Cloud repatriation is a growing trend, but there’s a big question attached: when do you repatriate? Since it's a large scale project which requires a complete systems migration and potential disruption to your business critical operations, repatriating off the cloud can be daunting project, so it can be difficult to look at with objective eyes. But this is why it’s essential to perform regular reviews of your public cloud to ensure you don’t stick with your current public cloud for too long and end up paying too much or struggling with your cloud's performance while you start to plan a late repatriation.
Review element 1: Evolving workloads
One of the fantastic things about public cloud is its flexibility. You can start working on the public cloud with just a few clicks – and certainly without the lead time required to set up entirely new private infrastructure. While you’re there you can develop and test new products and services, learn what works and what doesn’t, and scale up as you grow.
But workloads evolve – and while the public cloud makes a great laboratory for all your inventions, it might not be the best way to get them out into the world. You can outgrow your cloud service in the same way your business might outgrow its premises. Sure, no one likes to move, but if you don’t move, how do you grow?
Repatriating workloads to private infrastructure gives you more control over everything, from the hardware you use to the security you put in place. Whether you choose private cloud or colocation, you can regain control over those decisions you previously handed over to your public cloud provider – putting you in position to drive your business forward in a way that suits the nature of your work.
Review element 2: Increasing costs
You can compare the cost of public cloud with the way your mobile phone bill works. If you enter a contract, it feels like you aren’t paying for the infrastructure that supports you, in this case your handset. But, of course, we know that the phone contract builds in the cost of the phone, and if you paid that rate long-term, you’d pay off the phone and then end up paying over the odds.
The same is true for public cloud. You enter into the contract feeling like you’ve saved money on private infrastructure, but in reality, that cost has been built in – and on that basis you will eventually grow to a stage where you have stopped saving money and started over-paying. The timing on this clearly depends on your usage, but it is something you should know so that you can plan your exit. Perform regular audits of your public cloud usage and review if there are cost-effective alternatives, this will help you determine when it’s worth staying and when it’s time to go.
How to review your public cloud usage
The ‘it’s easier to stay’ mentality can be difficult to shake off since it’s easy to focus on the short-term pain of moving workloads, rather than the potential for long-term gain. Think of your public cloud service like a pair of shoes with a limited life, rather than a marriage. Your IT needs to evolve to meet all your changing needs and objectives, not just in terms of scale but also cost, security and accessibility. The only way to ensure you keep an objective look at how your public cloud is supporting your business is with regular reviews that should be part of your business plan:
- Schedule reviews: Whether it’s every quarter, at the end of each big project or some other interval, identify a frequency that makes sense to your business and schedule a review of your public cloud as a task.
- Identify potential obstacles: Make a list of your business goals, for example: growth predictions, new industries to be working with, or new applications to be launched. Bear these in mind when reviewing to identify if your public cloud might fail to support these.
- Consider your alternatives: Looking at alternative IT platforms is an essential way of checking that you’ve got the best IT for your business, and will highlight when you outgrow your public cloud.
Some specific questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you need to pay a monthly subscription for the rest of time to host your archives, or could you accommodate these in private infrastructure where your costs are more within your control?
- Can you afford the wait times to access client data, or would this be better held on low-latency, directly-networked infrastructure?
- Are you happy to host private, personal data in the public cloud, or could you maintain better security protection in a private environment?
In all those situations, where once public cloud may have made sense, circumstances may have evolved to the point that private infrastructure becomes the better option. At that point, don’t stay with your current public cloud setup because it’s the easy option.
Repatriating with Hybrid IT
IT is constantly evolving and the realisation that you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket with public cloud is one of the key drivers of repatriation. Hybrid IT describes the use of a range of infrastructure options to meet your IT needs, including public cloud, private cloud and colocation.
Hybrid IT gives you the freedom to pick the best platform for each of your IT workloads, so you don’t have to leave public cloud totally behind if you could still use its flexibility, but you also don’t have to be totally reliant on it. Giving you all the performance, accessibility, scalability and cost-efficiency you need and none of the limitations that come with employing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy.