Cloud repatriation is gaining popularity among CIOs and CTOs to achieve higher performance, control and cost efficiency as their projects evolve and scale. It is a valuable tool to relocate workloads when the cost-benefit ratio is not as expected. It generally involves migrating to a dedicated solution that works best for running the business workloads.
What is cloud repatriation?
Cloud repatriation, also known as “uncloud”, consists of moving workloads and applications from hyperscale public clouds to other IT solutions — hosted private cloud environments, colocation facilities, dedicated servers or even smaller public cloud environments. Therefore, it is not about taking workloads back to the company’s infrastructure, but about relocating them to a more suitable one.
Some of the reasons behind cloud repatriation are:
- Increasing control over costs.
- Optimizing performance.
- Increasing overall visibility and control.
- Addressing data governance and protection issues.
Taking some workloads away from hyperscale public clouds does not necessarily imply dissatisfaction, but the need to relocate certain workloads to a more efficient environment.
While public cloud costs are low in the early stages, they can grow uncontrollably as companies scale and grow. So, tracking cloud spend not only is vital, but it also serves as a performance metric.
Planning for cloud repatriation
Planning is indispensable for cloud repatriation, as for any other business-critical decision. Organizations need to answer to questions such as:
- Which environment they are moving their workloads to.
- Which workloads are to be relocated.
- How to manage and reduce complexity in case of opting for a hybrid or multicloud approach.
Moreover, it is recommended to consider the potential for repatriation early on. It is important to invest in an architecture that makes it easy to migrate workloads between IT solutions; not only to avoid vendor lock-in, but to leverage the most suitable environment at each stage of the business lifecycle.
Repatriating workloads from the public cloud
The public cloud is often chosen at early stages as a way to accelerate innovation with increased agility. However, private cloud and other dedicated solutions come into play when businesses wish to increase performance, cost predictability and control.
As businesses mature, CTOs look into dedicated and specialized IT solutions to achieve predictable high performance, and optimize the cost of revenue. An infrastructure of exclusive use allows them to optimize cloud spend by avoiding overprovisioning and increasing cost visibility. Besides, in combination with a completely redundant, low-latency network storage, they can achieve constant high performance, without noisy neighbors, and better data availability.
Organizations should know the performance they can expect from their IT environment at any time.
Together with transparent pricing, companies should have full access to the technical details of the infrastructure they are relying on in order to optimize performance and minimize risks.
Control over costs
Cost escalation is one of the main reasons why companies repatriate workloads and applications to dedicated servers and private cloud environments. Operational costs in hyperscale cloud services scale along with cloud consumption. This can make companies lose control over their IT budget, negatively affecting profits as well.
So, in addition to looking for cloud cost management tools to optimize the public cloud budget, companies are also looking towards repatriation to better distribute their workloads and IT systems.
From our experience, while public cloud can be useful in the early stages of a project, private cloud environments offer a better cost-performance ratio in most cases, as the majority of workloads are predictable.
There are many alternatives to hyperscale public cloud services that allow migrating from on-premise to cloud, leveraging the benefits of an OPEX model. For example, private cloud environments and bare-metal servers offer higher cost-efficiency and predictability over time, increasing control both over costs and performance.
Regulatory compliance and security
Data protection and governance has become a priority in the digital economy. Therefore, organizations are increasingly focusing on adopting strict privacy and security measures. Not only for regulatory compliance, but also for business continuity reasons.
Another concern behind public cloud repatriation is data location. Businesses must comply with security and privacy regulations, and best practices within the location they operate in. That is why, for instance, opting for cloud providers that host their services in European data centers makes it easier for companies to comply with the EU’s regulatory framework.
Moving forward a hybrid or multicloud approach
When repatriating workloads, many organizations opt for a hybrid or multicloud approach. In such cases, it is important to reduce complexity to leverage the benefits and avoid issues. A multicloud approach offers an additional level of agility, especially for big and complex projects, but it demands a greater amount of management.
Nevertheless, if properly managed, a hybrid approach increases resilience in case of a major outage, as companies rely on diverse cloud providers. Together with a strong Disaster Recovery and backups strategy, it also improves reliability and data availability, limiting the impact of a downtime due to a failure or any other incident.
To sum up, cloud repatriation and mobility between environments will probably become a standard practice to optimize performance and costs over time. As projects evolve and IT teams become familiar with the cloud lifecycle, it is easier for them to determine which is the best deployment model for each workload, at each stage.