Supporting distributed workforces with essential applications, until recently a concern primarily for larger enterprises, is now a fact of life for nearly all organizations. The global e-commerce movement has dramatically expanded organizations’ ability to do business in any region of the world, typically necessitating local workforces for such functions as support, service and marketing. And the COVID-19 pandemic put an exclamation point on one of the most transformative issues of commerce—remote work.
Ten years ago, fewer than one in 10 employees worked at home. By early 2020—just before the pandemic made its impact—that figure was up to 35%. Moving into 2021 and beyond, there is little doubt that most employees will work at least part-time remotely. This has serious implications for how organizations deploy and support business-critical applications, with those applications needing to be available at all times—and securely—in an increasingly distributed setting.
Creating a standardized data architecture
In order to enable the availability, responsiveness and performance of business-critical applications for an increasingly distributed workforce, enterprise IT professionals must be sure that they can address a range of potential challenges, including:
- Managing costs
- Ensuring secure access
- Delivering consistent performance at scale
- Offering architectural flexibility
One of the first things organizations can do to prepare for a standardized data architecture is to conduct a full audit of all applications in their portfolio. In many cases, you may find that there are web-based applications available that will help to immediately modernize and streamline business-critical applications right off the bat. Enterprise Resource Planning is a great example: On-premises ERP typically takes a year, and often costs millions of dollars, to implement, and upgrading legacy ERP is a back-breaker. Anything that can be done to move a traditional on-premises application, which now must be used across a distributed enterprise, to a service-based model will ease the burden and help pave the way for a standardized data architecture.
Benefits of a unified data stack
Achieving this “unified data stack” is a big step forward to enabling business-critical applications to run at top performance and with simplified management whether the data—and its users—are headquartered in a traditional facility or are spread out around the globe and in different technology architectures.
This swing from centralized, on-prem-based activities to distributed/remote work demands consistent data access, behavior and flow among all groups, regardless where they are located and how they access essential applications and their data. Research and consulting company Gartner notes that the shift toward cloud and edge computing puts added pressure on organizations to develop and support a new type of data management that facilitates access to data at any time and in any place.
Edge computing, in particular, is fast becoming a major force in ensuring access to business-critical applications in a distributed environment. As more and more workloads start from the edge, such as the Internet of Things, huge data volumes from essential applications must be sent, received and shared across the distributed enterprise. This can put major strain on IT service delivery to remote and other distributed workers without a standardized data architecture, as well as a cloud storage management framework to ease complexity.
NetApp’s approach to a common data management platform
NetApp’s cloud storage solutions lineup is based on a common data management architecture to facilitate availability, performance and security of enterprise applications across a distributed architecture. NetApp’s cloud storage is driven by CloudVolumes ONTAP, a cloud data storage management framework for consistent file storage experience and performance, regardless of which public cloud service an organization uses.
Data synchronization, compliance, backup, archiving and recovery all are essential elements to NetApp’s family. This broad and deep portfolio of solutions is designed to ensure that increasingly distributed organizations do not run into availability, performance or governance issues as data moves. From the data center to the cloud to the edge—and back again—data is stored and managed by NetApp solutions to promote performance, economy, security and flexibility.
For more information on how NetApp solutions support business-critical applications for distributed environments, please visit https://www.netapp.com/enterprise-applications.