The ‘Cloud Exit’ conversation gains momentum: Alternatives to hyper-scale clouds.

In recent months, the discussion about the move away from public cloud has gained momentum. David Heinemeier Hansson, one of the early CTOs to openly discuss the challenges and limitations of hyperscale cloud strategies, has documented his departure in a series of blogs. And he is not alone. Others, like Daniel Tremayne-Pitter, founder and CEO of the technology strategic consulting firm Dark Matter, have also joined the conversation.

Why Leave the Cloud?

In the early 2010s, the massive adoption of hyperscale cloud was driven by the perceived benefit of transitioning from a CAPEX to OPEX model. However, many companies realized that moving inefficient applications to the cloud resulted in high costs, similar to leaving appliances on at home, racking up hefty bills.

Daniel Tremayne-Pitter explains, “As we enter the new era of AI, organizations will need robust infrastructures and different behaviors to build better outcomes. If not, they risk repeating past mistakes with another layer of technology decisions driven by status.”

Hyperscale Cloud Is Not Cancelled

Despite the growing search for alternatives to AWS, GCP, and Azure, hyperscale cloud remains a powerful solution for certain needs. New companies without a clear idea of their scalability needs or those with extremely volatile demands, like Netflix, rely on the instant scalability capabilities offered by hyperscale cloud.

John Musser, Senior Engineering Director at Ford Pro, comments: “It’s about sizing correctly, balancing profitability, capacity, regulation, and privacy.”

Three Alternatives to Hyperscale Cloud

For companies considering reducing their dependence on hyperscale cloud, there are several viable alternatives.

Option 1: On-premises Data Center

An on-premises data center allows companies to manage their infrastructure in-house, offering complete control over data and security. However, it requires a significant investment in hardware, maintenance, and specialized personnel. This option has been effective for companies like 37Signals, who managed to reduce their monthly cloud costs by 60%.

Option 2: Colocation

Colocation involves purchasing hardware and storing it in an external data center. It offers control over servers and reliable connectivity, with less cost and complexity than a proprietary data center. However, it is still capital-intensive and requires managing and continuously updating the hardware.

Option 3: Bare Metal Server Hosting

Bare metal server hosting allows renting dedicated servers without the need to purchase and maintain hardware. It offers flexibility to build custom solutions and control over security, with opportunities for cost optimization and provider support. It is ideal for companies with stable resource requirements and predictable scaling events.

The ‘Right-Sizing’ Generation

More companies are looking for alternatives to Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure not to demonize these products but to better align their priorities. The key is to optimize each workload according to its specific needs, combining different types of infrastructure as necessary.

As Corey Quinn, cloud economist, comments, “Cloud became clouded as soon as it arrived.” The industry must provide objective and understandable information so that companies can make informed decisions about their infrastructures.

In summary, the conversation about leaving the cloud is about presenting all options objectively and transparently, allowing companies to find the right balance between cost, performance, and scalability.

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