Cloud Repatriation: Helping customers choose wisely on the way to a future-ready hybrid cloud end-state

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photo by Flickr user paszczak000

Since joining Dell in January as general manager for Engineered Solutions and Cloud, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of speaking with MANY of Dell’s cloud customers and partners. In those conversations, it seems no matter how they began or where they are on their cloud journey, a few are still asking the “should I focus on private OR public cloud…” question but a large portion of them have already taken part in a cloud trend that’s quite significant both now and for the future of our industry. That trend or phenomenon is called cloud repatriation: the movement of cloud services that were originally taken external back to internal or on premises/private platforms.

If you think this is a “Jim G only” opinion, a recent study by 451 Research showed that over two-thirds of customers hosting one or more workloads in the public cloud have migrated them BACK to a private or on premises cloud or are planning to do so within a year.

Why is this trend so significant and what are the implications? Or to be pragmatic about it: What’s in it for you? In a word, it helps make you future-ready. As an application that’s externally hosted matures in sophistication or grows in use—or in fact, as your cloud strategy matures generally—you become less focused on merely gaining the initial speed and cost benefits of cloud and more focused on overall value and return on investment (not just initial stand up or credit card CapEx). Using these metrics, the capabilities and costs of the infrastructure you control are superior to those you acquire as a service; sometimes dramatically so.

The Principled Technologies report (PDF) that Dell commissioned last year, comparing the all-in or lifecycle costs of running numerous transactional databases with an order rate of ~3,500 orders per minute, provides that proof point very well. When I say “all-in or lifecycle,” I mean it: in the study, Principled Technologies evaluated the costs of equipment, facilities, power, cooling, staff, and everything else associated with hosting a data store on-premises against the subscription and usage costs of hosting it in a popular external public cloud service.

The delta was remarkable in terms of total cost of ownership: in as little as 15 months the on-premises solution paid for itself, and then the cost went relatively flat year over year. By contrast, the public cloud model continued to incur equivalent/aggregate costs year over year. Running the database in their own on-premises cloud gave organizations cost benefits to the tune of 63% less for private cloud, or $600,000 less across multiple virtual machines in a fully functional cloud environment over a five-year span. Repatriation represents a real and outstanding value proposition for you in terms of efficiency, in terms of value, and not least in terms of how you get to control your cloud journey while still gaining quick results.

But more importantly, it points the way to where cloud, or if you think about it all of IT, is going. Repatriation demonstrates that there are multiple factors that go into deciding which platform will give you the best business results from a given workload. Many of your workloads are or will soon be running in cloud platforms, and moreover, whether just for burst capability when needed (i.e. a major event or opportunity that causes a usage spike in your web or IT requirements) or for other reasons, some of them will take advantage of more than one cloud platform for a single workload. At this point I’m sure it’s not news to you that on both counts, this is a hybrid cloud strategy. And we’re not just talking about the use of multiple cloud platforms, because if they’re not integrated and their workloads not portable, that’s not hybrid, that’s just complex. So repatriation is the harbinger of this multi-layer “rightsizing” of workloads to cloud platforms: a forerunner, if you will, of our collective hybrid future.

Be sure to ask your Dell representative about repatriation and the opportunities it creates for you in cloud today. A hybrid cloud strategy will deliver results for you quickly now, and will help you prepare for the successful hybrid cloud future.

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