Payroll giant ADP, for instance, uses AWS for most of its net-new applications, as well as Microsoft Azure and Cisco Cloud, but “we still have a lot of load running in our data centers,” says Vipul Nagrath, head of product development at ADP and the company’s former CIO.

Some CIOs are opting to host workloads in private clouds, such as HP Enterprise’s Greenlake or Dell’s APEX platforms, to achieve greater security, and lower costs, than they would in the public cloud.

Richard Semple, CIO of Williamson County, Texas, where Samsung’s sprawling new chip-making facility is under development, considered all the public clouds for the government’s growing digital infrastructure. In the end, he opted for the security of retaining data on premises but on a private cloud engineered by Dell.

Reassessing, one workload at a time

For those CIOs already deep into the cloud, taking a hard look at all aspects of an application before adding yet another to their cloud estate is becoming more the norm than simply pushing forward.

“We don’t go into the cloud unless we know there are savings and we keep measuring to ensure,” says Jamie Holcombe, CIO of the US Patent & Trademark Office. “I know from experience that ‘chatty’ applications are often the most expensive in the cloud, so we either re-factor or keep on-premise.”

Not all government CIOs are moving workloads off the cloud or feeling the need for repatriation. “I am 100% in the cloud and would not have it any other way,” says Gerald Caron, CIO of the International Trade Administration.

And while repatriation is a real trend, it’s not yet universal.

“It just shows CIOs are actually thinking about where they want to platform their application portfolios,” says Steve Randich, CIO of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a private company. “The cloud makes sense in some but not all cases.”

As for FINRA, the cloud remains central.

“In FINRAs case it would cost double to build the infrastructure internally that we use every day on AWS,” Randich says. “Plus, we would lose the flexibility to quickly ramp up and ramp down infrastructure based on expansion and contraction of transaction volume. It may very well be that many organizations have highly predictable, stable volume. Not FINRA.”

Whether any given workload is best suited to the cloud is a matter of context. Wiser and more experienced, CIOs today are being more intentional about determining this to ensure, on a case-by-case basis, applications are hosted in the context that matters most.


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