The UK Government is beginning to encourage workforces back into the office, however some companies are announcing permanent or at least long-term moves to remote working for staff. No one can predict what the future of work looks like in terms of how individual businesses will operate – but what’s certain is that everyone should be looking at their IT infrastructure to address future operations and business continuity needs.
Coronavirus presented an unwelcome opportunity to really put business continuity plans into practice. In the majority of cases, IT infrastructure had been set up to respond to a set of scenarios but no one could have predicted that, in a matter of days, we would see entire workforces told to work from home. Now, with operations shifted – possibly permanently – IT infrastructure needs to be highly scalable and controlled, in order to respond to and prepare for any and all scenarios for continuity into the future.
Now, I’m going to attempt to get through this blog without using the phrase ‘new normal’ so… buckle up!
There are a number of technologies which are proving to be heavyweights in the new…. erm… future of work. In this blog I’ve shared some thoughts on where organisations can adopt new capabilities for a more agile network infrastructure.
The idea of Edge Computing is to bring as much content, from applications to workloads, closer to the end user. This improves performance and reduces latency in transmitting data. Edge has become much more fashionable in recent times with IDC predicting that more than half of all cloud deployments will include edge computing in 2020.
Businesses that deploy edge computing architecture are subsequently able to save on bandwidth costs while the processing and storage of data is executed with greater speed allowing for better functionality across real-time applications.
When you look at a company’s ‘edge’ it’s really the end user – with nothing beyond mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones. And this is where it gets exciting. The future sees a huge change in the way we view edge user compute to create a more agile organisation. And that brings me nicely to my next point.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
VDI is undeniably an edge computing match made in heaven. From what I see this is the way that we’ve been heading, however the current situation has accelerated the move by about 3-5 years.
VDI farms bring so many benefits that it’s an absolute no brainer for businesses to adopt. An inconsistent edge is never static. With VDI farms, it doesn’t matter where your users are based and in terms of security there’s a natural break where users log in to your newly created consistent edge. VDIs are predominantly hosted in the cloud which brings organisations the ability to scale up and down on demand, create non-production environments, and test. VDI technology brings 100% accessibility to the organisation’s network, wherever the end user is based.
When using VDI the location of staff is no longer an issue. ‘Remote working’ will soon become an extinct term because the idea of being office based vs remote has been removed. This sets organisations up for agile continuity.
Let’s talk about the internet…
Many of you will be familiar with what I’m about to write because I am vocal on the need to reduce organisations’ reliance on the internet. I’ve looked under the hood and it’s not pretty. The internet is a finite resource and we have put it under immense strain. You only need to look at recent examples of systems being largely unable to cope with the peak in demand from remote users during the last 4-5 months. Local VPN technology and servers are typically only set up to host 10-20% of employee activity, which is no match for the current corporate environment as a result of the pandemic.
By transforming infrastructure with edge computing and VDI technology, you’re effectively reducing the bandwidth used by the entire business and this allows your applications to operate within the more secure and reliable limits of the business network. That will significantly alleviate headaches by reducing the over reliance on the internet for your network connectivity, including hybrid cloud and multicloud environments. This way, both resilience and reliability is vastly improved to adapt from heavy reliance on the internet alone.
Centralised secure connectivity – Distributed cloud edge capability
Some may argue with me on this – and I welcome the debate – but I speak for the team at Cloud Gateway when stating that centralised secure connectivity with distributed cloud edge capability will be a transformational asset for organisations in the move towards a more remote and flexible future of work. Unified by an edge network interconnection platform (ENIP), the edge will consist of distributed clouds which can be adjusted when needed, at any one place or time by those with secure, centralised access. No matter the size and scale of your business, remote or office-based, an edge strategy alongside a VDI farm will offer more intelligent models of connectivity today and into the future.
The implementation of an edge network interconnection platform (ENIP) will provide companies with the tools to construct their edge from the inside out and greater agility to adapt to internal needs in the future of work, while ensuring a robust security infrastructure. The time to take a promising stride into the future workplace using edge computing is now.