Remote IT is Moving to the Top of the IT Whiteboard

Riverbed Briefing Note

Most of the focus in the enterprise is on the data center, but in reality most of the action is in the remote office/branch office (ROBO). ROBO is the new normal for most organizations. It allows them to be more agile and more competitive. But for IT planners it creates a new set of challenges. They struggle with how to provide disaster recovery, to quickly provision new services or new sites as business requirements may demand, reduce ROBO costs, provide ROBO with appropriate levels of support, maximizing ROBO productivity and optimizing ROBO application performance.

The ROBO Data Fragmentation Problem

Disaster Recovery (DR) is the top concern for organizations with ROBOs. In fact, Riverbed surveyed 2016 EMC World attendees and found that 54 percent of IT professionals consider DR their most pressing problem and 44 percent experience significant delays in recovering a ROBO location. The problem is that most ROBOs don’t typically have IT staff to make sure backups are completed successfully or to babysit a recovery operation.

Another concern is data fragmentation. Now, thanks to ROBOs along with mobile laptop and device users, an organization’s data is literally everywhere. Securing and protecting it is a critical action item for IT. The survey finds that 75 percent have a key objective of consolidating ROBO data back into the data center, which would help alleviate both DR and data fragmentation concerns.

The problem consolidating dispersed data is that there are so many devices capable of storing the data, and updating a single repository can be complicated and expensive. Turning to the cloud is not always the solution because many organizations need to tightly control data movement and others are becoming wise to the unpredictable costs and cumulative long-term expense of cloud storage.

The Riverbed Solution

Riverbed’s SteelFusion product helps organizations solve the ROBO IT problem. With SteelFusion, 100% of the organization’s ROBO data resides in the data center on the enterprise SAN, or a hybrid of data center and cloud-based storage, eliminating the need to ever backup data remotely. It is efficiently cached out to the ROBO locations as needed to a SteelFusion Edge, a hyperconverged appliance that combines a unique set of intelligent cache, virtualization and WAN optimization, purpose built to address many of the operational challenges inherent in ROBO IT. With all the data safely stored in the data center, the organization’s standard DR policies will protect remote data. At the same time the ROBO locations do not experience loss in performance because the most active data is local on the edge with writes acknowledged by the edge.

StorageSwiss Take

The ROBO concept will only continue to grow as organizations attempt to leverage a worldwide pool of talent instead of being limited to the available workforce in a single city. Protecting and maintaining productivity will be a high priority concern for IT. Addressing the problem now makes sense. SteelFusion seems to have many benefits. From a user experience perspective the ROBO employee typically realizes better performance and better uptime. From a data protection and disaster recovery standpoint, takes the DR concerns of ROBO off the table, making it one less thing that IT has to lose sleep over.

Eleven years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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