Repatriation after a cloud migration can be a complex conversation where businesses decide whether workloads are best suited for a public cloud, private cloud or on-premises data center. More businesses are leaning into the process to rearchitect messy migrations during the mass shift to remote work last year.
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of organizations required repatriation of applications for performance and/or cost, according to a survey of 350 IT professionals by Arlington Research, commissioned by Virtana. For 41% of respondents, businesses migrated applications to the public cloud that should've stayed on-premises.
Planning ahead, with strong understanding of where workloads are suited to run, businesses can avoid repatriation with savvy migration from the outset. Organizations considering repatriation after migration can weigh other options, such as optimization, before reorganizing workloads.
Repatriation is becoming increasingly common for four reasons, Amod Bavare, global cloud migration and modernization leader at Deloitte Consulting, told CIO Dive via email:
Cost savings projected by cloud providers goes unrealized
Applications require modernization to benefit from cloud-native capabilities, which can be expensive and time consuming
The internal IT team lacks readiness to support workloads in the cloud
Applications in the cloud increase data ingress cost and latency issues
"Repatriation has become a serious consideration for CIOs as they are unable to deliver the agility to the businesses that was promised by CSPs," Bavare said. "Instead, it has become an operations nightmare, not having proper governance and tools to support the workloads and keep them secure."
Operational issues drive decisions to repatriate. More than one-third (36%) IT professionals reported provisioning issues in the public cloud, according to the Virtana survey.
Still, public cloud remains a popular option as the automation, flexibility and provisioning model are here to stay, according to Randy Randhawa, SVP of engineering at Virtana.
"The on-prem infrastructure vendors should be held to the same level of expectation for quality and flexibility, such that the business can retain the operational efficiencies that attracted them to the public cloud," Randhawa said.
Considerations for migration to avoid repatriation
For IT leaders that want to avoid future repatriation, planning ahead and weighing options meticulously can help.
"IT leaders need to 'know before you go,'" Randhawa said.
Knowing critical parameters, organizational factors and business transformations necessary to cloud deployments can set IT teams up for success. Factors for consideration when migrating to the cloud include application dependency and coupling, cost mapping, data gravity, workload performance requirements, and training and reskilling for the team, according to Randhawa.
"Businesses cannot make decisions about on-prem versus public cloud applications in a silo; the customers of these applications don’t care where it's running, the underlying infrastructure or compliance restrictions," Randhawa said.
For CIOs, there aren't any shortcuts to doing the research around cloud migrations if they hope to avoid complications down the line.
A one-size-fits-all approach to cloud migration planning won't work, according to Bavare. "Plan your migration properly, make sure that your IT organization is ready for cloud operations, that you have the appropriate tools, governance, and cost model defined," Bavare said.