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Myth-Busting Cloud Repatriation: The Misunderstood Trend in Cloud Computing

The term “cloud repatriation” is appearing more often as organizations redefine their strategic approach. Enterprises have varying degrees of drive and motivation for cloud repatriation, unique challenges of moving to a private cloud, and questions about how they can best solve these challenges.

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Originally Published by DATAVERSITY

The term “cloud repatriation” is appearing more often as organizations redefine their strategic approach to where they locate their apps and workloads. The storage location depends on each organization’s specific cloud goals, needs, and requirements. This “trend,” however, is nothing new, and can have profound business impacts for organizations. Cloud repatriation refers to migrating workloads from a public cloud environment back to a private cloud environment, but this process is often misunderstood as moving back to on-premise infrastructure.

Although this reemerging business practice gets a bad rep, many businesses still believe that public clouds are the best solution for all their cloud needs. In many cases, though, public clouds are no longer the best solution for businesses. Enterprises have varying degrees of drive and motivation for cloud repatriation, unique challenges of moving to a private cloud, and questions about how they can best solve these challenges.

Public Clouds Are No Longer the Optimal Solution for Modern Businesses

Public clouds are still a popular choice for organizations due to their scalability, flexibility, and ease of use. However, businesses are realizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to cloud deployment. In fact, some workloads or applications, like real-time analytics or machine learning that require high performance or low latency, may be better suited for private cloud environments or specialized providers. Additionally, some businesses may want to repatriate workloads from public clouds to better manage costs and improve security.

According to a 2021 survey by 451 Research, 48% of IT decision-makers migrated workloads from top-tier providers to other locations, but not everything is being repatriated. This shows that businesses are becoming more selective in their cloud deployment strategy, opting for a mix of private and public cloud solutions. Moreover, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Research, organizations that moved to private cloud saw a 28% reduction in their IT infrastructure costs, an indication that private clouds can be a more cost-effective solution for some organizations than public clouds.

Cost Optimization and Security Drive Cloud Repatriation

The two main reasons for cloud repatriation are cost optimization and security. Some organizations may have migrated workloads to public clouds without fully understanding the costs involved and are now looking to go private to better manage costs and optimize their infrastructure. According to the same Forrester Research survey, cost and budget constraints were cited by 44% of respondents as a top challenge when migrating to the private cloud.

Repatriating to a private cloud environment can help organizations better manage costs by reducing their reliance on public cloud providers and allowing them to optimize their infrastructure. Highly regulated industries like finance or healthcare have security requirements that are better met by a private cloud environment. Security and compliance concerns are a top challenge when migrating to the private cloud. However, private clouds ultimately offer more control over security and compliance, enabling organizations to better meet their regulatory requirements.

Complexities and Solutions: Moving Workloads to a Private Cloud Environment

Migrating workloads back to a private cloud is very technically complex, as it often requires moving large amounts of data and complex applications between different systems and environments. The process can be time-consuming and disruptive, requiring careful planning and coordination across different teams and departments. According to a survey conducted by Forrester Research in 2020, the top challenges that organizations face when migrating to the private cloud are:

  • Complexity of legacy applications and infrastructure
  • Lack of internal skills and expertise
  • Difficulty integrating with existing systems
  • Security and compliance concerns
  • Cost and budget constraints

However, companies’ hands aren’t tied to public clouds. Repatriating cloud services can be easily accomplished through bespoke cloud solutions and managed hosting on private clouds; companies want private clouds that are easy to deploy and manage, with the ability to scale up and down with changing demand while reducing complexity without compromising on security.

Private Cloud Adoption: Achieving Cost Savings and Security Benefits with Repatriation

Cloud repatriation is not about abandoning public clouds or returning to on-premise infrastructure, but rather about strategically locating workloads and applications to optimize costs and security. Although there are challenges to migrating workloads back to a private cloud environment, such as the complexity of legacy applications and infrastructure, lack of internal skills and expertise, difficulty integrating with existing systems, security and compliance concerns, and cost and budget constraints, these can be overcome with careful planning and collaboration with service providers and vendors.

By taking a thorough approach and carefully analyzing their current workloads and infrastructure, businesses can achieve their goal of cost savings and security benefits with successful repatriation. As cloud technology evolves and businesses’ needs change, it is important to stay flexible and adaptable in cloud deployment strategies, including considering repatriation when it makes sense.

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