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Re-imagining Infrastructure to Support Remote Working

The question that used to encounter a consistent “no” seems to have finally garnered a consistent “yes”: Should people be allowed to work at home? When the pandemic hit, that question changed abruptly to: How can we support all our employees and contractors, no matter where they are working?

A Seismic Shift: Attitudes About Working From Home

In a recent press release, Gartner stated that “51% of global knowledge workers will be remote by the end of 2021,” and a Gallup survey in September found that 9 in 10 people want a hybrid workstyle. It seems clear that most people expect to continue working remotely at least part of the time. The case for doing so is even stronger when you consider that 77% say they are happier working from home and 75% are confident they are more productive there.

The reasons people prefer working from home include some you’d expect. On average they save 40 minutes commuting time each day. FlexJobs says the average person can save about $4000 per year by working remotely –  money saved on gas, lunches out, clothing and more. That’s a big number, and this article in Forbes points out that in addition to saving money, replacing the time it takes to get ready to go to the office plus a long commute with extra sleep and extra work boosts employees’ overall health and happiness even further.

With the Great Resignation underway, employees are calling the shots. Working remotely is here to stay.

Next question: Are you ready for long-term WFH?

Based on these and other survey results it’s clear WFH is here to stay. The increase in productivity is simply undeniable, and the company’s potential cost reductions have only begun to emerge.

Are you ready to support WFH and ensure it’s a workstyle that adds value to your organization?

Especially if you work in a large enterprise, it’s time to examine whether the available global infrastructure is ready to consistently handle the load with so many of your people working from home all or at least part of the time. Assuring resilient connectivity and minimal operating disruption is only part of the equation.

One of the challenges will be that the answer to the readiness question goes well beyond your own infrastructure.

Is the cloud ready?

If you ask companies how they were able to transition to WFH so quickly back in March 2020, some will give credit to their IT operation teams who had already transitioned many of their current resources to the cloud. Leveraging cloud infrastructure enabled many companies to relocate their personnel more swiftly while still providing robust access to business critical applications and data. Secure access, while a challenge at first, became more and more viable as time went on.

Today, as we begin to plan for a time beyond Covid we must also plan for an infrastructure beyond our own. How can we more effectively leverage the cloud as it exists today to provide the platform we’ll all need to propel our businesses forward?

To illustrate our own answer to this challenge, we spoke recently with Andy Knauf, CIO of engineering firm Mead & Hunt with more 900 employees located in more than 40 locations, and Petra Davidson, VP at Panzura, providers of “the most secure and easy-to-use cloud data management platform on the planet.”

Simplifying data access – Panzura in the cloud

Panzura’s award-winning global cloud file system CloudFS™ lets even the largest organizations use the cloud like it’s a high performance, globally available data center, making data accessible and durable without making copies. In this webinar, you can learn more about how Panzura and Workspot cloud solutions are game changers for organizations who use graphics-intensive apps.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS), the data storage mainstay for nearly 3 decades, is struggling to cope with escalating storage volumes. NAS is highly performant when situated close to the users accessing the files it stores, but becomes unworkably slow when remote users attempt to access it. Panzura’s CloudFS transforms complex, multi-component, and often multi-vendor environments into a simplified data management solution, while addressing cost reduction, risk mitigation, and operational complexity.

Panzura’s global cloud file system CloudFS provides a single authoritative data set held in cloud object storage, with immediate global data consistency and local-feeling file performance across all locations. Data from all legacy storage instances is consolidated, de-duped and compressed, significantly reducing the overall unstructured data footprint.

Delivering business agility – Workspot Cloud PCs

Workspot invented a completely new end-user-computing utility model, enabled by the Workspot Desktop Control Fabric™, a cloud-native, globally-distributed architecture that allows horizontal scalability across cloud regions in minutes. Today, the public cloud offers each customer the ability to run software in dozens of cloud regions worldwide – essentially every organization now has local access to these global data centers. These cloud regions are also connected using the best, fastest, and most reliable networks.

Just as Panzura performs far better the nearer it is physically located to the users, Workspot similarly provides significantly less latency by locating Cloud PCs in the cloud location nearest the user. Register for our webinar to hear what our customers think about this powerful solution.

IT teams, after choosing one or more public clouds, can leverage their technology choices for PC management tools and other processes, such as; security solutions, identity management, and multi-factor authentication. Our enterprise-proven, SaaS Cloud PC solution features multi-cloud support, customizable everything and exceptional performance. Together, these capabilities enable organizations to achieve unprecedented levels of business agility, which drives opportunity and growth.

Realworld: Workspot and Panzura Serve Mead & Hunt

Many of Mead & Hunt’s engineering professionals worked from their homes long before the Covid pandemic made it necessary. Their CIO, Andy Knauf, points out that they’ve been using Panzura since 2013 and Workspot since 2018, a combination he describes as “a great solution!”

Knauf explains that Panzura first led them to moving all their data up to the cloud. Then, as more engineers started wanting to work from home they found Workspot made it easy for them to deliver the kind of performance CAD engineers needed with the large files they had to frequently manipulate. “Thanks to Panzura,” explains Knauf, “we no longer needed to make remote users go back to on-prem servers, they could hit the cloud servers instead.”

His next challenge was to consistently provide excellent performance no matter where the engineer was located. By provisioning each user’s Workspot cloud workstation in the Azure region nearest to the user, this consistently delivered a low latency response time of 50 milliseconds or less – a great user experience.

“As long as you can get low latency,” points out Knauf, “you’re gonna have great performance. We now have a rock-solid system, and we can just plug in people wherever they’re at. I never have to worry about any new office anywhere. As long as there’s an Azure site within a couple of hundred miles, I’m good to go. And I think there’s 60 of them across the globe. So pretty much anywhere on the planet.”

The Planetary Cloud – A Re-Imagined Global Infrastructure

The key to the future infrastructure keeps the data in the cloud at all times. Panzura makes the cloud a global NAS capable of managing the data and distributing it to wherever it needs to be, keeping the most frequently used data in every location. Similarly, Workspot keeps the end user’s desktop image at that location for rapid, sub-50-millisecond delivery. The applications and data never leave the cloud. Instead, Workspot Cloud PCs provide remote access to users, where the only network traffic comes from compressed images of the desktop, keystrokes, and mouse movements. Users experience performance that rivals, and often exceeds, local area network performance.

To learn how your user community, working from wherever, can experience full access to all workloads with incredibly low latency and incredibly high resilience, schedule a demo and we’ll show you how it works!