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6 Factors Driving the Cloud Repatriation Trend in 2024

By Austin Mitchell  |  June 6, 2024

Find out why business leaders are moving IT infrastructure back into on-premises solutions. 

Cloud repatriation — also known as reverse cloud migration — is becoming more common as organizations face obstacles in their cloud infrastructure strategy. Organizations are increasingly moving data, applications, and workloads from public cloud environments back to on-premises or local private cloud infrastructure. 

This trend is earning attention among IT leaders in many industries because it might indicate a peak of enthusiasm for public cloud vendors. According to Gitnux, nine out of ten companies already use public cloud infrastructure.  

 At the same time, cloud spending has grown six times faster than IT spending since 2010. The cloud repatriation trend suggests that this impressive momentum may fizzle out as organizations take a more critical approach to cloud adoption. 

Why are organizations moving away from the cloud? 

Cloud repatriation is becoming a viable strategy for organizations with overextended cloud infrastructure deployments. Some of the factors influencing this trend are the consequences of decisions made years ago, while others are new: 

1. Cost Savings 

Hyperscale cloud deployments often lead to surprisingly high prices, leading to “bill shock” among stakeholders. Organizations that adopted aggressive cloud deployment policies in the past may find themselves overpaying for cloud configurations that don’t make economic sense. 

In these cases, reverse cloud migration generates significant value. However, it is not unlocking new value due to some new, previously unknown feature of on-premises storage. It is unlocking value by eliminating unnecessary waste that was, until recently, considered a simple cost of doing business in the cloud. 

Another aspect of cloud repatriation cost savings concerns the types of on-premises and local private cloud hardware currently available. In many cases, organizations now have access to equipment that can meet their needs in ways that was not possible several years ago. 

2. Inefficient initial deployments drag down cost benefits 

Some organizations pursuing cloud repatriation are addressing the consequences of poor cloud migration initiatives attempted in the past. This is especially true of organizations that tried to simplify the migration by pursuing the “lift and shift” strategy. 

 The lift and shift strategy involves moving on-premises legacy applications directly to the cloud without making too many changes to the underlying software. This enables the organization to complete cloud migration in a relatively short time frame. 

 However, it this strategy comes with significant ongoing costs. Applications that are not refactored to become cloud-native cannot use cloud resources efficiently. Over time, they end up costing much more than the application’s on-premises version would have, while suffering from performance bottlenecks and scalability issues. 

3. Constant pricing and feature changes 

Public cloud environments require system administrators to constantly pay attention to announcements, updates, and feature changes. They also require executives and stakeholders to keep a close eye on pricing changes. 

 Both changes happen frequently and often leave organizations unprepared for their consequences.  

  • For systems administrators, staying up-to-date on cloud infrastructure changes often means prioritizing support operations to retool applications that no longer work properly due to the update. 
  • For stakeholders, pricing changes can significantly impact the viability and economy of the cloud workflow. However, it’s not always clear exactly how much a new pricing update will end up costing the organization until the moment the next bill arrives. 

4. Cloud bloat risks 

Cloud bloat is one of the consequences of years of cloud enthusiasm. Organizations aggressively pursuing cloud migration strategies may host applications on the cloud despite better and more efficient alternatives being available. 

This is especially true when non-IT business units take cloud infrastructure for granted. For example, if the sales or accounting team sets up a process for ingesting hundreds of files per day but never configures a rule for deleting them, those storage costs will add up over time. 

A single scenario like this might only incur several thousands of dollars in monthly costs. For a large enterprise, this is an easy cost to overlook — but when multiplied over many departments and several years, these costs add up. 

5. Unsustainable cloud infrastructure strategy 

Many organizations have pursued cloud migration without first establishing a clear idea of what public cloud infrastructure should achieve. Unclear expectations easily lead to a cloud infrastructure strategy that is not sustainable. 

There is clear business value in putting the right workload in the right environment. IT leaders who know which processes should be hosted on public cloud infrastructure and why are more likely to have highly efficient cloud deployments that don’t require repatriation at all. 

 On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are organizations pursuing cloud migration in an improvised, ad-hoc manner. This is an unsustainable strategy that will eventually lead to some workloads being migrated back into an on-premises solution.  

6. Vendor lock-in risks 

Many cloud-skeptic IT leaders and technical experts have expressed doubts about the interests of major cloud providers. It’s true that cloud-centric workloads can offer significant scalability and cost advantages to growing organizations, but they can also stifle growth. 

 When an organization gives all its data and operations to another company, it assumes significant risk. One of the most overlooked risks of entrusting data and operations to a major cloud provider is being unable to easily withdraw that data later. 

 This situation means that customers may have few lessoptions when public cloud providers decide to increase their fees. Many IT executives and leaders are now coming to terms with this reality and choosing to implement on-premises or private cloud solutions that mitigate the risk of vendor lock-in. 

Your data is your most valuable asset — secure it against disruption 

Business leaders have to assess the security and continuity risks associated with cloud migration and repatriation. These are major initiatives that can have a profound impact on your organization’s security posture and resilience. 

 Not all cloud-hosted applications and technologies require you to hand over your data to a third-party. Lumifi’s managed detection and response services provide scalable, cloud-native security to organizations without compromising data stewardship and governance. 

 With Lumifi, your data remains your own. Our specialists teach customers how to disconnect themselves from any service — including ours — on the very first day. Protect your organization from cybersecurity threats, disruption, and vendor lock-in with our help. 

By Austin Mitchell
Austin Mitchell is a cybersecurity expert with an extensive background in SIEM technology, XDR solutions, and incident response best practices. He specializes in turning in-depth product knowledge into actionable content for IT leaders, non-technical decision-makers, and everyone in between. Austin’s work has been published by major security leaders like Exabeam, AlgoSec, and others.
Cloud Repatriation

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