Have you ever heard of vendor lock-in? What is it and how can it become a commitment for suppliers and their customers?

Often, the goal of suppliers is to solidify a direct, continuous, and trusting relationship and loyalty with their customers. This type of relationship, however, is not always easy to manage. The vendor lock-in comes into play when a client company ties itself to its supplier of products and services exclusively, becoming dependent on the supplied service, on the ad-hoc designed product or on the implemented technology so much that it cannot back out from the relationship so easily. Change is possible, but only with a high and expensive effort in terms of time and resources. Indeed, this is called the lock-in effect.

What does the vendor lock-in entail?

If, on one hand, working with a low number of suppliers results in the reduction of process complexity and in their homogeneity, on the other, it decreases the client’s negotiation capacity. Moreover, increasing the number of contractual and organizational obstacles, the potential shift from a supplier to another becomes increasingly complex. Just think of the supply of technological services and/or products: you have license agreements to observe and all the investments to structure the project team in terms of updating and developing specific skills – especially in the case of yearly projects. That’s why the consequence is a locked-in effect with the customers.

Why did GreenVulcano adopted a no vendor locked-in approach

Usually, when carrying out a substantial product development – or better, a development that could affect systems supporting the company’s core business – two of the main concerns of who has to choose the partner/supplier to rely on are: in the short term, efficiency – that is, the solution must be supplied on time and must be of high quality; and, in the long term, what happens after the delivery. Clients are afraid that the solution will depend on the supplier. Thus, they want to be sure they might find new suppliers somewhere else if necessary. What solutions? GreenVulcano adopts a different approach from those currently on the market.

We aim at efficiency, providing a high-quality product in full respect of any deadline and with the tools that allow the customer to change supplier whenever necessary – as Gaetano Rossi explains, GreenVulcano’s Vice President & General Director. Our customer can choose to stay with us only if they believe we worked fine together. That is, we set our projects following an agile methodology that allows us to share our know-how with the customer. Customers will be included in all the stages of the project’s realization. They immediately acquire all the necessary information and the gained know-how is co-managed in spaces/repositories by both the customer and the supplier.

GreenVulcano’s approach towards its own customers

As stated by Livia Bochicchio, GreenVulcano’s Scrum Master and Project Manager:

Customers are able to follow the projects autonomously – after the development of the product – thanks to manuals and instructions or, even, the source code provided by our team. At the end of the project, usually, we share the information repositories: a complete package both at the code’s level and at the related information one. It’s our way to relate to the customers with honesty and transparency, giving the customer our availability and allowing them the necessary autonomy. I believe this will become a benefit rather than an issue in terms of loyalty. Because it allows the customer to have their project’s keys in their hands in the best conditions possible. 

Our strength? We provide all the technical product-related documentation and we explain how certain features work and what potential issues may arise. We aim at our customers’ satisfaction, not from their dependencies in projects that could last years. We want our customers to stay and work with us because they are satisfied with our working methodologies. When a problem arises – for instance, issues during the testing phases – we provide a report on what happened together with hypotheses of other potential issues that might occur later to ease our customers’ operation during resolution. Qualitatively, hence, we provide a 360-degrees product whose goal is to allow our customers to be independent from us and to avoid  the locked-in effect.

Keywords of the no vendor lock-in approach?

Autonomy, transparency, trust, know-how. 

Do you want to know more about it? Write to us. We’ll be more than happy to tell you about our approach and our offering.

Nowadays customers have a wide range of computer tools. This great variety of systems, enhanced by the continuous development of increasingly innovative software, makes the process of data synchronization, among  different applications, extremely difficult.


Given this variety it is absolutely advisable to work on system integration.

System integration is the process by which various IT systems and software applications function as a unified, coordinated and cooperating system.
The advantages of this kind of integration are multiple, both for the customer and for the company: an improved  information flow, an increase in the product quality and on overall company performances. Together those benefits also allow to reduce costs and improve business efficiency.


The first phase of integration evolution, in chronological order, coincides with the model known as point-to-point.

It is an integration that involves only two systems. Since this is a rather subtle integration, some theorists disagree with considering it as system because it lacks the typical complexity of systems. The point-to-point model is a rather simple integration that involves connecting only two systems. It is through this model that much more complex systems are built of off. 


Since the Star integration adopts the structure of the point-to-point model, it also inherits all of its flaws. For example with the increase of the elements involved, it tends to become more and more  chaotic. For this reason, this type of integration is also called “spaghetti integration“.


The model that partially solves the problems of the two previous integrations is vertical integration: here systems are put into communication according to their functionalities, creating functional entities called silos. If a new functionality has to be added, it is  necessary to create a new silo. This strategy can be suitable for companies with complex vertical infrastructures.


The integration that best expresses the concept of System integration is the horizontal integration in which a layer is used as a common interface between all the components. This layer is nothing more than an ESB architecture. The term Enterprise Service Bus was coined by Gartner in 2002.

In every company there are a plurality of systems and services, each with its usefulness. But if each service were to be integrated from time to time with all the new services used in the company, how many additions should we create? And would its cost be sustainable by the company?

An ESB software offers the huge advantage to  provide a unique integration for each system. ESB is capable of integrating disparate systems, connecting heterogeneous technologies and consistently providing coordination services, access security, messaging, intelligent routing, acting as a computer backbone through which all the software services and application components can travel.


ESB is installable through three different ways:

  1. on-premise
  2. cloud
  3. hybrid-cloud.


