With cloud costs higher than expected, many businesses are looking for ways to bring expenses — and data — back under their control
You’ve done your research and realized that the public cloud isn’t the right decision for your business. Maybe you’ve determined that the cost of keeping your workloads in the cloud is too high, but you remain hesitant that cloud repatriation is right for you.
You’re not alone.
The public cloud is a powerful tool for the right workloads — but it’s not the right choice for all of them, and the costs can be tremendous, especially when compared to running the same workloads on premises. However, a level of groupthink often influences decisions when it comes to staying in the cloud, where businesses decide to keep paying these high costs just because every other company around them is.
But here’s the thing: if you’re already researching cloud repatriation, your intuition tells you it’s the right move. And by doing that research, you’ve already put in the work it would take to go through the process.
Plus, I guarantee that more businesses than you think are having these same internal conversations about shifting from the public cloud back to on premises to save money. In fact, some surveys show that up to 80% of companies are repatriating at least some of their data back to on premises infrastructure each year.
Cloud repatriation isn’t a heavy lift, so why wait? Here, we’ll cover the basics of cloud repatriation, some reasons why CTOs hesitate to make the move, and why repatriation is a far simpler decision than most make it out to be. That way, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make the right decision for your organization’s bottom line.
What Is Cloud Repatriation?
Cloud repatriation is the process of shifting applications from public cloud environments back to on premises infrastructure. It’s essentially a cloud migration in reverse — you’re taking the workloads you previously moved to the cloud and bringing them back into your complete control.
Why Do Organizations Seek Out Cloud Repatriation?
There are several reasons why organizations pursue a cloud repatriation. For many, it comes from a realization that migrating their workloads to the cloud has failed to achieve any of the benefits cloud providers promised. Typically, the reasons behind cloud repatriation can be organized into three categories:
So Why Are Businesses Investigating Cloud Repatriation Now?
The public cloud has been rising in popularity for around ten years now, and businesses have been steadily migrating to it over that period. This steady shift has allowed public cloud platforms like AWS and Google Cloud to become massive and hone in on profiting from this migration. They’ve also evolved their messaging to persuade organizations to make the leap, hyping up the benefits of leaving on premises infrastructure behind.
Then, the COVID pandemic hit at the beginning of 2020 and supercharged this migration process into overdrive.
IT departments couldn’t come to work, visit their data centers, or manage the resources of their now-remote workforce without a drastic change in infrastructure. There was no time for due diligence, so IT departments bought compute power in the public cloud and got their operations up and running quickly. According to a survey conducted by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, 90% of respondents said cloud usage was higher than initially planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who could quickly navigate this uncharted territory saw improved efficiency during those uncertain times. Now that the dust has settled and CTOs have time to dig into the numbers, many realize just how expensive those decisions have become. They may have been the right decisions at the time, but are they still the right decisions today? For a lot of businesses, the answer is “no.”
Why Are People Hesitant to Begin Cloud Repatriation?
Even realizing that the public cloud isn’t the right choice for their business, many haven’t decided to pull the trigger yet to start repatriation. There are a few reasons for this.
For one, the “deep recession” analysts have predicted for a few years hasn’t fully materialized. While some belt-tightening has happened throughout the economy, IT departments haven’t been significantly pushed to cut costs. And if there are more pressing issues to take care of, exploring repatriation options decreases in priority. So many are content with sticking with what they have until they’re backed into a corner.
Much of the hesitancy comes down to the mindset surrounding repatriation, whether that’s a feeling that repatriation is a complex process, that spending money on non-cloud infrastructure is a waste, or from rationalizing prior mistakes. Both come from a “sunk cost fallacy” mindset, where a lot of time, money, and effort has already been spent moving infrastructure to the cloud. Plus, repatriation isn’t always cheap: many cloud providers charge for egress — for both the amount of data being transferred out of the cloud as well as the speed — and many organizations don’t factor this cost into their initial migration.
A combination of these factors ultimately leads to a hesitancy to repatriate, even if doing so would be in the company’s best interest over the long term.
Here’s Why You Should Start Cloud Repatriation Anyway
Many IT professionals psych themselves out about the challenges of repatriating to on premises infrastructure and make it seem more complicated than it really is. Here’s the thing: Cloud repatriation is not a difficult process, and you already have the resources to get it done.
For one, there’s a good chance you’ve already got the on premises hardware needed to repatriate, whether it’s leftover from cloud migration or you’re still using it in day-to-day operations. When deciding whether it’s time to repatriate, it’s crucial to evaluate your current inventory to determine whether it matches the workloads you’re currently operating in the cloud.
Once you’ve completed this investigation, you’ll fully understand the workloads running in the cloud and how much space they take up. Using this information, you know what equipment your data center requires. You’ll also likely have direct proof that running those workloads on premises is cheaper since you’ll have complete control over costs.
Then, it’s time to repatriate. It’s not a heavy lift; you’ve already moved data into the cloud, and you know how to get it out. Ensure that you’re setting up your on premises hardware with the same configurations as your workloads on the cloud, and understand that it will cost some money to get your data out of the cloud due to egress fees. But once your data is out, you’re free to deactivate your cloud operations and reduce spending in the long term.
Honestly, the most challenging part of repatriation is realizing that migration wasn’t the right choice in the first place and choosing to move operations back to on premises. Think of it like ripping off a bandage — the thought of doing it hurts more than the reality of doing it. But once you’ve decided to repatriate, you can finally take full control of your costs and have more time to investigate your options should another solution come along.
To reiterate: Cloud repatriation is not a heavy lift, and once the dust has settled, you’ll have more control over your data, lower operational costs, and better performance.
Let the Experts at Roundstone Guide Your Cloud Repatriation Efforts
The best cloud repatriation is the one you don’t have to do. But getting to that point means doing your homework upfront. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Roundstone Solutions has helped organizations of all sizes in the private and public sector, from scrappy startups to global enterprises, optimize and modernize their IT infrastructure to fit their exacting needs. Want to learn more? Get in touch today.
Tim Joyce, Founder, Roundstone Solutions