How to Migrate from Cloud to On-Premise, and Why

8 min readJan 25, 2024

More than 90% of businesses migrate to the cloud — however, 5% plan to migrate from cloud to on-premise.

Companies opting for such a move in the era of widespread cloud service adoption may have unique processes or simply be dissatisfied with their current cloud services. Regardless, the key is to meet established business goals, and cloud-to-on-premise migration can be an effective means to that end.

Reasons to migrate from cloud to on-premise

Cloud infrastructure provides on-demand services and scalable resources, but reverse cloud migration or cloud repatriation may be optimal in some cases. The following are the key reasons that prompt businesses to make an intriguing cloud-to-on-premise shift:

Data governance

When a company stores data in a different country from where it originated, it can create legal and regulatory difficulties. This is because the stored data becomes subject to the laws of the country where it is stored rather than its country of origin.

Storing data on-premise allows companies to maintain good data governance and comply with specific regulations. For example, GDPR is a regulation that requires strict data location requirements. It demands that data from EU citizens be located within the European Union, as do all those dealing with this data.

Other regulations, such as HIPPA, PCI DSS, or FedRAMP, don’t explicitly mandate where data must be located geographically. However, they require that data storage meets defined security requirements, regardless of its location. In these cases, it may be easier to migrate data from the cloud to an on-premise solution rather than manage cloud storage from third-party providers.

Security concerns

While cloud service providers invest heavily in security, the organizations still feel concerned about their data safety. According to IBM, 54% of businesses agree that the public cloud is not secure enough for their data. Additionally, 50% of companies move their data off the public cloud because of security concerns.

Cloud security concerns

Some businesses find greater confidence in an on-premise infrastructure, where they maintain direct control over security protocols and measures. The on-premise environment provides organizations with complete freedom to implement tailored security measures, including:

  • Customized security policies
  • Network segmentation
  • Physical security
  • Data residency compliance
  • Security update plan

Cost considerations

On-premise solutions may require a significant initial investment, but they offer predictable and stable costs in the long run.

Certain organizations may discover that on-premises or bare metal solutions are more cost-effective for their particular operations. For instance, software with a predictable load is a significant example. By migrating from the cloud to on-premises, such solutions can obtain more affordable infrastructure because of:

  • Fixed costs that are easily justified and distributed over time
  • Predictable scaling in a more controlled and planned manner
  • A one-time investment that can be amortized over an extended period
  • Optimal resource utilization for stable and consistent workloads
  • Absence of ongoing subscription fees

Unhappy with high cloud prices

Migrate from the cloud to on-premise

Steps to migrate from cloud to on-premise

The key steps involved in migrating from the cloud to an on-premise infrastructure include:

Step 1: Assessment and planning

Before starting the migration journey, thoroughly assess your existing cloud architecture. Identify the reasons for the cloud to on-premise migration, evaluate the current state of your applications and data, and outline the specific goals you aim to achieve with an on-premise solution. Develop a comprehensive migration plan that includes timelines, resource allocation, and potential challenges.

Step 2: Data migration strategy

One of the critical aspects of moving from the cloud to on-premise is managing the data transition. Develop a robust data migration strategy that ensures minimal downtime and data integrity. Consider the volume of data, potential data dependencies, and the most suitable migration tools for your specific needs.

Step 3: Application repatriation

Assess the compatibility of your applications with on-premise infrastructure. Some applications may need to be refactored or reconfigured to function optimally in the on-premise environment. Plan for the cloud to on-premise migration, ensuring your apps seamlessly integrate with the new infrastructure.

Step 4: Infrastructure deployment

Prepare your on-premise infrastructure to accommodate the migrated applications and data. This involves configuring servers, networks, and storage systems based on your business requirements. Ensure that the infrastructure aligns with the performance and security needs of your applications.

Step 5: Security setup

Addressing security and compliance is paramount when migrating sensitive data back on-premise. Implement robust security measures, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption protocols. Ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations governing data storage and processing.

Step 6: Testing

Rigorous testing is essential to validate the functionality of applications in the on-premise environment. Conduct thorough quality assurance testing to identify any issues before the final cloud-to-on-premise migration. This step helps minimize disruptions and ensures a smooth transition.

Step 7: User training

Prepare your team for the changes by providing comprehensive training on the new on-premise infrastructure. Communicate the reasons behind the reverse cloud migration, potential benefits, and any adjustments users might need to make. Clear communication fosters a positive transition experience.

Step 8: Monitoring and optimization

After migration:

  • Implement monitoring tools to track the performance of applications and infrastructure
  • Optimize the on-premise environment based on usage patterns and evolving business needs
  • Review and update security measures to mitigate emerging threats
Migrating from cloud to on-premise

Reverse cloud migration: Dropbox example

The Dropbox case is one of the most famous examples of successful cloud repatriation.

