Posted on May 27, 2023.

Over the past decade, cloud-based data storage capabilities entered the market and many enterprises jumped on board to integrate public cloud services into their IT infrastructure.

Now, some may be rethinking this decision, as unexpected drawbacks have surfaced. Enterprises have encountered cloud issues that harm performance. This can include a lack of flexibility when accessing data, information loss, and hidden costs. For example, an enterprise that moves terabytes of data to and from the cloud can be charged significant egress fees.

Enterprises that are experiencing troubles with an all-cloud approach or embarked on a poorly planned transition want out of public cloud services. Many are exploring alternative data storage options including on-premise infrastructure, private clouds, and hybrid cloud solutions.

Building a Successful Cloud Exit Strategy 

A mass exodus from the cloud

Among companies that are actively exiting the cloud, many mention performance, availability and latency issues, high cost, and security concerns as their main reasons for leaving. Shifting away from public cloud usage, also called “cloud repatriation”, may indicate a natural evolution towards a hybrid-cloud solution.

A hybrid cloud strategy, which includes a combination of on-premise systems, private clouds, and public clouds to meet an enterprise’s specific needs, could be building momentum. Fifty-eight percent of respondents of the VoTE 2017 survey are moving toward a hybrid IT environment. 

Where’s the exit?

Whether your enterprise leaped into the cloud without an effective cloud exit strategy , or the flaws of an all-cloud structure have made your organization hesitate to get on board in the first place, let’s consider the multiple options currently available:

Public clouds

Public clouds are the most common form of cloud computing and all components (hardware, software, supporting infrastructure, etc.) are owned and managed by a third-party vendor. Clients typically access the cloud through a web browser. Public clouds are more of a one-size fits-all option as the hardware, storage, and network devices are used by all of the vendor’s clients.

For those who consider public clouds to be a good fit for their enterprise, the benefits include lower upfront costs, high reliability, unlimited scalability, and maintenance that is outsourced.

Private clouds

A private cloud structure is used exclusively by one enterprise and can be physically located at an on-site data center or housed by a third-party vendor. The cloud’s components and maintenance are always kept on a private network. Mid-to large size organizations can benefit from private clouds to maintain data security and industry compliance protocols.

The advantages of private clouds include more control, greater flexibility within the cloud environment, and greater scalability than non-cloud options.

On-premises infrastructure

Some enterprises may prefer to keep information housed internally through on-premise infrastructure. This is beneficial to enterprises that need lower latency, handle large volumes of data, or want to reduce ingress or egress costs. But keep in mind that on-premise infrastructure offers less scalability than cloud options.

From a budgeting standpoint, on-premise infrastructure is often purchased once, unlike cloud subscriptions that flood operations budgets with recurring costs.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud strategy combines the benefits of each option mentioned above and can be a viable strategy for enterprises to consider. If an enterprise’s demand fluctuates, a hybrid cloud can scale up on-premise infrastructure to manage data overflow instead of granting data access to third-party vendors. 

Highly sensitive information can remain at an on-site data center, while still leveraging the flexibility and innovative features of the public cloud, as needed. Hybrid options also offer more financial flexibility, as enterprises only pay for what they use to meet their exact needs.

As an enterprise’s needs change, a hybrid cloud approach can provide a tailored solution that allows an enterprise to meet current security and compliance needs while offering the flexibility to deploy the data storage options that make the most sense now and in the future.

Developing your cloud exit strategy

If an organization is planning to leave a public cloud system, an effective exit strategy is a key component to keep irreplaceable data secured and ensure a successful transition. Here are some areas to consider:

  • Before implementation, develop a business continuity plan and determine any critical dependencies that could impact the migration before transitioning to any new cloud or on-premise solutions.
  • Take a slow and methodical approach. Work on each system at a time and take an inventory of what data runs on each cloud.
  • Budget accordingly and be prepared for additional costs to remove information off the cloud.  Public cloud providers often charge a business more to transfer information off of a cloud service than to store information on their platform.
  • Backup all of your information to ensure that nothing is lost during a data transfer.
  • Understand an enterprise’s specific needs and account for security, infrastructure, storage, and application when choosing a new setup. All of this was likely maintained by a single vendor previously, even if overseeing control of security and disaster relief contingencies were in the organization’s best interests.
  • Be prepared for power outages or other emergency situations by keeping all data backed up across different systems.
  • Think about restructuring staff and priority initiatives during the transition. A data migration to a new cloud solution will take a lot of time, employee bandwidth and money for an IT team to manage effectively.
  • Beware of vendor lock-in. When this occurs, an organization can’t shift workloads from one vendor to another without hassle or when a vendor shuts down and an enterprise’s data is lost. Certain contracts could prevent an enterprise from exiting or transferring data to a new server, so always read the fine print.

Sanity Solutions works with clients to develop cloud exit strategies that optimize your enterprise function in a customized hybrid cloud environment.

A successful cloud exit strategy: Why choose a hybrid cloud solution?

As technology continues to evolve, so too does your enterprise. Rather than opting for an all cloud-based infrastructure, hybrid cloud strategies allow enterprises to experience improved cost efficiency with greater flexibility over operations and assets. Hybrid cloud options allow for greater peace of mind by meeting security and compliance needs via private cloud storage, while enabling enterprises to access a public cloud when needed.A hybrid cloud strategy is a customizable option that can meet your enterprise’s current data storage requirements while maintaining the flexibility to keep up with the changing business needs of the future. Learn more about your options for developing a cloud exit strategy with Sanity Solutions.