For some enterprises, some cloudified operations may need to be diverted to edge computing, and/or repatriated to on-premises infrastructure. Here’s why…

Cloud computing has, no doubt, created powerful value propositions for global enterprises, offering strong scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiencies to future-facing organizations.

However, despite its numerous benefits, certain difficult-to-ignore challenges have also emerged along the way. This has prompted many companies to explore cloud repatriation strategies to optimize their business operations. What is cloud repatriation, and is it right for your organization’s immediate needs?

Simply put, cloud repatriation is the process of moving data and applications from a public cloud provider back to an organization’s on-premises data center, private cloud, or appointed hosting service provider. However, this is not a simple process. Also, given that the ultimate objective is to identify and implement the most optimized architecture that effectively supports business needs and objectives, it just may work better for some businesses, in some instances.

Repatriation as an optimization strategy

For many enterprises, the bevy of challenges associated with leveraging public cloud may outpace their perceived benefits, such as in the following scenarios:

    • Cost control: Cloud services can be expensive if not managed efficiently. Many enterprises identify the management of cloud expenses as their primary challenge because for them, managing cloud costs effectively becomes complicated due to factors such as storage costs; underutilized resource costs due to infrastructure sprawls; regulatory compliance; and data transfer expenses, etc.
    • Cloud security problems such as misconfigured settings and misconceptions are now well-known. In some cases, moving data or applications back to on-premises infrastructure could actually reinstate control over security infrastructure. This control extends to areas such as network configurations, access controls, encryption methods, and physical security measures.
    • Limited know-how: Enterprises that continually grapple with the issue of insufficient resources and cloud management expertise can find cloud computing a challenge, akin to finding trying to navigate in an unfamiliar terrain without a map or local guide.
    • Vendor lock-in periods: Enterprises that are overly dependent on a single cloud provider for their infrastructure, services, or applications may find it difficult to move their data and applications to a cloud of their choice.
    • Data sovereignty issues: In the modern corporate landscape, safeguarding data, adhering to the data sovereignty regulations, and mitigating leakage risks are critical. A remote cloud environment may undermine data sovereignty and may not be in compliance with local data protection regulations. Enterprises also may lack control over data storage and processing across different jurisdictions.
    • Latency and performance: For use-cases where the Cloud cannot offer low latency and high performance at acceptable cost, they may consider edge computing and near-edge or on-premises edge locations. Repatriating from the cloud to these alternatives may also offer minimized latency, and on-site data processing capabilities for real-time applications.

When repatriation makes sense

Cloud optimization aims to maximize efficiency and cost-effectiveness in using cloud computing resources. Therefore, when optimization a cloud infrastructure via repatriation can manifest in different forms such as multi-tenanted private cloud, hosted private cloud, and alternative deployment models. 

According to some studies, some enterprises like the idea of running existing as well as modern born-in-the-cloud workloads in a private cloud environment versus running them on public cloud. Some vendors offer “unified management” platforms that offer observability, management, and provisioning capabilities that enable organizations to access the same user experience as public clouds within their dedicated infrastructure.

Cloud repatriation trends
Srinivasan CR, Chief Digital Officer, Tata Communications

Nevertheless, modern enterprises may want to keep certain workloads on-premises while migrating others to the Cloud without compromising their data. This allows them to harness the advantages of both environments. Take note that if any cloud repatriation is involved, it is a complex process that requires some re-architecting of the network infrastructure and revisiting the existing security solutions architecture.

Hence, enterprises without the right cloud management talent may need to consult external partners to navigate the cloud optimization maze.