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(L to R): Barb Darrow, freelance journalist; Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO, Microsoft. (GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

As the technology leader for the second-place cloud computing vendor, Microsoft’s Mark Russinovich has a keen interest in finding ways for companies that have invested in Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform to run their applications on other clouds. But he also understands why some companies actually want to be locked into a cloud.

Lock-in has been a dirty word in enterprise computing for decades, and it’s rearing its head once again as a new generation of companies comes to power and companies evaluate their technology budgets. “Lock-in is in the conversation always,” Russinovich said at Structure 2017 Tuesday, saying that some companies want to be multicloud for political hedge-your-bets reasons and others are looking to play vendors off each other for pricing concessions.

“But we also see companies that want to go deep on one because there is a cost to being multicloud,” he said. Managing workloads across multiple clouds requires additional expertise in technologies like Kubernetes, and data egress fees common at all cloud vendors often throw water on multicloud strategies.

One of the major themes in cloud computing over the past year or so has been the acknowledgment that hybrid cloud is here to stay, and that’s one way companies are managing the risk of working with a single cloud vendor, Russinovich said.

Companies with well-understood applications that require predictable amounts of resources can often save money by keeping those workloads in-house. Other workloads that see spikes in demand or that suffer from latency problems as they are used around the world will wind up costing you more if you try to manage that demand yourself by building a global network of data centers, he said.

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