Nearly two-thirds of high-growth companies are turning to hybrid work arrangements. Employees are not the only ones moving away from or staying out of traditional population centers. Customers are migrating out of some major cities, requiring companies to leverage the cloud to deliver apps and services directly to end users. Companies will spend upwards of $330 billion on remote networking this year alone to support these new phenomena.
However, while companies are starting to deploy a cloud-first strategy for remote networking, the reality for many remains hybrid.
Hybrid infrastructures are important for their ability to power a modern customer and employee experience. At the heart of modern hybrid customer experiences is hardware that requires dedicated attention.
Hybrid infrastructures must be resilient
Schneider Electric offered a glimpse at a hybrid customer experience in action. Before the pandemic, potential customers traveled to our facility to learn about products and see solutions first-hand. When in-person meetings vanished from our routine, we had to adapt.
With a host and TV cameras, we turned our executive center into a studio for virtual meetings. In the comfort of their home office, prospective customers received the same interactive experience they’d enjoy in person.
Our on-premise network, in conjunction with our cloud-based digital collaboration platform, allowed us to produce latency-free content for sales meetings. The cloud enabled us to reach distributed customers.
The transformed executive center is a major success story for us. Yet, before we could even consider arranging that customer experience, we had to ensure our physical hardware was operating properly.
Four ways to keep physical hardware running smoothly
Many organizations already have distributed data centers to complement their centralized network. Organizations that embraced hybrid infrastructures set themselves up for long-term success. Now, they must fortify these systems to ensure long-term resiliency.
As business leaders guide their companies in a hybrid strategy and even out to the edge, they can follow four best practices to ensure the physical health of their networks.
- Check the data center environment. Take inventory of equipment, its age and functionality, which should inform the likelihood of future failure. This is especially important to update equipment in distributed and edge data centers, as those locations will require additional monitoring and maintenance considerations.
- Outsource monitoring and maintenance responsibilities. It’s not possible for companies to have staff at every edge processing station or distributed data center. Those locations must still be monitored and maintained despite their more remote locations or staffing challenges.
- Work with a managed services provider. It may be in an organization’s best interest to leave energy management and asset optimization to experts. Service provider partners come equipped with solutions specifically designed to keep infrastructure running, so companies can focus instead on their core competencies.
- Answer the following questions: Are hyperscale data centers in the right place? Are regional data centers in the right place? Is the backbone for data sufficient? For example, data transmission lines going out from cell towers typically aren’t sufficient for carrying the volume of data to customers that will be required in the future. This fact is why we are starting to see more interconnected infrastructures (cell towers that come together with internet throughput).
Data center health must be at the core of any hybrid strategy
Hybrid is a way of life; this likely isn’t a revelation for many. What may be surprising are the steps companies must take to secure their physical infrastructure within a hybrid future. Headlines and recommendations focus on selecting the right cloud provider or application delivery tool and “Digital transformation” and “cloud migration” garner much of today’s decision-maker attention. Far less information exists to explain the work that goes into shoring up the backbone of a distributed network.
Despite the focus on more eye-catching nomenclature, data center health must be at the core of any hybrid strategy. Without properly maintained and updated equipment, it will be impossible for companies to extend beyond their centralized networks to meet customers and employees on their terms.