aiming to lock in its partners who deal directly with end-customers. At AWS re:Invent last November, AWS CEO Andy Jassy reportedly urged partners to stop hedging and go all-in with AWS. \u201cThe reality is, we are going to direct business to our partners who are committed and who really understand the platform because our customers want partners who understand the details of our platform,\u201d Jassy said, according to a ZDNet report.\nOracle is even more brazen, according to Jason Bloomberg, president of industry analyst firm Intellyx, who offers a stinging indictment in Forbes that the company is apparently engineering underlying hardware to optimize for its software; is \u201ctricking customers into using features they haven\u2019t licensed,\u201d and then using license audits to buy cloud options; and raising rates for using its software on AWS or Microsoft Azure. Hardly surprising that they\u2019d rather their customers run Oracle applications on Oracle cloud, where there is greater likelihood of maximizing profits over the long term.\nStaving off dependency\nThere\u2019s a natural inclination in IT to fear dependence on any one vendor. And there\u2019s long-standing resistance to the idea that one vendor can serve all needs. \u201cCIOs\u2019 notion of a single cloud platform that is low-cost, provides perfect scalability and security for every application and does so with virtually no vendor lock-in is considered a holy grail for a reason: You just can\u2019t find it,\u201d writes CIO.com Senior Writer Clint Boulton.\nDetermining what clouds to use and when to use them is essential for maximizing return on investment in current and future infrastructure and software.\nDominant vendors will never stop trying to come up with strategies to lock in customers. So CIOs must continue to come up with new ways of thinking to maintain independence.