4 Steps to Re-Architecting IT for the Digital Edge

IDC defines digital transformation as the “process of creating value, growth and competitive advantage through new digital offerings, new digital business models and new digital business relationships.” One success criteria for digital transformation is to adopt an interconnection-first architecture that will enable you to de-centralize IT and networking and establish a more distributed, interconnected “digital edge.”

We’ve written extensively in Interconnections about an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy and why it’s vital for digital transformation and critical, in particular, for enabling companies to establish a digital edge. An IOA strategy is a proven and repeatable architectural framework that directly and securely connects people, locations, clouds and data. It is being used by more than 8,000 companies and is allowing today’s enterprise and service providers to re-architect their IT infrastructures so that they’re no longer siloed and fixed, but integrated and dynamic.

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An IOA strategy shatters the misconception that you can’t do anything about physical distance. It enables you to shorten the distance between your users, applications and data. It helps you localize traffic and services across worldwide locations and markets and access regionalized network and cloud services to quick-start your business. By leveraging digital ecosystem exchanges, you can access multiple network, cloud and SaaS providers, as well as a wealth of vertical industry partners. And placing data and analytics adjacent to each other and the applications that require them improves response times and increases scalability, while maintaining data compliance and reducing the amount of data that travels over less-than-secure private and public networks.

As discussed in the webinar, “Interconnection Oriented Architecture and IT Transformation” featuring industry experts from Equinix, Gartner and GE, organizations can best meet the performance needs of more dynamic, digital applications and workloads by moving IT to the edge.

Blueprints for Success

To accelerate your IOA strategy, leverage customizable interconnection blueprints to help you determine how to best re-architect your organization’s network and edge IT infrastructure. IOA blueprints lay out how your organization can make your IT architecture more edge-centric by integrating “edge nodes” that flatten and simplify your network topology, enabling you to deploy a hybrid IT footprint of on-premises and cloud infrastructures that scales to meet your IT service delivery capabilities and resources.

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Start with a winning playbook

A good place to start learning how to deploy an IOA strategy and access the IOA blueprints you need to speed your path is the IOA Playbook, Architecting for the Digital Edge. The playbook lays out how to become a digital business by implementing four interconnection blueprints: network, security, data and application.

tony3The Network Blueprint gives you the steps you need to localize and optimize traffic, segment traffic flows, establish hybrid and multi-cloud connectivity, offload the internet to the edge and connect to digital ecosystems. It helps you leverage multiple connectivity options to build a mesh among edge nodes that maximizes bandwidth while balancing cost. You will also be able to directly and securely connect to multiple clouds at the edge to minimize the distance between your customers, employees and partners. All this aggregated local connectivity maximizes performance, increases security and reduces cost, with an average 85% reduction in WAN latency when bypassing the internet.

The Security Blueprint helps you localize security at the edge by taking steps that include:

  • Extending your boundary control
  • Creating an inspection zone
  • Implementing policy administration and enforcement
  • Deploying identity and key management
  • Leveraging security analytics and logging to allow for safe bi-directional and international traffic among clouds, partners and users

When you localize security at the edge, you get the same latency and performance advantages as you do when you locate other IT infrastructures there.

The Data Blueprint describes how you can place latency-sensitive data in proximity to the edge services that need it. Your analytics should also be at the edge to give you real-time performance and security, particularly when dealing with monetized data and compliance and privacy regulations. You can still manage inventory and metadata information centrally, while protecting your other data locally. By locating your data, clouds and analytics at the edge, you minimize latency, data loss and theft risks and ensure data residency and compliance.

The Application Blueprint provides you with the steps to move application services with latency- or volume-driven workloads to the edge, near the cloud and the other components with which they need to interact. This includes implementing API management, creating messaging pipelines, applying distributed coordination, leveraging complex event processing and introducing predictive algorithmic services. APIs provide the building blocks for application assembly and lifecycle management. Messaging pipelines bring integration and cohesion to the flow across services. Coordination and governance keep everything running, and analytics can infer complex events and predict the need for automated actions.

If you want additional guidance on how to get from where you are to an IOA strategy, check out the IOA Knowledge Base. This open community site shows you how to execute an IOA strategy and how to best design a tailored digital edge for your business.

Download the IOA Playbook and get started toward the digital edge.