3 Hidden Benefits of Cloud HPC

Companies are moving to high-performance computing (HPC) in the cloud for access to flexible, varied, pay-per-use HPC resources.  At the same time, they don’t have to manage these assets or spend a massive amount of capital and time to deploy them.  Moving simulations to cloud HPC resources enables companies to take advantage of a wide variety of standard and specialty hardware at previously unimaginable scales.  Utilizing the cloud can unlock the potential of engineering staff and drive innovation to the next level.  As cloud HPC matures, these obvious benefits are driving movement to the cloud for HPC workloads.  But often overlooked are other benefits that are less obvious harder to quantify. However, they represent the truly transformative power of the cloud.  In this post, I’m going to look at three often overlooked but transformational benefits of moving to the cloud.

1. Recruiting and retaining top engineering talent
Many companies find that having access to the power of the cloud aids in recruiting and retaining top engineering talent. No matter what the trade, technicians want the best tools for the job.  Just as the race team with the fastest car will surely attract the most capable drivers, the organization that offers the best tools will be able to attract the best talent.  Companies that give their teams access to the depth and breadth of simulation capability available in the cloud are preventing dissatisfaction with the current hardware environment.  As new technology becomes available, engineers can access the market’s latest technology without having to wait for existing in-house resources to fully depreciate.  This has had a noticeable effect on a company’s ability to attract and keep the best talent.  As one global CIO recently stated during a panel at a recent cloud conference, “You won’t get the great players if you are on traditional infrastructure.”

2. Organizational agility
Another often overlooked benefit is the overall flexibility the cloud brings to an organization.  To deliver innovative ideas or break new ground, companies and their employees need access to the latest technology, but capital investment can be a painful (and risky) decision.  Once organizations set aside money and endure a lengthy procurement process, they then face the struggle of staffing to handle the transition without disrupting current workload.  With the cloud, organizations can quickly access assets on demand.  Additionally, they can scale their existing workloads to decrease simulation time and run concurrent simulations so their teams can accomplish day-to-day tasks faster and have more time to focus on the tasks that will keep them viable in the future. This agility and responsiveness is what allows organizations to take their products to the next level.

The best thing about the advantages described above is that you don’t have to fully migrate to the cloud to realize them.  Organizations with existing on-premise HPC resources can continue to use them.  When they need to enable a talented engineer or push out a new product, they can burst into the cloud.  To do this, it is important that the cloud provider be turnkey and not require significant long term commitments for usage. (P.S. Rescale is and doesn’t!)

3. Focus on organizational core competencies, not IT
Finally, the cloud allows your organization to focus on its core business.  You may build airplanes or automobiles or you may design drugs or artificial intelligence tools, but you are not an IT company.  Organizations have become accustomed to spending a large amount of time and money ensuring the right compute resources are available to support their core business.  In the past, they had no choice.  Fully leveraging the cloud allows organizations to focus on the key strategic objectives that drive their business and leave the maintenance and management of necessary resources to the people that make those resources their main business.  Your IT team can stop focusing on supporting employee-centric processes and start focusing on customer-centric, revenue-generating activity.

These hidden benefits of moving to the cloud won’t easily show up in a ROI calculation.  It is difficult to quantify the true value of these intangible aspects.  That said, the tangible benefits are often enough to justify a move to the cloud.  However, once an organization makes the transition to the cloud, these benefits will manifest automatically.  They may not show up in direct numbers on the P&L, but you will know they are there when you see long-term lift in core business objectives like market share and profitability.

This article was written by JJ Jones.