5 times it’s smart to pull apps back from the cloud

Even the cloud has its limits. In certain situations a traditional data center is the best place to host one or more applications.

A growing number of enterprises are pulling selected applications out of the cloud and returning them to their brick-and-mortar data centers. Cloud repatriation is gaining momentum as enterprises realize the cloud isn't always the best solution to IT cost, performance and other concerns.

Dave Cope, senior director of market development for Cisco's CloudCenter, believes that technology has evolved to the point where enterprises now have the unprecedented freedom to locate applications wherever maximum cost, performance and security benefits can be achieved. "There’s an ability to place workloads where they best reside based on business priorities, not IT constraints," he notes. "We’re starting to get this natural distribution of workloads across existing and new environments … where they make the most sense."

Is your organization's cloud infrastructure beginning to feel more like a cage than a boundless resource environment? Then consider these five times when returning selected applications to a traditional data center may make sense.

1. To save money

Many organizations can achieve substantial savings by reducing or eliminating the high recurring operational expenses of the public cloud, observes Jeremy Kurth, CTO of IT services provider Winxnet. "A reduction in total cost of ownership is one of the potential benefits in repatriation," he says. "Public cloud offerings can provide value-add compared to on-premise solutions, but it typically comes at a premium in recurring expenses."

Organizations that felt the public cloud was the answer to all their problems are now often finding that the expense and advantages just aren't as relevant or applicable to their specific situations, Kurth explains. "Considering the added true all-in cost over a two- to three-year period, the compelling argument to stay with public cloud just doesn’t add up over time, especially when compared to cheaper alternatives now available in the market."

Cost is generally the primary reason for shifting cloud applications back to data centers, observes Chris Carreiro, CTO of data center monitoring and support firm Park Place Technologies’ ParkView platform."If the assumed cost is greater to operate [in the cloud], it might make sense for a company to bring back an application or service to on-premises or colocation," he says. "Cost of memory and disk [resources] continue to decline, changing the requirement to operate in cloud, allowing a company to be more flexible."

Travis Morrison, director of IT at craft brewer New Belgium Brewing, which recently migrated its core applications from an off-premises managed cloud to on-premises Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, says that reduced cost and maintenance expenses played a major role in bringing the software back on site. "We wanted predictable costs when scaling, and we have a talented staff that can manage on-premises equipment," he explains. "Additionally, ROI for cloud diminishes with a hyperconverged stack, as maintenance is simplified."

As the cost of using public cloud services continue to grow, improvements in both performance and budgeting can be achieved by repatriating selected applications. "By leveraging available and cost-effective solutions, such as [Windows Server] Storage Spaces Direct, hyperconvergence, storage-class memory and software defined networks (SDN), the gap in flexibility, scalability and redundancy that once made public cloud offerings so attractive has greatly diminished," Kurth explains.

Applications that need to access large amounts of data, such as data mining tools, can also benefit from a move back home. "Some applications move data in and out in large amounts frequently," Cope notes. "This can be costly with most [types of] cloud billing."

2. To gain more control over applications

Prime candidates for repatriation are heavily used applications offering primarily static functionality. Such software can often be maintained more effectively on-premises, where its environment is a controlled state and costs are fixed and predictable, says Vinod Pisharody, CTO at network hardware firm Array Networks. "Repatriation provides better control over the applications and enables IT to [better] plan for potential problems," he explains.

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