There is an old saying that the three most important things in real estate are, “location, location, and location.” To paraphrase that for today’s IT infrastructure buyers, the list would seem to be, “cloud, cloud, and cloud.” (If this list were for a CIO/CEO, it might be, “security, security, and security,” but more on that later.)
Here’s the thing, though. As great as public cloud services are, they are not right for everything, at least not currently. In recent ESG research, among storage decision makers who had identified that their organization leveraged off-premises cloud resources, a full 39% indicated that they had moved at least one workload from a cloud software or infrastructure service back to on-premises resources.
Let that sink in for a moment.
That means that nearly 4 of every 10 cloud users faced some new information that caused them to take a workload they previously decided was a good fit for the cloud and bring it back. Moving data is not easy. I probably don’t have to tell you that. A lot of tools can help data get to the cloud, but it is a little more difficult to get it out. And once the workload is out, what infrastructure is it going to use? Unless there were excess capacity and performance available, chances are that the IT organization had to deploy new infrastructure. Additionally, since the study was of storage decision makers, chances are that small movements might go unnoticed. So there is a decent chance these were significant moves.
Now, I know what you may be thinking: Maybe these are just apps that were developed on the cloud, and then deployed on-premises. Possibly, there could be some of that, but a few things work against that theory. First, the wording of the question leveraged the phrase, “pulled back.” Which to me implies a decision to move to the cloud, and then a separate decision to pull it back. Second, nearly half of those identified that they pulled back a workload from software-as-a-service (SaaS). Finally, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) was not an option for the question. So while some businesses leverage infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) for development, the idea of the question was to minimize the app development use case from the options.
So what does this mean? The cloud has value, but it isn’t a "no-brainer" answer anymore. Of course, none of this means that I am any less convinced that the IT world is going to be hybrid for the foreseeable future. Hybrid cloud is the new normal. Now, simply put, there is evidence that organizations need to apply a pragmatic approach with regards to the location of applications and data, whether on- or off-premises. Moving a workload to the public cloud is a big decision and should be treated as such. Additionally, this is an area ESG is starting to investigate thoroughly. What workloads are coming back? Why? Is it cost? Is it security? (I told you we would come back to it.) Is it availability? And how are these movements changing the cloud strategy within the organizations?
If your organization has pulled a workload back, and you have a story you wish to share, please reach out to let me know. Finding the Bigger Truth.