What is cloud repatriation? An expert opinion

Johannesburg, 22 Feb 2023

Stepping out of the public cloud stormy weather

Public cloud repatriation appears already to be a bit of a buzzword for 2022/2023, with numerous articles citing the fact that organisations are migrating from public cloud. So, what is it and should companies that are setting out on their cloud journey be concerned?

What is public cloud repatriation?

Cloud repatriation is the reversal of your cloud migration journey and moving applications back to an on-premises infrastructure, private cloud or even hybrid cloud deployment models.

Why the trend?

Firstly, cloud repatriation is not a new trend, considering that organisations were starting to repatriate their applications back to private cloud/on-premises solutions as early as 2018. In 2018, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Cloud and Adoption survey identified that up to 80% of customers were looking into repatriating applications from public cloud hosted offerings to private cloud and on-premises infrastructure solutions.

The driving factors underlying this movement fall into four main areas: 

  • Cost: High cloud bills, which are difficult to interpret/manage and forecast for.
  • Performance: Data transfers to and from cloud are variable and depend on available bandwidth and the cloud provider's overall workload. If the cloud providers are inundated, performance is impacted.
  • Security: With some high-profile outages in 2021 (Disney+, Slack, Home Depot, WhatsApp, Peloton), the security concerns around public cloud continue to rear their head. As cloud service providers (CSPs) own the hardware, they can make changes at their discretion without consulting customers. Public cloud providers choose the method of authentication, authorisation and access control processes using the software of their preference. Customers have no control over which methods to use or the procedures that govern these policies.
  • Data control: On-premises data have clearly defined security perimeters and greater control over data, whereas on public cloud, many of the services use the same public cloud network. Without a robust SLA or contract with your cloud service providers, organisations may be losing the ‘right’ to their own data and legally empowering CSPs' data ownership.
  • Misconception: Many enterprise IT organisations adopt public cloud, assuming it will work just like an existing infrastructure and that it’s super easy and cheap. That can be true and false, depending on whether an organisation has done its homework.

Should we put the brakes on our cloud migration strategy?

Not at all, but organisations and application owners need to have the information available to make the decisions on whether or not migrating to cloud is the optimal solution for their application or business area.

What are CSPs doing about the trend?

Cost: CSPs are participating with organisations like the FinOps Foundation to drive greater clarity on their cloud cost billing and are creating new reporting and savings offerings to make their cloud billing more transparent.

Performance: Public cloud providers are now releasing solutions that are hosted in private and on-premises infrastructure environments, while still benefiting from the advantages of public cloud. CSPs are providing more services that help integrate on-premises/private infrastructure with the public cloud (AWS Snowball/Microsoft Purview/Azure Stack Hub).

Security: Public cloud security has always been a concern and comparing the security of public cloud a few years ago to now is like comparing cheese to an apple. Data is stored in multiple data centres with built-in redundancies. Cloud providers use military grade AES 256 data encryption for data at rest and in-transit. Investment by cloud providers in cloud security will continue to grow.

Data control: For data transfers, AWS has launched solutions like AWS Direct Connect Sitelink or the newly launched AWS Cloud WAN, which allows organisations to manage their own network connections, bypassing the AWS public network for those organisations wanting to increase the control they have over their networks.

Dedicated hosting environments like Azure Dedicated Host provides visibility and control over the server infrastructure running your Azure Virtual Machines.

Education and knowledge is key in any cloud migration journey, so cloud providers are providing migration guides to customers in order to help facilitate the best approach.

Cloud migrations

One of the biggest challenges with migrating to cloud is that organisations choose to do a lift and shift using existing specifications, without doing their homework on what the requirements are for the applications using the infrastructure.

Another consideration is whether or not a cloud service is available that meets the application hosting needs better than the existing infrastructure. Initially, there may be savings in a lift and shift approach due to cloud service provider incentives to adopt cloud, but these may quickly be eradicated, leading to the high cloud costs that are such a threat to successful cloud migrations.

Migrating to cloud still delivers many benefits of scale that were previously not available and these need to be considered prior to any decision being made.

How does MagicOrange help organisations?

MagicOrange offers a comprehensive view of public, private and on-premises infrastructure, enabling application owners to view their total cost of ownership across all infrastructure feeds.

With MagicOrange, we can show granular insights into every cost and volume that an application is consuming, along with its usage of key infrastructure. Application owners can identify if they may be tied into fixed infrastructure charges from their data centres, which they may still be committed to spending. If the costs of moving the application to cloud outweigh the benefits, then these applications can be ear-marked to remain on an existing infrastructure.

If an application can be migrated and there are new solutions offered in a public cloud setting that will enhance the performance/security of the application, while improving cost efficiencies, then those are the applications that need to be ear-marked for public cloud migration.

New applications can weigh up the benefits of cloud-native solutions versus on-premises solutions based on their initial requirements and an estimation of future needs, and then model these within the MagicOrange application.

Within MagicOrange, business units and application owners can track their cloud migration journey to ensure the investment in cloud reaps the benefits that they had initially identified and to immediately highlight any areas of concern that may require investigation.

Our FinOps qualified cloud practitioners and consultants can guide your organisation through its migration journey and assist in optimising your cloud expenditure.

MagicOrange is a general member of the FinOps Foundation and committed to assisting organisations through their cloud journey using the FinOps Framework:


Editorial contacts

Akhil Gajoo
Brand Manager (MagicOrange)