Who benefits from cloud repatriation? Part of the answer, of course, is the businesses that repatriate their public workloads to private infrastructure in order to achieve better cost, performance, or security outcomes.
But another key beneficiary of cloud repatriation – a practice that is currently surging, with 80% of organizations planning to repatriate at least some portions of their cloud workloads in the coming year, according to IDC – is the data center industry. Indeed, repatriation is likely to be one of the key factors driving continued data center growth over the next several years.
Here's why cloud repatriation is great news for the data center industry, and what data center operators can do to accommodate businesses seeking to repatriate cloud workloads.
How Cloud Repatriations Benefit Data Center Providers
The reason why cloud repatriation, which means moving workloads from a public cloud environment to privately owned infrastructure, is a boon for data center operators is simple: In many cases, businesses that choose to repatriate workloads won't move them back on-premises. Instead, they'll choose to operate them in a data center – either one they operate themselves or a colocation facility where they can rent space.
Choosing this approach to repatriation allows organizations to continue to leverage some of the benefits of the cloud even after they repatriate. With a data center, businesses can consolidate workloads into a single location instead of spreading them across on-prem server rooms. They can also in some cases outsource infrastructure setup and management tasks to data center operators, who often provide those services in addition to leasing data center space.
Thus, the cloud repatriation trend is likely to result in increased demand for data center space. Alongside other factors driving data center industry growth – such as the need for ever more powerful infrastructure to host modern workloads and the importance of having geographic flexibility about where workloads operate – cloud repatriation is one reason why data center operators have a bright future.
How Data Centers Can Attract Repatriated Workloads
Much of the demand for data center space to host repatriated workloads is likely to occur organically, as businesses recognize the intrinsic value of repatriating their workloads into a data center instead of moving them back on-prem. But data center operators can take steps to sweeten their offerings in this regard.
Supply 'white glove' services
Providing so-called "white glove" services to help businesses with workload migration and management processes is one way to do this. The more data center operators can make it feel as easy to use their solutions as it is to spin up workloads on a public cloud IaaS platform, the more attractive they'll be to businesses that found the public cloud didn't work out as they intended.
Offer high-performance networking
Delivering high-performance networking should help attract repatriated workloads, too. In some cases, businesses may be wary of repatriating workloads on-prem because they'll lack the high-quality network connections that they can get from data center interconnects and from public cloud services like AWS Direct Connect. Data center operators who can fill that gap will give organizations a compelling reason to choose data centers over on-prem infrastructure when repatriating workloads.
Push security benefits
Touting security offerings will do the same in many cases. It tends to be easier to guarantee the physical security of data centers than it is to secure on-prem server rooms, giving data center operators another leg up as businesses evaluate repatriation options.
Customize contracts and service offerings
Finally, a willingness to work with customers on customized contracts and service offerings is likely to be important in many cases for attracting repatriated workloads. One of the intrinsic downsides of the public cloud – and a factor that leads to repatriation in some instances – is lack of control and customization. Unless you are a very large enterprise, public cloud providers are not typically willing to negotiate custom deals with you, and you might decide as a result that the only way to get exactly what you want is to deploy workloads on-prem. But if you can find a data center operator who is willing to provide you with custom solutions, you'll have one less reason to go back on-prem.
The trend toward cloud repatriation is likely to bring much new business to data center operators. To seize the moment, data center providers should look for ways to cater to companies seeking to retain as many benefits of a cloud-like experience as they can, without the drawbacks of on-prem hosting.