Consolidating remote offices


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Management controls
It's revealing that 52% of respondents say their top remote/branch IT challenge is proper management of the infrastructure. This response held constant across all deployment sizes and industries. Management controls have taken on more importance as storage managers grapple with growing and more complex remote-office deployments. Typical management issues include questions about security controls and whether various products can be managed through a common interface.

The issues of management controls are 100% distinct from resource consolidation, even though many vendors lump the two concepts together. By separating management controls from storage consolidation, you have more flexibility as to how you can structure your ROBO infrastructure. For example, it's possible to have centralized controls over remote/branch data processes, security processes and apps, but still have them all remain locally deployed at remote/branch locations as in a typical Windows DFS-based deployment.

Regarding desirable product attributes, 51% of users say they're interested in centralized management controls. To drive this point home, in the same question, 58% of all respondents checked integration capabilities as a desirable feature, indicating the importance of weaving a new technology in with an existing infrastructure.

One of the key areas where this integration and management control matters most is security (see "

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ROBO security issues"), especially as some next-generation remote/branch IT solutions begin to span and converge multiple technologies such as network compression, app acceleration, WAFS and app integration. An aggregate 46% of respondents list pervasive security controls as one of the top two critical factors in their potential remote/branch IT deployment, second only to mission-critical reliability (see "Top two features a ROBO technology must possess").

This was first published in June 2007

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