Public cloud repatriation is the process of moving applications or data from a public cloud provider to a private cloud or on-premises infrastructure. It is also sometimes called reverse cloud migration or cloud exit. Public cloud repatriation trends have been observed in recent years, as some organisations have realised that the public cloud is not always the best fit for their needs.
Why do organisations repatriate from the public cloud?
There are several reasons why organisations may choose to repatriate from the public cloud, such as:
- Cost: While the public cloud offers a pay-as-you-go model that can reduce upfront capital expenses, it can also incur higher operational costs over time, especially for predictable and steady workloads. Some organisations may find that they can achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by running their applications on private clouds or on-premises servers, where they have more control over resource utilisation and optimisation.
- Performance: The public cloud can offer high scalability and elasticity, but it can also introduce latency and variability in network performance, depending on the location and availability of the cloud servers. Some applications, such as real-time analytics, gaming, or streaming, may require consistent and low-latency performance. These applications may benefit from running on private clouds or on-premises servers, leveraging dedicated and optimised hardware and network resources.
- Security: The public cloud can offer high levels of security and compliance, but it also requires organisations to share responsibility with the cloud provider for protecting their data and applications. Some organisations may have strict security or regulatory requirements that limit their ability to use the public cloud, such as data sovereignty, privacy, or industry-specific standards. These organisations may prefer to run their applications on private clouds or on-premises servers, with more control and visibility over their security posture and policies.
- Flexibility: The public cloud can offer a wide range of services and features, but it can also impose some limitations and lock-in effects on the users. Some organisations may have specific or custom requirements not met by the public cloud offerings, such as legacy applications, proprietary software, or specialised hardware. These organisations may opt for running their applications on private clouds or on-premises servers, where they have more flexibility and choice over their technology stack and architecture.
Cloud-smart companies take full advantage of multiple clouds and resources in their own data centres to improve resiliency and deliver better experiences and business outcomes.
What are the benefits and challenges of public cloud repatriation?
Public cloud repatriation can offer several benefits to organisations, such as:
- Cost savings: By repatriating from the public cloud, organisations can reduce operational expenses and optimise resource utilisation. They can also avoid vendor lock-in and leverage existing investments in their private clouds or on-premises infrastructure.
- Performance improvement: By repatriating from the public cloud, organisations can improve their application performance and user experience. They can also reduce latency and network dependency issues and ensure consistent and reliable service delivery.
- Security enhancement: By repatriating from the public cloud, organisations can enhance their security and compliance posture. They can also gain more control and visibility over their data and applications and mitigate potential risks of data breaches or cyberattacks.
- Flexibility increase: By repatriating from the public cloud, organisations can increase their flexibility and agility. They can also customise their technology stack and architecture to suit their specific needs and preferences.
However, public cloud repatriation also comes with some challenges, such as:
- Complexity: Repatriating from the public cloud can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires careful planning and execution. Organisations need to assess their current and future needs, evaluate their options, design their target environment, migrate their data and applications, test their functionality and performance, and monitor their results.
- Skills gap: Repatriating from the public cloud can require specialised skills and expertise that may not be readily available in-house. Organisations need to train or hire staff who can manage and maintain their private clouds or on-premises infrastructure, as well as handle the migration process.
- Maintenance burden: Repatriating from the public cloud can increase the maintenance burden on the organisation. Organisations need to ensure that their private clouds or on-premises infrastructure are up-to-date, secure, reliable, scalable, and efficient.
How to decide whether to repatriate from the public cloud?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether an organisation should repatriate from the public cloud. It depends on various factors, such as:
- Business objectives: Organisations need to align their IT strategy with their business goals and priorities. They need to consider what value they expect to gain from using the public cloud versus using private clouds or on-premises infrastructure.
- Workload characteristics: Organisations need to analyse their workload requirements and characteristics. They need to consider factors such as performance, scalability, availability, security, compliance, cost, complexity, integration, customisation, etc.
- Cloud maturity: Organisations need to assess their cloud maturity and readiness. They need to consider factors such as cloud skills, cloud governance, cloud culture, cloud adoption, cloud optimisation, etc.
Based on these factors, organisations can decide whether to repatriate from the public cloud, partially or fully, or to stay on the public cloud, or to adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud approach that combines the best of both worlds.
Public cloud repatriation is a trend that reflects the evolving needs and preferences of organisations in the cloud era. It is not a reversal or rejection of the public cloud, but rather a recognition and realisation of its strengths and limitations. By repatriating from the public cloud, organisations can achieve greater cost savings, performance improvement, security enhancement, and flexibility increase. However, they also need to overcome the challenges of complexity, skills gap, and maintenance burden. Ultimately, the decision to repatriate from the public cloud depends on the specific context and goals of each organisation.