Companies are cooling on the cloud

BBC News:

This year, software firm 37signals will see a profit boost of more than $1m (£790,000) from leaving the cloud.

“To be able to get that with such relatively modest changes to our business is astounding,” says co-owner and chief technology officer, David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH). “Seeing the bill on a weekly basis really radicalised me.”

37signals, the company behind Basecamp and Hey, has moved away from cloud services and seen a significant boost to their bottom line as a result.

For 37signals, owning hardware and using a shared data centre has proven substantially cheaper than renting cloud resources. But cost isn’t the only factor at play. DHH also raises concerns about the internet’s resilience when so much of it relies on just three major cloud providers.

This trend isn’t limited to 37signals. The BBC reports that 94% of large US organisations have repatriated some workloads from the cloud in the last three years, claiming issues like security, unexpected costs, and performance problems.

And if you’re a company using a lot of storage and bandwidth the cloud can be incredibly expensive. There’s a reason Netflix and Dropbox use AWS for things like metadata, but use their own servers for large files.

That said, cloud computing obviously isn’t going anywhere. The key takeaway comes from Mark Turner at Pulsant:

“The change leaders in the IT industry are now the people who are not saying cloud first, but are saying cloud when it fits. Five years ago, the change disruptors were cloud first, cloud first, cloud first.”

It seems we’re moving towards a more nuanced approach. The future might not be all-cloud or all on-premises, but a mix of both. A sensible evolution I’d say.