Taking a step back, let us examine what really makes us unhappy about IT in our branches:
- Data center sprawl,
- Poor data security, and
- Poor administrative efficiency with high operating costs.
Now, taking a step forward, let us see what the Cloud can do for the branch office.
By consolidating branch office data in the Cloud, an organization can decouple data storage from application servers in remote offices. They can manage data more securely in the data hub and deliver it to branch offices via the WAN. Impregnable cryptographic algorithms that are defined at the headquarters can be used to prevent leaked data (if any) from making any kind of sense to the unauthorized.
Technology enabled by connectivity leading to productivity — this is the crux of what the Cloud can do for your branch office business. The Cloud today facilitates mobility, unified collaboration, computing, consolidation, collaboration, and virtualization. System efficiency fueled by server consolidation is the means. Both user experience and infrastructure efficiency are by-products.
At the core of the Cloud technology is server consolidation. The process involves relocating branch office servers to a centralized location and improving WAN performance through optimization to ensure same or improved levels of service delivery to the branch office. The process includes streamlining information through virtualization. The services that need to remain in the branch office can be consolidated into virtual machines that remain in a WAN dedicated appliance at the branch office. In short, edge application servers and storage are removed from the branch and centralized at the hub and booted over the WAN to perform as if it were a local server. Even disconnected applications can be allowed branch access.
The end result of the exercise is the creation of a super-optimized network that confers a number of visible and invisible gains on the branch offices. For instance, documents are delivered to the branch office at LAN speeds and the most up-to-date documents are available for everyone (at the main offices and the branches) to work on. Mobile workers can access information from wherever they are, without experiencing disruptive network latency and other related problems. The network ceases to be a mere connecting pipe and becomes a mesh where every device is connected to every other device on the network without compromising speed, security or efficiency.