From banking to healthcare to retail, many organizations establish remote and branch offices (ROBO) to enter new markets or offer local and convenient services. For many of these enterprises, however, it’s a real challenge to provide IT support to these locations, especially with a centralized IT management team. Because of their small size, many remote and branch offices don’t have dedicated IT staff or adequate physical infrastructure to support traditional IT hardware. This makes it difficult to deliver IT consistently and efficiently across all sites while keeping up with rapid business expansion and trying to control costs.
Quickly connecting remote and branch offices to the enterprise, however, is essential to advancing operational agility. Organizations need a new approach to software deployment and management that quickly and consistently provides access to corporate information, enabling branch employees to work as if they are situated within corporate headquarters.
By embracing a full-fledged software-defined approach, businesses can ease IT deployment and management challenges for their remote and branch offices, enable repeatability of service delivery, and support an infrastructure that can flex to meet ever-changing business needs.
Extending IT to All Locations
Case in point is a U.S.-based investment management organization we recently worked with. While the company had made a significant investment across its remote footprint, its remote IT was crumbling under ever-growing demands because of its reliance on legacy hardware and network architecture. We worked with the company to shift toward a hyperconverged infrastructure service that we call “remote and branch office as a service,” or ROBOaaS. The service, which leverages Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure, encompasses compute, storage and software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) components, made available on-demand.
Because ROBOaaS enables seamless integration with SD-WAN, the investment management organization was able to improve performance by leveraging its existing network infrastructure.
ROBOaaS can help growing businesses streamline delivery of IT services, accelerate deployment of applications and systems, increase infrastructure quality and address other edge network needs, as well as deliver IT services to remote offices more reliably and securely. With a high degree of scalability, enterprises can focus on expansion without having to worry about provisioning IT to each and every branch.
What’s more, a simplified global management system removes the need for hiring and training local IT staff, leading to a high degree of efficiency and cost savings.
The Elements of ROBOaaS
The key components of ROBOaaS include:
- Hyperconverged infrastructure: At the heart of ROBOaaS is a turnkey modular hardware design, virtualization and automation, a compact footprint, centralized management, a highly-available architecture, and a full-stack, cloud-like environment with flexible data protection options. When layered on top of software-defined networks, which deliver greater WAN efficiency and data optimization, enterprises can make their remote office IT infrastructure as robust as within their headquarters operations.
- Commercial viability: With its consumption-based commercial model and predictable pricing, ROBOaaS is an economically and technically feasible choice for both large and small businesses. The system’s plug-and-play infrastructure helped one of our large BFS customers by delivering a three-times improvement in its total cost of ownership for infrastructure, with up to 30-times faster time to value, and a vast improvement in recovery time objective (RTO), from days to minutes.
- Flexibility and customization. Organizations require different levels of expertise to assess, design, deploy, manage and optimize the IT environment for each remote or branch office. Because a ROBOaaS solution must be easily modified to suit the precise needs of the business and its customers, service providers need to be adept at providing value-added services, such as automation, operations, reporting, monitoring, management and end-point protection.
Bringing ROBOS into the Fold
With ROBOaaS, distributed enterprises benefit from unprecedented levels of network visibility, control and performance while improving application and integrated service management. Additional benefits include a single point of ownership from the service provider, a flexible and utility-based consumption model, scale at will, lower total cost of ownership and streamlined provisioning. As a managed service, ROBOaaS also allows for increased IT security and compliance delivered to remote and branch offices.
By combining a single point of ownership and accountability with the scalable and cost-efficient hyperconverged infrastructure of companies such as Nutanix, today’s distributed enterprises can operate as more effective digital businesses of tomorrow.