The on-premise solution guarantees exclusive control over systems, data, internal management of sensitive and core data. It is a solution to be preferred in case direct data management is fundamental for business policies and in case it is necessary for the organization to be geographically localized.


The cloud solution ensures scalability, reliability and, above all, a quick service delivery. In fact with mobile access you can connect to data at any time, through any device

As regards the safety of the system, data and networks are protected with always backup services as well as specific security protocols to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data.


However, the storage of sensitive cloud data is often a cause of concern for companies. An excellent solution to these difficulties is offered by hybrid integration; sensitive data remain at headquarters, while non-sensitive data can remain in the cloud, offering companies the opportunity to segregate and track movements. Companies therefore decide which data to store in the cloud and which in the local.


Despite this distinction, it is necessary to specify that originally the ESB was only applied locally. The natural consequence, enhanced by the urgent need to integrate applications and on-premise data with cloud applications and data, was the identification of the ESB as a passed software that should leave the step to iPaaS solutions (integration platform as a service). However, a good software is programmed to respond to the need for updating and renewal and so we have come to the development of software, such as the GreenVulcano open source ESB, extremely lightweight that supports the APIs and integration platforms that connect to the systems legacy.

The development of software that cross the traditional approach of the SOA architecture, interpreting in an innovative way the integration of business applications (EAI), has given new life to a software wrongly defined obsolete.

ESB (2.0) is able to meet today’s needs of high flexibility, maintaining the reliability of traditional systems. In this perspective, the future of ESB seems to be positively comforting.


GreenVulcano 4, the latest evolution of our enterprise service bus designed to go beyond the traditional approach on SOA architecture by innovatively interpreting the (EAI ) enterprise application integration to meet today’s requirements for high flexibility but with the robustness and reliability of the systems traditional.

  1. Speed, in all phases of the life cycle, from development to provisioning up to operations, to respond in the best possible way to the changing needs of the market;
  2. Economics, limiting infrastructure costs, thanks to the possibility of being used both on the on-demand cloud and on commodity hardware, thus also reducing the considerable software license costs;
  3. Flexibility, modularity and polymorphism, which guarantee the ability to cover needs that are not yet born and we can not foresee, changing its own structure without design from scratch.


Enterprise service bus | what’s this

Intrinsically, the enterprise service bus is a mechanism in which a bidirectional interface from connected systems is always provided. This means that all source and destination systems must be connected to the ESB and that the applications themselves communicate by sending messages on the bus.

An enterprise service bus is, therefore, a bus on which messages between integrated entities travel.

However, one should not think of the BUS as a mere intermediary structure, since it is possible to modify the messages by intervening in the logic of the software.


ESB GreenVulcano: a use case

To better understand the strength of an ESB, let’s analyze its implementation.

Suppose we have a business model according to which, a series of stores that operate on behalf of the shop, are periodically supplied from a single warehouse, all respecting the following logic:

  1. When the goods arrive at each store, the ERP system must be updated
  2. The cashier who sells the single item of clothing sends information to the ERP system via the App. The status of the garment is updated to “sold”.
  3. The cashier or Sales manager sends via the App the eventual return of the garment that a customer has returned to him, for the issue of a Credit Note
  4. A night batch issues an invoice for each store on daily sales
  5. The payment system sends the request for SDD (Sepa Direct Debit) to Banca Sella. Invoice in “paid” status. Once the payment has been received by the Bank, the invoice is set as “paid”.

As you can see there are several systems and components that cooperate with each other in a reality that we can define as integration platform: the ERP system, the web services displayed by the bank, the application that updates the ERP system for each sale of a garment, the insertion of data that takes place through the NFC reading of the various items, can in fact use protocols and different programming languages.

The enterprise service bus connects the various applications with which it interfaces.

If every service were to have a communication interface for every other service, how many interfaces should we create?

Here, therefore, that each system should have a single interface to the ESB, as can be seen in the figure below.


Scalability of an ESB

Imagine the example illustrated above, in a context without ESB: if each component must be able to interact with all the other components, no more than 16 interfaces would be needed, but 56!

Any change to a component could result in the modification of all the interfaces of those components with which it interacts: you can imagine the time that each update needs.

The use of an ESB is therefore the winning choice, as we can well understand how such an architecture can be scaled in terms of components, allowing a very large number.




Enterprise service bus architecture

The SOA (service-oriented architecture) used by Greenvulcano, as the acronym suggests itself, is a service-based architecture: in fact, we have the requests for services, and on another level, we have the actual services called up and connected by means of a BUS. The OSGI specifications implemented in Greenvulcano therefore allow the development of a component platform. These components or applications, available as bundles for distribution, can be installed, started, stopped, updated and uninstalled remotely without requiring the restart of the ESB that is deployed on the Karaf container.

The services or components within Greenvulcano, can be either strongly decoupled, think about the case in which a feature can be associated with a single service, or we can have a workflow of services (that is, multiple services performed sequentially). The enterprise service bus integrates and orchestrates all this.

Enterprise service bus | characteristics

The main features of Greenvulcano will be described below

  • Running on the Karaf container for greater lightness: this also allows you to load new configurations and hot features without having to reload and deploy the application in full.
  • Integration between different applications with different technologies such as JMS, Web Services, JDBC, HTTP and more
  • A visual development environment (developer studio): this allows you to develop some services in a simple and intuitive way or a workflow of several concatenated services. See our tutorial and find out how easy it is to create an event-driven push notification.
  • A monitoring dashboard that allows you to deploy services
  • High reliability, security and scalability
  • Use of Java 8 and OSGI 6.


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