Away from the clouds: Why companies are coming around to cloud repatriation

Technology is ever evolving, bringing new opportunities and presenting new challenges. In order to capitalise on and overcome same, cloud remains front of mind for many organisations, and there has been a persistent narrative that hyperscale public cloud adoption is the only way forward. However, this is not necessarily true.

Using cloud technology or infrastructure is not a one-size-fits-all approach, with different organisations and industries having unique requirements and specific objectives. In certain cases, cloud repatriation – the migration back to privately owned infrastructure – is a significantly more cost-effective way to run production IT workloads.

The bottom line is the bottom line

Large public cloud providers have a by-design complexity to their pricing, which organisations need to consider. While cloud adoption has low upfront costs and so is often preferable for startups, as the company grows, it can become unwieldy and expensive, particularly in busy production environments.

Some companies, like 37 Signals, have significantly reduced costs by switching back to self-owned infrastructure. Meanwhile, other organisations such as Ahrefs say they have made significant savings by pulling back from public cloud adoption in the first place. Either way, there is arguably a cost-driven shift back to owned infrastructure as the fog begins to clear on the realities of cloud adoption versus the bottom line.

Different strokes for different folks

Nuances on the subject of the cloud have been lost. The overarching industry message for over a decade has been that CIOs and CTOs need to be delivering cloud-first or cloud-only strategies. With the rate of technological change, it’s imperative that companies need to adapt and evolve to gain an advantage in increasingly competitive environments. While they must be open to change, due diligence and a total understanding of the costs, risks, and deliverable organisational benefits is equally important.

It’s crucial for IT decision-makers to understand what will work for their businesses – an all-in cloud strategy might not be the best fit for delivering benefits. That’s not to say that companies should reject cloud altogether. Hybrid infrastructure – a mix of on-premise, private cloud, or data centre colocation – is often the optimum route for organisations.

Reaping the repatriation rewards

So, what are the rewards for those who take the leap down from the cloud? Reduced costs are a major factor. Cloud-based strategies can often result in ‘bill shock’, particularly for enterprises, as cloud costs are nearly impossible to accurately forecast.

Cloud repatriation can also enable better control of data. In turn, this allows for increased compliance with internal or external policies which is especially crucial for companies working with sensitive information, such as those in the financial or healthcare sectors.

Essentially, cloud can be great – but usually for certain workloads, business types or specific objectives. Undoubtedly there are many business benefits, but it’s important for organisations to first assess their requirements and identify what it is they want to achieve through cloud adoption.

As with anything, and especially when it comes to technology, companies need to develop a thorough strategy and do the groundwork to select the right cloud infrastructure and a provider that will work for them, rather than simply following the crowd.

It can be difficult when organisations feel like they’re being left behind in terms of technological advancements. However, cloud repatriation can enable organisations to regain control and navigate an increasingly complex landscape. While it takes courage to go against the grain, this can make better business sense and help organisations to maximise the value of their investment.

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