Without a doubt, the cloud has transformed the way businesses store their data, enabling them to benefit from reduced costs, flexibility and greater collaboration, to name a few. However, it seems that there is a rethink currently happening in the market.

More frequently companies are looking to return at least some of their core data and applications to their on-premises data centres. The trend is called “cloud data repatriation” and it appears to be gaining steam.
According to IDC, 80 percent of organisations repatriated workloads last year and, on average, companies expect to return 50 percent of their public cloud applications to hosted private or on-premises locations over the next two years.

So what’s driving this surprising turn of events? First and foremost is the fact that the cloud isn’t quite the silver bullet it was hyped up to be. In many cases, moving all data to the cloud is not as cost-effective, secure, or scalable as many companies anticipated.

Sure, public clouds offer a higher level of flexibility, but they can be surprisingly expensive, especially where data storage is concerned. As well as being costly to store in the cloud, it often proves both slow and costly to download data sets from the cloud when they’re needed on-prem. The cloud also has a history of being too slow and costly for the transmission of edge data, such as unstructured data produced by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This unstructured data is growing at hyperspeed. Indeed, IDC predicts that the total of the world’s data will increase from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025 and that 80 percent of that data will be unstructured. Those are head-spinning numbers and companies, understandably, are struggling to keep up.

Just when organisations think they’ve got a handle on their data, more and more of it comes flooding in, whether it’s email and multimedia phone messages, audio files, video files, text files or social media posts. Moreover, machine-generated data, as well as data created by IoT devices, is adding new and more massive waves of unstructured data to the mix.

All this unstructured data presents large storage and security challenges. At first, when cloud storage rose to prominence, organisations thought the answer was to move the vast majority of their data—both structured and unstructured—to the cloud.

However, these same companies soon figured out the cloud is not only more expensive than they thought, it is also hard to access in a timely fashion when they need specific data, due to the cloud’s inherent latency.
That’s why we’re now seeing the cloud repatriation trend, in which more and more organisations are moving to a hybrid infrastructure that involves keeping some data and applications in the cloud while returning other data and applications to an on-premises infrastructure.

The reality is that data volumes in the cloud have become quite unmanageable. This means it can be more beneficial in terms of cost, security, and performance to move at least some of your company’s data back on-premises.

But as companies bring their data back on-prem, this raises the question of where and how to store it all.
With the emergence of cloud repatriation, organisations need a data storage solution that can protect business data wherever it lives—on-premises, offsite or in the cloud—and to ensure this data is always available, no matter what happens.

Any storage solution also needs to be highly scalable to keep pace with an organisation’s data growth, which is often more than 100 percent per year. The right storage solution will allow them to cost-effectively add any number of drives, anytime and in any granularity to meet their expanding storage requirements with no configuration and no application downtime.

Lastly, an ideal storage system will offer analytics to help organisations quickly figure out which pieces of information are critical to their business and which are not. With this ability, they can make better decisions about which datasets can be pushed to the cloud, which can be stored locally and which need to be repatriated. Analytics can also help identify the data that should be backed up and the data that need not be, giving organisations an intelligent, tiered data architecture that provides rapid access to mission-critical information.

The proliferation of data is reaching epic proportions, just when companies are discovering they can’t simply upload it all into the cloud. What they need is a new approach to storage infrastructure that can manage their data growth and, at the same time, secure all of their unstructured data, wherever they put it.

Choosing the right storage system for the new reality of cloud repatriation gives organisations peace of mind. It assures them that they can cost-effectively manage their increasing data volumes and gives them the confidence that their data is always securely at their fingertips.

The good news is that storage technology is up to the challenge. It can be your secret weapon to getting better control of all your data and mitigating risk once and for all.