What is cloud repatriation?

In short, cloud repatriation is the process of migrating applications from public clouds back to your own infrastructure. Such infrastructure can either be located on-premises or hosted by a data center provider. It can be a private cloud, a simple virtualization environment or even legacy IT infrastructure. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is breaking the dependence on the public cloud provider. And there are many reasons to start looking into it.

Challenges with public clouds

The main advantages of public cloud infrastructure are an immediate time to market and theoretically infinite resources. At the end of the day, all you need to do is to attach your credit card to the cloud billing system, and you can start consuming cloud services right away. However, many organizations that initially embraced public clouds have faced several issues in the long term, such as increasing costs.

High cost

If the amount of your last bill from your public cloud provider has recently surprised you, you are definitely not alone. The high cost associated with public cloud infrastructure usage is one of the most widely cited issues by organizations that have used public clouds for a while. This results from a lack of proper planning, which usually leads to a euphoric migration of all workloads and data to public clouds. Such ill-considered actions quickly result in a lack of control over the budget and the need for a reverse migration (or repatriation) as a part of adopting the cloud optimization strategy.

Data sovereignty

Although the high cost is a key factor driving cloud repatriation, data sovereignty remains a valid concern. Again, an enthusiastic migration of “everything” to public clouds usually follows with a moment of reflection. Should all that confidential data really be stored in public clouds? Furthermore, various compliance regulations and contractual obligations often enforce where the data can be stored. As a result, organizations that are only using public clouds often find themselves in an uncomfortable situation when they need to implement those regulations. And this enforces a need for cloud repatriation.

Performance and resilience

Last but not least, performance and resilience play an important role too. In some parts of the world, migrating applications to public clouds might lead to performance degradation. This is due to low bandwidth and high latency. In such regions, local cloud infrastructure (either public or private) just performs better. Finally, contrary to what people usually think, public cloud outages are not uncommon. Obviously, hyperscalers provide a handful of tools for increasing resilience, such as different regions and availability zones, but those require further modernization of applications which usually get migrated to the cloud in a “lift and shift” fashion.

Cloud repatriation vs cloud migration vs cloud optimization

When public clouds first became available, a lot of companies embraced them, hoping to fully outsource their data center operations. However, all the aforementioned challenges have later forced them to consider a reverse migration. Even though it sounds like a ping-pong game, cloud repatriation might actually be part of a broader IT strategy and an opportunity to solve the mistakes from the past.

Is cloud repatriation the opposite of cloud migration?

Not necessarily. While cloud migration is usually seen as a process of moving applications from legacy IT infrastructure to the cloud, cloud repatriation does not need to follow a reverse path. It might actually be a chance to modernize your organization’s IT estate. For example, you can take this opportunity to build a private cloud and repatriate applications over there. In essence, cloud migration is focused more on modernizing business applications, with the ultimate goal of making them cloud-native in the long term. In turn, cloud migration is all about optimizing the underlying infrastructure for those applications.

How does cloud repatriation relate to cloud optimization?

At this point, it should be clear then that cloud repatriation is usually a part of a broader cloud optimization strategy. Cloud optimization is something that more and more organizations have started exploring in search of cost reduction, performance improvement and compliance assurance. Adopting cloud optimization best practices might require moving some applications back on their own infrastructure. And this process, as we already know, is cloud repatriation.

Alternatives to public cloud infrastructure

While cloud repatriation is all about moving applications away from public clouds, it doesn’t immediately remove the need for them. In fact, some workloads will always be better suited for public clouds. As a result, it is essential to always take a look at the broader picture and try to find the right balance. This is where hybrid multi-cloud architecture comes into play, at Brand Global our Secure Private cloud offers the benefits of Public cloud with all of the requirements and compliance of Private Cloud.

Use hybrid multi-cloud architecture

Hybrid multi-cloud architecture leverages both public and private cloud infrastructure at the same time, effectively aggregating their advantages. In this architecture, applications always run where it makes the most sense from economic, compliance and performance standpoints. This can mean either public or private cloud, depending on numerous factors. Those include the duration, scale, confidentiality and purpose of workloads. If the preferred location turns out to be a private cloud, organizations can still use highly scalable public cloud resources whenever absolutely needed. Common cases include bursting workloads during heavy load periods or running sporadic compute-intensive operations, such as data analytics.

Build a cost-effective enterprise-grade private cloud

An indispensable element of hybrid multi-cloud architecture is the private cloud. This infrastructure is exclusively available to a single organization or entity, regardless of where it’s located and who operates it. Private clouds prove to be more cost-effective when running applications in the long term and on a large scale. At the same time, they provide the required level of performance. Due to their private nature, they can also help to meet local compliance requirements and internal policies. At the same time, they resemble public clouds’ behavior, meaning that cloud repatriation does not necessarily need to mean “unclouding”.