Last year the Basecamp people made a big deal about leaving the cloud (and I wrote a bit about their learnings). I still see record earnings for cloud vendors and no shortage of Redgate customers continuing to move workloads to the cloud, so maybe not everything thinks the cloud is bad. However, I do also see some movement away from the cloud, which might be back to some sort of data center, though usually not on-premises at a company. More often than not, companies that move away are still renting VMs or space from someone else who manages the core infrastructure (building, power, cooling, network, etc.).
I saw an article this week that said we may see more private clouds in 2024, which I think is likely. Even as companies may leave the cloud, or reconsider their plans to move, I do think that the idea of platforms and services where users can get more done in a simpler way is growing. Why was the cloud attractive? Often because someone didn't need to go through corporate procurement or red-tape to get a server stood up. They could purchase a database in minutes as opposed to opening a ticket and waiting on someone to triage it, open it, work on it, take a break, finish their work, and finally notify the requestor.
I've been doing some work on Platform Engineering, which felt like a new area (and new titles) that were rebranding, but I am coming to see these as an internal way to provide services, templates, and more so that the individual developer, DBA, or other tech professional doesn't need to know everything about creating or managing the service. Many of the platform services might be built in the cloud, but they could easily be built on local (ish) hardware the company owns (or rents). In fact, I've seen a few presentations about companies that have built a customized platform that makes software development and deployment easier than ever before, while ensuring corporate standards around security, DevOps, and even production operations are followed.
I think that as new tools have been written to allow people to configure, create, and manage more systems at scale, the idea of building a platform of sorts for your development or operations teams might be more feasible. I think this is still more likely at large organizations, but I learned a long time ago about the value of self-service for customers, especially internal ones, in creating efficiencies. I'm happy for most people to request and deploy the things they need, with some reasonable limits. I'd certainly prefer that they use my template for SQL Server databases (with sa disabled, Windows auth required, backups set, and more) than click-click-click the installer and fumble around learning how easy it is to poorly configure a SQL Server.
There is value in the cloud, but you should carefully decide if there is value for your organization in the cloud, if you should continue with a simpler data center, or if you might benefit from creating a platform for your IT grou;.