Digital Transformation: Managing the capacity for remote work

More companies across Africa are now deploying digital transformation as a result of ongoing global events, that have forced them to become innovative as to where their workloads reside.

Within this, there is a clear need to get additional capacity from an ICT environment, to support the sudden increase in remote workers, as well as concern around the management of datacentres when physical access to infrastructure is limited.

This has resulted in a shift in customer buying patterns as more organisations are continually gearing up for the workload demands on critical applications. For its part, NetApp is working with its partners to help ensure products get to where they are needed most.

It is a brave new world which has shifted the conversation of when digital transformation will happen – to how it is happening. Our recently launched Inspire Africa programme is placing workloads within the digital realm under the microscope. Not only must we partner with vendors like NetApp on how to support customers, but we as Comstor need to be inventive in how we deliver solutions to partners.

Anthony Njoroge, Product Manager at Comstor Africa

It is a workload tango, between the cloud and on-premise solutions and organisations need to optimise their existing investments fully. When it comes to NetApp, the vendor is providing the built-in tools that support data security, remote access, and virtual desktop infrastructure. It also offers reliability, performance, and the availability of data and applications as a core component of its offering. In short, it is offering companies the tools they need to equip the vast amounts of remote workers with a foundation built on reliable infrastructure that supports them while also delivering on the basic expectations for performance.

Work demands

Research shows that most companies plan on moving at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions in the post-lockdown landscape. This indicates how decision-makers are realising that technology and society have evolved to make this a more viable option. It also helps mitigate the risks associated with companies unable to physically open their doors but still having productive employees who can keep operations going from their homes.

However, this means that inferior technology and infrastructure are the most significant barriers to effective remote working.

Comstor Africa is working with NetApp to develop solutions that can help address this challenge. And we are achieving this, by understanding the requirements of linking remote work infrastructures with end-user computing (EUC) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) applications and supporting the overall application landscape. For example, Azure NetApp Files and Cloud Volumes Service assist a company in managing shared storage resources across cloud vendors and regions.

Anthony Njoroge, Product Manager at Comstor Africa

Furthermore, NetApp and Cisco have partnered to deliver FlexPod VDI, an on-premise solution that includes all the hardware components needed to support virtual desktop and learning environments. This secure platform is already used by many large companies to support remote workers. A business can start with a solution to support 500 concurrent users and then scale up to support thousands.

Understanding risk

Additionally, existing NetApp customers can log in to the NetApp Active IQ to take advantage of new predictive risk models for systems that are reaching performance or capacity limits. With this, key learnings will help decision-makers identify where the business might be vulnerable to new security threats, amongst other things.

Once the company understands where the hot spots are (both from security and operational perspectives), the NetApp product stack can assist in rationalising the data and infrastructure, move data between on-premise and cloud storage, and help deliver data availability across multi-cloud environments. It is a case of true hybridity.

People have been bandying the phrase the new normal around quite liberally. And yet, massive changes await businesses, employees, and customers as countries across the continent look to jumpstart their economies and grow. However, this means embracing a fresh outlook and not falling prey to just returning to traditional ways of working. The cloud and the related infrastructure will become indispensable allies in this regard.

Anthony Njoroge, Product Manager at Comstor Africa

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