In 2018, Dropbox announced it was shifting away from cloud-based services in favor of managing some of its data storage and application hosting itself. The company noted that while Amazon Web Services (AWS) initially allowed Dropbox to delay the purchase and maintenance of its own infrastructure, there were limitations and obstacles that prompted the switch.
In its IPO filing, Dropbox noted that the company has no operational control or access to the AWS or other cloud facilities that host its content. If there were to be an issue with that data, Dropbox, which hosts information for its customers worldwide, would have little control of the situation.
Why is it that Dropbox and other companies are moving away from the cloud, which is touted as a service that alleviates the burden of monitoring, maintenance and upgrading what’s stored there? Are there times when it makes more sense to move away from the public cloud?
How Many Companies Are Moving Out of the Public Cloud?
In 2018, IDC reported that 81 percent of companies surveyed reported migrating applications or data that had been stored in the public cloud to a different environment, including a private cloud host, a hybrid cloud and local solution or a complete on-premises infrastructure. The companies that repatriated data and apps reported doing so the following solutions:
• Hosted private cloud (41 percent)
• On-premises private cloud (38 percent)
• On-premises non-cloud (22 percent)
The survey also reported that 85 percent planned to migrate services in 2019.
Why? The most-cited reasons were:
• Security (19 percent)
• Performance (14 percent)
• Cost (12 percent)
• Control (12 percent)
• Desire to centralize or reduce shadow IT (11 percent)
What’s Behind the Cloud Repatriation Push?
Munish Manrao of Belmont, California-based ePC Solutions noted that there can be many factors that influence a decision to move to the cloud or move back.
“Every IT decision should be based on a combination of factors: security, cost, compliance, stability, productivity, and compatibility,” Manrao said. “In some instances, a company may move an application to the cloud and then decide to pull that application out of the cloud and return it to an on-premises data center. Although this can be disruptive, any one or more of the reasons listed above could be the determining factor.”
Jason Simons of Houston IT solutions company, ICS, agreed, noting that control, performance and regulatory mandates are often the key factors to move away from the public cloud.

What’s Behind the Cloud Repatriation Push?
Munish Manrao of Belmont, California-based ePC Solutions noted that there can be many factors that influence a decision to move to the cloud or move back.
“Every IT decision should be based on a combination of factors: security, cost, compliance, stability, productivity, and compatibility,” Manrao said. “In some instances, a company may move an application to the cloud and then decide to pull that application out of the cloud and return it to an on-premises data center. Although this can be disruptive, any one or more of the reasons listed above could be the determining factor.”
Jason Simons of Houston IT solutions company, ICS, agreed, noting that control, performance and regulatory mandates are often the key factors to move away from the public cloud.
He cited specific issues that may prompt, or force, the decision for businesses:
• Poor performance of the application once it was virtualized in the cloud
• A desire for ultimate control of the software or data, including upgrade
management, outage scheduling and access management. Because the public cloud is a shared resource, there are often limitations and restrictions on what a company can do and when.
• Concerns about regulation. If a company finds out that its cloud provider is
no longer certified to meet the security standards of regulatory agencies, the business is responsible. Companies take on great financial risk for non-compliance.
• The wrong provider. Companies may choose a smaller provider initially that
cannot meet their business needs. Instead of moving to a larger provider, some businesses prefer to bring apps and data back in-house.
Speed is a frequent reason for moving away from the public cloud.
“Businesses that rely on public cloud servers often run into trouble if local bandwidth is unreliable, or if internet access is lost resulting in downtime or data loss,” noted Andrew Schira with Oklahoma City IT service provider, Easton Technology.
Another is the cost.
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