Storage and Systems Practice Lead, Northdoor plc
In this blog post, Tom explores the latency issues that businesses typically encounter when trying to enable remote working at scale. By deploying products from the IBM Flash Storage family and designing a future-oriented storage infrastructure plan with support from Northdoor, businesses can speed up the responsiveness of their mission-critical systems and help remote workers increase productivity.
Over the past decade the number of employees working from home in the UK increased by more than 250,000 and of course this number has grown dramatically in recent months. Delivering a wide range of business benefits, including reduced costs, enhanced business continuity, increased employee retention and access to a wider talent pool, it’s no surprise that many more businesses are planning to continue with remote working even when normality returns.
To reap the rewards of telecommuting, companies must ensure that employees can work from home as productively as they can in an office environment—and this means giving employees fast, easy access the tools and information they need to thrive. But for a lot of organisations, especially businesses with large workforces and complex IT infrastructures, system latency represents a huge barrier to establishing a happy and productive remote workforce.
While businesses have little or no control over the internet connections their employees use to connect virtual workstations (a common source of latency issues), companies can accelerate overall system performance by enhancing the storage infrastructure that supports key applications and databases.
Indeed, enhancing storage is a great place to start for companies looking to expand their work from home capabilities, as high-performance storage infrastructure delivers a smooth, responsive user experience when employees are accessing core data and applications remotely. So, what type of storage delivers the best results for remote working?
Compared to traditional spinning disk infrastructure, flash storage offers significantly faster performance across the board—enabling IT teams to provide a seamless home working experience for all employees. Many IT leaders are already aware of the impressive performance benefits of flash storage, but have been reluctant to explore the technology, assuming that it will be too expensive or unsuitable for their storage needs.
Following a recent shake up of its IBM Flash Storage offering, IBM is helping more businesses harness the power of flash storage, irrespective of the volume of their data or the scope of their budget. By folding its mid-range Storwize offerings into the same family as its high-end IBM Flash System solutions, IBM is bringing flash storage technology to organisations of all types and sizes. These organisations will also benefit from the same feature-rich management software across every device in the product family.
Companies that make the move to flash storage will gain much more than improvements in performance. Thanks to its compact size, low heat output and high energy efficiency, businesses that deploy IBM Flash Storage typically enjoy lower energy bills and reduced data centre cooling costs—freeing up more resources that can be reinvested in specialised remote working applications.
Because flash storage is solid-state, it is much less likely to break or require replacement parts when compared with spinning disk infrastructure. As a result, system admins and IT maintenance teams are able to handle the vast majority of their infrastructure management workloads remotely. As we have witnessed in recent months, the more roles that businesses can make compatible with remote working, the more resilient these companies are in the face of unexpected disruption.
While the benefits of flash storage are clear to see, finding the right storage strategy for your business can be much more complex. For instance, some organisations will benefit from a hybrid mix of flash and disk storage hardware, while others will be better served by adopting a cloud-oriented storage policy.
As well as offering a wide range of flash storage devices that can easily integrate with cloud solutions, IBM provides a variety of flexible pricing plans that enable businesses to pay for the storage capacity they use. This helps businesses benefit from high-performance storage without requiring a large upfront investment.
Each business is unique, which is why Northdoor believes businesses will extract the most value from IBM Flash Storage by working with an experienced partner to configure and deploy new hardware. With decades of experience helping businesses enhance their IT infrastructure, Northdoor can help you start your flash storage journey.