Deciding to repatriate your cloud workload back on-prem can feel like a defeat. Typically, businesses undertake repatriation because running workloads in the cloud turned out not to deliver the performance, cost or security results they were hoping for – so they pull the plug on the cloud and return at least some workloads to their own data centers.
That doesn't mean, however, that moving workloads back to an on-prem environment should feel like a failure. A better approach is to treat repatriation as an opportunity to optimize your workloads and strategy. If you can make your workloads better than when they originally ran on-prem, cloud repatriation becomes a way to create value, rather than a mere retreat.
To that end, let's explore best practices for making the most out of repatriation, even in situations where you weren't counting on having to pull workloads out of the cloud.
Understand why you're repatriating
The first step toward making the most of cloud repatriation is understanding exactly why you've decided to repatriate in the first place.
Again, there are a number of potential reasons. Cost is a common one – it's not unusual to discover that hidden cloud costs and other challenges yield higher-than-expected cloud bills. It's also possible that cloud-based workloads didn't perform as you hoped, or that you ran into security, privacy or compliance issues.
The details will vary from workload to workload, but the important thing is to determine precisely why the cloud wasn't working out – and why the specific workloads you're repatriating need to be repatriated.
Confirm that repatriation is necessary
You should also, of course, confirm that repatriation is truly the only way to solve your cloud challenges.
Could you improve workload cost or performance by reconfiguring your workloads or migrating them to a different cloud service? If so, making those changes is likely to be faster and less costly than repatriating.
The point here is that it's critical to validate that repatriation is truly necessary before you embark on the process.
Choose the right cloud repatriation setup
Just because workloads need to be repatriated doesn't mean you have to restore them to the exact state they were in prior to their move to the cloud. And in some cases, restoring that state isn't even possible because your original on-prem infrastructure may no longer exist.
So, use repatriation as a means of optimizing the on-prem hosting setup for your workloads. Perhaps you can redesign your local network, for example, or take advantage of new server hardware options that weren't available to you previously. Steps like these can help your repatriated workloads to not just meet, but also exceed, the expectations you have as you move them back on-prem.
Integrate repatriated workloads with the cloud
In many cases, some workloads will remain in the cloud even as you repatriate others to your own data center. To ensure that all workloads continue to perform optimally, you'll want to integrate them with each other as efficiently as possible.
This might mean taking advantage of interconnection services to improve networking performance between your data center and your cloud environment, for example. Or, you could potentially meld both environments into a hybrid cloud architecture, which will typically simplify management (but might come with added costs and lock-in risks, depending on which hybrid cloud solution you choose).
Whatever you do, your goal should be to ensure that your repatriated workloads continue to play nicely with those that stay in the cloud. Don't create silos between your repatriated workloads and your cloud environment.
Measure and monitor after repatriation
Just as there is no guarantee that migrating to the cloud will deliver the benefits you seek, there is no guarantee that repatriating will solve your cloud woes. Even if you recreate the same on-prem environment that existed prior to cloud migration, outcomes could change due to differences like varying rates of demand for your workloads.
For that reason, it's critical to monitor your workloads after you repatriate them and ensure that they meet the goals you set. Compare their performance, cost and so on to those you experienced in the cloud in order to validate that repatriation was the right choice.
Conclusion: Getting more from cloud repatriation
When done right, cloud repatriation should feel like a victory. Treat it as an opportunity not just to resolve whichever challenges your workloads experienced in the cloud by returning them to their pre-migration state, but to go above and beyond by making them even better. When you can say that repatriation resulted in even better performance, cost or security outcomes than you experienced either in the cloud or with your original on-prem environment, you know you've won.