Some workflows belong in the cloud, others don’t
New research shows that 88% of organizations have returned at least some data from the cloud to on-prem data centers.
As states transition away from on-prem data centers and toward more cloud-based offerings, a new report has found that some data is being returned to data centers for storage, due to cost and compliance needs.
Eighty-eight percent of organizations surveyed in the 2023 Cloud Protections Trend Report by data protection and backup software company Veeam said they have returned at least some of their cloud-hosted workloads back to physical data centers from the cloud.
One of the major reasons was cost, as cloud storage could turn out to be more expensive long-term. But state and local governments that transitioned to the cloud and then gone back on-prem also cited the need to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests and other lawsuits as a motivating factor behind a return from the cloud.
“Cloud ends up not so much being a destination, but a target, so you may be moving data to the cloud, still bringing data back on premises from the cloud or moving from one cloud to another,” said Dave Russell, vice president of enterprise strategy at Veeam. “In other words … that's not so much a one-time trip as it is a journey, but a journey that can be bidirectional.”
Last year’s data breach in Dallas showed how the cloud journey can go wrong for state and local governments, said Jeff Reichard, Veeam’s senior director of enterprise strategy. The city was migrating files from cloud storage to on-prem servers, only to find that an employee had deleted millions of files from the cloud without realizing that they had not been transferred to local storage.
Prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments migrated to the cloud more quickly than they anticipated so they could maintain vital services while shutting down in-person offices and facilities.
To keep functioning amid remote work and changing business models, agencies were “bursting to the cloud and enabling services in any way” possible, Russell said. “Suddenly everyone can't come in and do face to face transactions, that forced a certain kind of deployment,” he said.
The return to more normal operations has governments reconsidering their strategy around service delivery on a more long-term basis, Russell said.
Veeam’s research found that on-prem virtual storage is used 25% of the time, with the cloud hovering around 50% and on-prem physical storage at around 25%. All those percentages are expected to stay relatively stable in the next couple of years, Russell said, adding that he anticipates data center usage won’t “go to zero” as otherwise there is a risk of “discontinuity” of service.