Keeping applications on premises can seem so … stodgy and passé. If you believe the buzz, digital transformation, innovation, and agility are all happening in the public cloud. While there is some truth to this, the reality is more nuanced and complex.

There are lot of business benefits to be gained by moving workloads into the public cloud (we won’t rehash those here) and the concept is mature, putting the industry in the late majority phase of the cloud technology adoption lifecycle, and possibly even the laggard stage. This is confirmed by the results of Virtana’s recent State of Hybrid Cloud and FinOps survey, which found that 88% of respondents have more than one-quarter of their workloads deployed in the public cloud, and 84% are using more than one public cloud. But this doesn’t mean they are abandoning the on-premises approach entirely. In fact, only 8% of respondents say they would migrate all of their workloads to a public cloud—the vast majority would keep some portion on premises:

  • 19% say they would keep up to 25% of their workloads on premises
  • 23% would keep 26-50%
  • 29% would keep 51-75%
  • 17% would keep 76-99%

There are a number of different reasons for this. The top two named by respondents are security (49%) and management concerns (48%). Compliance/privacy comes in third at 37%. Cost and mission-criticality of the workloads round out the list at 27% each. It’s usually not just one thing, however, as 53% of respondents cited more than reason for keeping certain workloads on premises.

Hybrid cloud as informed decision, not de facto result

The truth is, the vast majority of organizations need a hybrid infrastructure that includes one or more public clouds as well as an on-premises environment. The reasons noted above are some of the drivers, but that’s by no means a complete list. Even if an application passes muster based on these criteria, there may be other technical/practical reasons to keep it on premises. That’s why the decision to migrate workloads to the cloud can’t happen in a vacuum or in an as-a-general-rule kind of way.

Too many enterprises, however, may be doing just that. We found that 72% of surveyed organizations stated they’ve had to move applications back on premises after migrating them to the public cloud—of which 41% said it was because those applications should have stayed on premises in the first place. This is a time-consuming and expensive mistake to make, but it can easily be avoided by understanding the individual characteristics of each workload on premises, including dependencies between workloads, infrastructure, and IT services, as well as how they would operate in various public cloud configurations.

It’s not that you can’t develop a high-level strategy or approach for cloud migration to posit which workloads to slate for migration, but that’s just the first step. Consider it a hypothosis that needs to be tested, and that testing should happen on a workload-by-workload basis. Only then will you truly know which workloads to migrate and which should remain in the data center. 

Know before you go with Virtana Migrate

The key to avoiding the unnecessary repatriation of applications is to #KnowBeforeYouGo. Virtana Migrate makes this possible by delivering precision observability into which workloads to migrate, and ensuring that unexpected costs and performance degradation are avoided once workloads are operating in the cloud. Request a free trial today!

Get the survey report: State of Hybrid Cloud and FinOps survey

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Jon Cyr
Jon Cyr

VP of Product Management, Virtana

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