The number of organizations that are opting to repatriate cloud workloads back into on-premises IT environments is steadily increasing as economic headwinds force more organizations to reckon with the total cost of IT.
A survey of 1,018 responses from IT and security professional conducted by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) on behalf of Expel, a provider of a managed detection and response platform, finds 59% of organizations have moved workloads back on premises from the cloud, with more than a third of those transitions (34%) occurring in the past 12 months.
It’s not clear to what degree these decisions are being driven by the attributes of the workload or cloud management processes that are inefficient. There is no doubt that during the COVID-19 pandemic there were more than a few long-running workloads deployed in the cloud for the sake of expediency that in hindsight are less expensive to run in an on-premises IT environment. Basecamp, a provider of project management and email services, recently reported it is saving at least $1.5 million per year by moving all its application onto on-premises IT infrastructure.
However, a survey of 400 senior IT professionals from organizations with 250+ employees across the U.S., Canada, and United Kingdom conducted by Aptum, a provider of managed IT services, also finds more than half (52%) concede their organizations have wasted significant IT spend due to inefficiencies with cloud platforms and services.
In fact, nearly three quarters (73%) report their cloud investment has resulted in higher-than-expected IT costs within the last 12 months. A full 92% noted they are likely to conduct a full return-on-investment (ROI) analysis of cloud spending.
Nor does it appear organizations are rushing to move workloads from on-premises IT environments to the cloud. A survey of 500 IT leaders conducted by Method Research on behalf of LogicMonitor, a provider of an observability platform, finds 80% reporting cost considerations and budget cuts are negatively impacting cloud migrations. More than a third (36%) said they won’t be conducting any further cloud migration through 2025, with 100% currently managing hybrid cloud computing environments.
Similarly, a survey of 534 cloud developers and software professionals conducted by the Eclipse Foundation finds organizations continue to use both public clouds (53%) and on-premises IT environments (40%) to build and deploy applications.
It’s apparent that on-premises IT environments are not going away any time soon. If anything, IT organizations will soon find themselves managing workloads that will be federated from the network edge to the cloud and everywhere in between. The challenge isn’t going to be so much determining what workload to run where most cost effectively but rather centralizing the management of those workloads in a way that doesn’t require an army of IT professionals to run.
Most of the platforms that IT organizations have today have their own control plane that needs to be administered by an IT team that has mastered all its nuances. Centralizing the management of control planes creates an opportunity to automate more tasks in a way that enables an existing IT team to manage distributed workloads at scale. In effect, IT leaders are reducing the amount of IT labor that previously would have been required to manage that many workloads. That’s critical because IT staff salaries still represent the single biggest cost of IT.
Advances in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) may soon fundamentally change the IT labor equation but in the meantime IT leaders are being pressured more than ever to run IT environments as cost effectively as possible. A lot of decisions concerning where to run various classes of workloads as a result need to be revisited. The challenge will be finding the courage to make decisions that might fly in the face of what was once the prevailing wisdom upon which all previous IT decisions were once made.