In IDC’s 2019 Cloud Pulse survey, 85 percent of organizations said they were repatriating workloads from cloud environments, up 5 percent from the previous year. Organizations said they planned to move half of their public cloud workloads to an on-premises private cloud, hosted private cloud or on-premises non-cloud environment.
Meanwhile, countless surveys show that public cloud adoption continues unabated. An O’Reilly study conducted in January 2020 found that more than 88 percent of respondents are using the cloud in some form, with most expecting to increase their cloud usage over the next 12 months.
To make sense of these seemingly contradictory statistics, we have to delve into what cloud repatriation means and why it’s so prevalent.
Why Cloud Repatriation?
At its most basic level, cloud repatriation is the movement of a cloud workload back to on-premises IT infrastructure. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the shift is permanent, or that the cloud is eliminated from the workload’s environment. Today, edge computing and hybrid cloud models are replacing some public cloud architectures.
The reasons behind cloud repatriation are equally complex when you look beneath the surface. According to the 2019 IDC survey, security (47 percent), cost (42 percent), performance (32 percent) and regulatory compliance (28 percent) are the top drivers for repatriation initiatives. However, these factors can often be traced to a lack of assessment and planning, unrealistic expectations, “lift-and-shift” migrations, and inadequate management processes.
A Deeper Look at the Drivers
Security often derails cloud initiatives — not because cloud infrastructure isn’t secure but because misconfigurations, lax permissions and other errors often result in security breaches. Compliance brings similar challenges. Although the major cloud platforms are certified for compliance with dozens of regulations and standards, customers are ultimately responsible for meeting regulatory requirements.
Performance problems often stem from the latency caused by transferring data back and forth to a distant data center. Organizations are moving applications from the cloud to the edge to enhance the user experience.
Cost is also a primary driver for cloud repatriation. Many organizations move to the public cloud to conserve capital but find that costs spiral out of control as the environment grows. After a certain point, it becomes just as economical to build out a private cloud.
The Way Forward
In many cases, cloud repatriation can be avoided with proper preparation. Migrating the right applications for the right reason, and setting realistic expectations for cloud initiatives, can minimize business and IT risk. Security and regulatory compliance should be considered at the outset of any cloud migration project. Effective cloud governance can minimize “shadow IT” initiatives and help ensure that cloud costs remain in line.
When considering cloud repatriation, organizations should take a hard look at the numbers to ensure that moving the workload is worthwhile. Public cloud services tend to get cheaper and more functional over time, so it may make sense to wait before repatriating the workload. Additionally, repatriation adds to management complexity, and may not be worth saving a few dollars on cloud costs.
If cloud repatriation is the best path forward, organizations should look at optimizing the workload using hybrid cloud and edge computing architectures. It’s also a good idea to keep workloads as portable as possible for future migration.
How Technologent Can Help
Technologent’s cloud experts can help you assess your applications and identify the best platform for each workload. In some cases, moving to a different public cloud can save costs and resolve performance and security issues. We can also architect and implement a private cloud to support rapidly growing workloads. Let’s sit down and discuss the various options.