The current digital transformation initiative is opening opportunities for a new type of workforce — one where the ability to have remote employees and locations is pivotal. Digital transformation is also radicalizing how we conceptualize the enterprise network. For example, the network and internet are increasingly becoming one. To be successful, branch locations and remote workers need an all-access network and a flexible work environment that they can depend on.
The challenge is to establish a network experience that is simple, secure, and dependable. The bigger challenge is to build a cloud-based network that is dependable even when the internet goes down. In order to feel comfortable converting to a fully virtual workplace, there are certain foundational elements that need to be adjusted to ensure security, reliability, and efficiency. But there are too many devices, too many boxes, and too many access points. Where does one begin?
Don’t Forget to Start at the Beginning
To start creating a virtual workplace, we can’t forget to start with the basics. Too often, enterprises are eager to adopt cloud-based solutions, without considering how their platforms will evolve as well. Without a cloud-native foundation, enterprises will continue to run into troubles down the line. A cloud-native DDI solution can be an integral first step.
DDI — the shorthand acronym for three core network services: Domain Name Services (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and IP Address Management (IPAM) — is a fundamental component for network support. However, conventional DDI cannot support virtual workplaces. Traditionally, DDI platforms have been appliance-based and hosted in the corporate data center or virtualized and hosted in the cloud. When all enterprise applications were hosted internally, then the only destination for branch office traffic was the data center. Today, given the rise of cloud-based services for mission-critical functionality, almost one-third of enterprise branch office traffic goes directly to the cloud.
First, as applications and data continue to move to the cloud, it becomes increasingly critical that they are accessible from anywhere without performance penalties. Employees in New York and Seattle should see no difference in performance when accessing their cloud-based applications. Clients in Japan should not see German web pages.
Second, without local survivability, the ability for businesses to function when the internet goes down, virtual workplaces are doomed to fail. For example, say you have a manufacturing plant or a retail store in Ohio, and your HQ is in Florida. If a hurricane hits Florida, and workers in Ohio cannot access their phones or point-of-sale systems, all work comes to a standstill, costing the company financial loss and brand reputation damage. With cloud-native DDI, when a natural disaster or another loss of internet occurs, work can persist, saving companies time and money.
Benefits of a Cloud-Native DDI
Moving DDI to the cloud is a cornerstone for establishing a virtual workplace. Today’s cloud DDI includes all the important assets of conventional DDI, like scalability, speed, and automation. However, now dependable access can be ensured anywhere, and still be locally survivable.
- Allows DNS queries to be resolved directly, without having to backhaul to a data center
- Allows enterprises to get the full value of their SD-WAN deployments and provides direct connections to public cloud platforms
- Allows for that simplicity of management to extend to additional layers of the enterprise edge
- Means you have the ability to integrate a DDI function with other cloud-native orchestration systems, like Kubernetes and Docker, giving you a more holistic approach to your migration workload management and lifecycle
Moving Forward: Possibilities Beyond Your Cloud-Native Foundation
Once you have a cloud-native foundation, you can prepare yourself for fully developing a virtual workspace. Having a cloud-native foundation has a trickling effect throughout the remainder of your network, leading you to an easier, more comprehensive network experience overall. Creating a virtual workplace isn’t just a niche or one-time thing, as more companies start shifting towards a fully remote model, this will be a process that will be relevant to everyone. Even now, in the transitional stages, where we can work at coffee shops, from home, and from airports, we have to make sure we have the foundational elements to keep our data safe and accessible. And as each business will have unique priorities when building a virtual workspace, a cloud-native DDI should be everybody’s priority.