Organizations that embrace digital transformation have a competitive edge in our fast-paced world. While various cutting-edge technologies are touted to facilitate this type of makeover, cloud computing has quickly become the cornerstone of smart digital transformation strategies.
And for good reason. You’ve probably heard the reasons why you should consider migrating your applications and workloads to the cloud:
- Speeding application time-to-market
- Simplified, secure applications
- Accelerating innovation
- Reducing costs
But you should be aware of some less-heralded benefits when deciding whether cloud migration is right for your organization.
Unexpected benefits of cloud computing
Cloud services and capabilities are evolving fast, thanks in part to leading manufacturers like Intel who are all-in on powering next-generation cloud technology.
Let’s explore some of the more interesting benefits organizations are experiencing when they move all or part of their operations to the cloud.
1. Better collaboration and mobility
Industries and organizations continue to embrace more flexible remote work arrangements, turning what was once a nice perk into a necessity for many. The technical requirements of supporting next-generation remote collaboration have skyrocketed as a result.
Thankfully, cloud platforms enable employees to work and collaborate no matter where their office is located. Cloud lets users update files and share information in real-time, improving communication while minimizing costly errors and delays.
Even when offices eventually reopen, remote work is going to play a much larger role than it did in the past.
2. Intelligent network connectivity
The leading cloud service providers (Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure) offer high-performance and flexible network connectivity solutions that can adapt to changing demands and workloads. As such, businesses can leverage cloud computing to handle more data at a faster rate while maintaining high levels of performance.
Thanks to rapid innovation in processors, memory and storage, organizations using cloud services are able to do more with less. This benefit can be game changing for organizations that have restricted operating budgets in response to uncertain market conditions.
3. Reduced energy consumption
On-premises servers are expensive to run due to their high energy consumption. This is particularly true in a business environment where more and more data are captured daily, and organizations are using data analytics to extract as many insights as possible. Servers are also extremely expensive to scale to meet shifting demands, requiring organizations to buy new server hardware and disk arrays.
In contrast, cloud service providers use advanced hardware technology to scale compute and storage resources with demand — both vertically and horizontally.
- Vertical cloud scaling: Scaling vertically means upgrading your servers with more compute, memory or input/output (I/O) power. In the context of cloud computing, this means having your cloud service provider increase the size or type of your instances.
- Horizontal cloud scaling: Scaling horizontally means provisioning additional servers to support changing needs. In the context of cloud computing, that means having your cloud service provider add additional instances.
Cloud helps organizations use hardware resources more efficiently, improving performance and lowering power consumption.
4. Access to AI-powered technologies
Technologies driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are now essential for many business operations. But processing mountains of data requires a degree of compute power most on-premises servers simply cannot handle.
Besides running data-intensive workloads, cloud computing can give organizations access to the latest technologies without the traditionally high upfront costs required to invest in on-premises hardware and software licenses.
Some businesses are even finding novel ways of bringing the benefits of cloud computing and AI to historically on-premises environments via edge technology.
5. Improved efficiency
Businesses are using cloud computing to facilitate Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Automation (BPA), which can improve employee productivity and increase operational cost-efficiency.
For example, low-code platforms leverage the cloud to help users establish automation processes without taking up the time of valuable IT resources. Further, API integrations in the cloud allow companies to customize solutions by combining various cloud applications and syncing data in real-time.
6. Lower data processing and storage costs
The ability to make data-driven decisions in near real-time is critical for businesses that need to agilely respond to shifting market conditions and stay competitive. However, storing large amounts of data can be costly if you have to buy servers and pay for the physical space to house them.
For organizations who don’t want to be in the data center business, cloud computing offers various data storage options. For example, cloud enables businesses to move old data to lower-cost archiving and cold storage services, which can significantly reduce costs without the need to worry about physical hardware.
7. Enhanced security and disaster recovery
The various costs associated with security breaches, downtimes and data losses are skyrocketing. Meanwhile, it’s getting more challenging to stay compliant with increasingly stringent data privacy regulations and protections (e.g., HIPAA, GDPR, PCI-DSS).
Reputable cloud service providers have dedicated experts to ensure their platforms are secure and compliant at all times. Moreover, cloud platforms feature built-in redundancies and comprehensive backup and recovery plans that can minimize the impact of data loss caused by manmade or natural disasters.
While cloud environments are certainly not exempt from security challenges, they also offer an opportunity to tackle common security threats in ways that can set your organization up for success down the road.
Optimizing the many benefits of cloud migration
Savvy organizations should keep these seven unexpected benefits in mind when planning their cloud migration. After all, it won’t be long before other organizations catch on and we see the next rush of development in cloud computing.
For example, we predict workforce mobility will continue to expand across industries as corporate environmental footprints come under increased global and regional scrutiny. Plus, the processing, transfer and storage of ever-increasing amounts of data will force organizations to implement more scalable and cost-effective solutions.
Meanwhile, the fast pace at which new technologies evolve and the increasing need for automation will continue the trend toward making siloed, on-premises software licensing models obsolete. Moreover, data privacy and IT security will grow only more critical to ensuring business resilience, especially as more organizations shift the burden of data protection and regulatory compliance to cloud service providers.
Choosing the right cloud platform
Just because cloud computing offers many benefits does not mean it should become an abstract concept for business and IT leaders — even if your organization is already well-positioned on its journey to cloud maturity. It’s important to remember that cloud processes are still handled by physical hardware, so the cloud platform you choose and the technology that powers it matter more than ever.
As such, WWT recommends choosing a cloud platform built on trusted technology hardware that delivers reliable, scalable and workload-optimized performance across enterprise applications. We also recommend exploring the various cloud “as-a-service“ models, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), to ensure you are getting the right level of support and resources for you unique needs.
Using cloud services built on a dependable foundation is the key to optimizing workloads, achieving the highest cost-efficiency, and meeting business requirements as you reap the long-term benefits of the latest cloud tech. That's why at WWT, our deployments typically run on Intel architecture. In fact, the majority of our on-premises servers, data centers and cloud service provider technology in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) are powered by Intel Xeon® Scalable processors, specially designed for high-performance computing (HPC) and other demanding data center applications.
To learn more about the many benefits of cloud computing, check out this roundtable discussion hosted by the popular This Week in Tech (TWiT) podcast about The Future of Tech in Cloud.