Networking at the Edge: Simplify your Network Topology for a Growing Remote Workforce

Bryson Hopkins
Networking at the Edge: Simplify your Network Topology for a Growing Remote Workforce

This blog was originally posted on 4/12/17 and has been updated and republished.

Networking at the edge has always been about enabling global user collaboration and engagement across multiple networks, mobile and social channels. But today’s network administrators are faced with a new challenge caused by COVID-19, which has sent millions of workers all over the world home to telecommute via virtual private networks (VPNs). To support increasing amounts of remote workforce data traffic, organizations must ramp-up their network performance, security and scalability with even more urgency to meet these escalating requirements.

These new demands on today’s traditional network infrastructure can feel overwhelming, if not impossible to manage. Applications such as unified communications and collaboration (UCC) were already strained under their normal loads. Increasing network capacity is only part of the solution. These applications require lower latency, and you can get it by shortening the physical distance between your global applications, data, clouds and distributed users.

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Re-architect for a digital edge and simplify your topology

The answer to this complexity is to re-architect for a digital edge and simplify your network topology by deploying an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA™) strategy. An IOA is a proven and repeatable architectural framework that directly and securely connects people, locations, clouds and data.

Deploy digital edge nodes

 To accelerate your IOA strategy, we offer a “IOA Network Blueprint.” This guide lays out the steps you can take to address latency, bandwidth and security issues by deploying a more distributed network infrastructure out at your enterprise’s digital edge, where population centers (customers, employees, partners) and digital ecosystems (clouds, mobile, social networks, B2B partners) meet.

The blueprint shows you how to rethink your network architecture and move many of your digital business/IT functions from a centralized, core enterprise network to strategically located, distributed network “edge nodes.” This will help you enhance network performance, resiliency, scalability and security. Each edge node is strategically placed geographically close to customers and dense ecosystems of partner systems, cloud services and network provider peering points.

Network Blueprint Diagram

You can tailor digital edge nodes for network and traffic types that must be localized/regionalized, optimized and segmented. Most likely you would deploy edge nodes in major global metropolitan areas with high user traffic and data density, where a business presence would be a strategic advantage. Then you can cross connect your colocated systems with partners, cloud services and network providers over direct, proximate, high-speed links. Finally, you can interconnect all the edge nodes via optimized WAN connections.

Dense partner, cloud and network provider ecosystems offer not only fast cross connects, they lower the interconnection cost compared to connecting over expensive, long-distance MPLS or the public internet. Cloud and network provider choice also inevitably leads to lower network costs at the same time as it slashes latency dramatically, often by 80% or more.

The IOA Network Blueprint lays out an overall LAN/WAN strategy that brings the two together and the design principles and topologies required to get there, including:

  • localizing and optimizingtraffic
  • segmenting trafficflows
  • deploying multi-cloud connectivity
  • off-loading internet traffic at theedge
  • connecting to business partner and customer digitalecosystems

Aggregating connectivity at a colocation edge node and securely cross connecting segmented traffic flows can deliver dramatic benefits in sustainable cost reduction, improved performance and enhanced security.

If you are ready to begin architecting for the digital edge now, contact an Equinix Global Solutions Architect.

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Bryson Hopkins Former Senior Director, Global Solutions Enablement
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