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How to Build a Work-from-Home Infrastructure That Performs

Laurence James
Laurence James

Support your business needs with a work from home infrastructure This year, we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Douglas Adams’ great series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which boldly stated on the front cover “DON’T PANIC.” That‘s good advice as, collectively, we quickly evolve to work effectively against a backdrop of uncertainty. 

We’re only 3 months into 2020, and every business, school, and government agency—not to mention every person, every family, and every community—is undergoing a radical shift in priorities. The top priority for many of us is the transformation of our homes into offices and schools. We’re struggling to learn new platforms, form new routines, and maintain a modicum of normalcy.

Technology underpins this new normal, and we’re subject to its usual limitations and teased by its potential. Reliability, performance, security, and the availability of data and applications are the North Star. With the number of new at-home workers and students in the tens of millions, companies are shoring up their infrastructure to support new users while meeting basic expectations for performance.

According to Gartner, “54% of HR leaders in our snap poll indicated that poor technology and/or infrastructure for remote working is the biggest barrier to effective remote working.”1

This is where IT vendors like NetApp can help. We understand the requirements of standing up remote-work infrastructures with end-user computing (EUC) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) applications, and we’re here, ready to help.

  • I need to get up and running quickly. With cloud-based EUC and VDI applications like Windows Virtual Desktop and Citrix you can support thousands of users with just a few clicks. Azure NetApp® Files and Cloud Volumes Service help you manage shared storage resources across cloud vendors and regions, so that you can overcome challenges associated with the cloud. These challenges include migrating persistent desktops and home directory data from the company’s premises, supporting roaming users from cloud region to cloud region, vendor lock-in, and hybrid VDI requirements. 
  • I need to reliably support thousands of users.  NetApp and Cisco have partnered to deliver FlexPod® VDI, an on-premises solution that includes all the hardware components you need to support virtual desktop and learning environments. FlexPod VDI is a simple, secure platform used by many large organizations to support remote workers. You can start with a solution to support 500 concurrent users and then scale up to support your entire organization.
  • I need to support a complex environment and advanced applications.  If you’re faced with a dynamic, diverse range of user types (task users, knowledges users, power users), 3D applications like CAD or medical imaging, or unpredictable workloads with huge spikes in activity, NetApp HCI delivers scalable VDI resources with flexible compute (GPU and CPU) and storage options (block, file, object) and dynamic QoS for multi-app environments to avoid "noisy-neighbor" issues.
If this seems like a lot to think about, don’t panic. During this crisis, we’ve already seen customers stand up environments supporting thousands of workers in less than 24 hours.   To learn about other strategies that you can employ to deliver business continuity during this crisis, visit our new webpage.  

And if you’re looking for the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, remember the answer of Douglas Adams’ Deep Thought Super Computer:  42.
Wiles, Jackie. “With Coronavirus in Mind, Is Your Organization Ready for Remote Work?” Smarter With Gartner. Accessed April 1, 2020.

Laurence James

Laurence is responsible for driving market awareness for NetApp’s products across EMEA. His focus is on business growth and aligning NetApp’s offerings with customer and market needs. Laurence works across all of NetApp’s products and has an in-depth understanding of diverse customer requirements to deliver value across the entire range of the product suite. Working with a dedicated and experienced team, he now assists in developing and implementing campaigns that support the positioning of NetApp’s Cloud Infrastructure products. Laurence has many years’ experience working with all aspects of Enterprise IT and held roles at Oracle, Sun Microsystems and StorageTek. For nearly 20 years he was Principal IT Consultant at the UK Meteorological Office.

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