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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 most common cloud migration benefits that organizations enjoy when they move their applications and workloads to the cloud, including:

  • Speeding up application time-to-market
  • Simplified, more secure applications
  • Accelerating innovation
  • Reducing costs

However, it's helpful to understand some less-heralded benefits when deciding whether cloud migration is right for your organization.

What is cloud migration?

Cloud migration means moving your digital assets, applications, databases, IT resources and services into the cloud. This process is most commonly related to moving away from inefficient legacy infrastructures, such as aging servers, outdated hardware and software, and unreliable firewall appliances. But it can also refer to moving data from one cloud into another.

Choosing a cloud migration strategy requires careful planning and execution to ensure a new platform is compatible with your organization's needs. Therefore, before migrating to the cloud, you need to understand that the journey isn't simply about how to get there but what to do when you get there. These considerations include options available to ensure the optimal performance of cloud-based applications and when to lift and shift to the cloud.

Unexpected benefits of moving to the cloud

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 cloud migration benefits that organizations are experiencing when they move all or parts of their operations to the cloud.

1. Improved 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. The cloud enables users to update files and share information in real time, improving communication and collaboration levels while minimizing costly errors and delays. Even as offices 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. These providers' offerings enable you to 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, cloud services enable you to do more with less. These cloud migration benefits can be game changing if you 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 is 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 you 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 migration benefits include helping you to 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 AI and cloud migration benefits to historically on-premises environments via edge technology.

5. Improved efficiency

Businesses are increasingly using cloud computing to facilitate new technologies like 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

Making data-driven decisions in near real-time is critical to quickly 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.

Cloud computing offers various data storage options that ensure you don't have to get into the data center business to reap cloud migration benefits. For example, you can move old data to lower-cost archiving and cold storage services, which can significantly reduce costs without having to worry about physical hardware.

7. Enhanced security and disaster recovery

The various costs associated with security breaches, downtimes and data losses are skyrocketing as cyber threats become more prevalent and sophisticated. Meanwhile, it's also getting more challenging to comply with increasingly stringent data privacy regulations and protections, such as HIPAA, GDPR and PCI-DSS.

Reputable cloud service providers have dedicated experts to ensure their platforms are always secure and compliant. Moreover, cloud platforms feature built-in redundancies and comprehensive backup and recovery plans that can minimize the impact of data loss caused by human error 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 cloud migration benefits

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, workforce mobility is set to 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.

The rapid pace of technology evolution and the increasing need for automation will continue the trend toward making siloed, on-premises software licensing models obsolete. Data privacy and IT security will be increasingly critical to ensuring business resilience as you shift the burden of your data protection and regulatory compliance to cloud service providers.

Choosing the right cloud platform

The many cloud migration benefits don't mean it should become an abstract concept for business and IT leaders, even if your organization is already well-positioned on the 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 matters 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 your 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 cloud migration benefits. That's why at WWT, our deployments typically run on Intel architecture. 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. And discover how prepared your organization is for reaping cloud migration benefits with our readiness assessment workshop.

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