By migrating from AWS to on-premise, Dropbox saved $75 million over two years. This move is known as “Project Magic Pocket”.

While AWS provided great scalability, Dropbox was looking to move to an in-house infrastructure. The primary reason for that was to have better control over their hardware and software stack and spend less on IT infrastructure.

At the time of the transition, Dropbox was storing over 500 petabytes of data on behalf of its users. The migration to their custom-built infrastructure was a massive undertaking that involved moving this enormous amount of data. Dropbox executed this transition with minimal service disruption.

The company designed and implemented its own custom storage. They built their own data centers and designed a software and hardware stack tailored to their specific needs. All this helped achieve greater performance and cost optimization.

It is worth noting that despite this major migration, Dropbox didn’t completely abandon AWS. It still uses AWS to store data for international users to comply with regional data residency requirements.

Cloud + on-premise: a hybrid approach for better business outcomes

To achieve the best safety-scalability-cost ratio, you can use a cloud + on-premise approach. This means that some project resources and processes are stored on an in-house infrastructure and some — in the cloud.

Here is an example of allocating IT operations between on-premise and cloud environments:

On-premise operations

Core product development. For high-value, proprietary, or sensitive projects, on-premise environments can offer better control and security. This is particularly important for R&D on new products or features.

Sensitive data processing. Intellectual property, trade secrets, or regulated personal data might be more securely managed on-premise.

Performance-intensive processes. Applications requiring high computing power, low latency, or specific hardware optimizations could be kept on-premise for optimal performance.

Legacy systems functioning. Legacy software typically has compatibility issues or requires specific hardware. It is often easier to keep it on-premise.

Customized control and compliance. Certain operations requiring stringent control for regulatory compliance, audit requirements, or specific industry standards are often better suited for on-premise infrastructure.

Cloud operations

Resource scaling. Cloud hosting is ideal for web applications and customer portals due to its elasticity in handling variable traffic loads.

Big data analytics and AI/ML workloads. Leveraging cloud platforms for data analytics, machine learning, and AI operations provides the necessary scalability and specialized resources.

Development and testing. For non-core development activities or parallel testing environments, the cloud provides flexibility and rapid provisioning of resources.

Disaster recovery and backup. Storing data in the cloud allows seamless access to critical information during disasters. Additionally, automated backup processes enable quick restoration of operations in emergencies.

Team collaboration. Cloud-based tools for team collaboration, project management, and office productivity enhance workforce mobility and efficiency.

Believe on-premise infrastructure is a better fit?

Migrate off the cloud

Set up efficient IT infrastructure with Erbis

Cloud infrastructure provides many benefits in the form of scalable resources, advanced tools, and seamless accessibility. Most organizations, to some extent, operate in the cloud. However, cloud migration trends should not influence your vision of establishing an effective IT ecosystem for your project.

In some cases, migrating to the cloud does not yield the desired results. Issues related to data security, performance metrics, excessive costs, or vendor lock-in can arise. If you find that your initial move to the cloud doesn’t align with your business needs, it might be time to consider a reverse migration.

At Erbis, we have over 11 years of experience migrating software from on-premise to the cloud and vice versa. Before initiating the transition, we analyze the project and advise on the most optimal solution based on your goals and budget.

If your current cloud infrastructure isn’t meeting your requirements, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our cloud experts will assess your situation and offer advice on how to migrate seamlessly, whether it’s from the cloud to on-premise or from one cloud platform to another.


What is cloud repatriation?

Cloud repatriation refers to the process of moving data, applications, or workloads from the cloud back to on-premise infrastructure. This decision is often made due to factors such as data security concerns, performance issues, or changing business requirements.

How to migrate from AWS to on-premise?

Migrating from AWS to on-premise involves careful planning and execution. It typically includes assessing dependencies, ensuring data integrity, replicating applications, and adjusting configurations to match on-premise infrastructure while considering factors like security, compliance, and performance. Professional expertise and a well-defined strategy are crucial for a successful migration.

Can I migrate some processes from the cloud to on-premise and leave another part of the processes in the cloud?

Yes, adopting a hybrid approach is common in cloud migration. You can selectively migrate processes from the cloud to on-premise based on factors like performance, data sensitivity, or compliance requirements while keeping other processes in the cloud for scalability and flexibility.

What is the difference between on-premise vs bare metal?

On-premise refers to the deployment of software or infrastructure within an organization’s own physical premises, while bare metal typically refers to dedicated physical servers provided by a hosting provider, giving users direct access to the underlying hardware without virtualization layers.

What are the main migration challenges during cloud-to-on-premise migration?

The main challenges during cloud-to-on-premise migration include:

  • Data transfer complexities
  • Potential application compatibility issues
  • Ensuring consistent security measures
  • Managing the overall transition without disrupting critical business operations

Coordination and planning are crucial to overcome these challenges.