Five ways to optimise networking at the edge

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Enterprises are growing more dispersed and borderless. Essential talent, branch offices, facilities and partners can be located anywhere in the world—and they need rapid and secure access to critical apps and data to keep business running smoothly. What’s more, with aggressive initiatives around SaaS, IoT, SD-WAN and IPv6, smart organisations are moving to the cloud to accelerate workflows and better support users and sites wherever they happen to be.

Yet the shift to leverage public, private and hybrid cloud networking across the borderless enterprise is becoming more challenging. In a cloud-first world, the nexus of activity is no longer in your data centre; it’s at the network edge. The hub and spoke way of networking cannot keep up with the soaring demand for direct-to-cloud access at the edge.

Your organisation wants to embrace the cloud and all its benefits—yet you need a simpler, more reliable way to manage your network, devices, apps and services across all locations. How can you solve networking challenges at the edge with fewer enterprise resources and still replicate on-prem experiences for your end users?

Enter cloud-managed DDI (DNS DHCP and IPAM). By moving the management plane for DDI from the appliance to the cloud, it enables you to centrally manage your borderless enterprise—and with far greater elasticity, reliability, security and automation than traditional on-premises DDI solutions provide. In addition to optimising network access and performance across all your locations, cloud-managed DDI is also a key enabler of your digital transformation as an organisation and it will accelerate your migration to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) networking.

The following five edge networking scenarios will demonstrate how cloud-managed DDI can solve many key challenges for your borderless network.

Centralising control of the edge

Cloud-managed DDI offers a bridge that allows organisations to integrate core network services, bringing DNS, DHCP and IPAM together on a unified platform. By replacing siloed on-prem DNS and DHCP controllers with cloud-native technology, organisations can take a huge step toward digital transformation through integrated DDI services they can centrally manage in the cloud across all locations, ensuring better branch performance, faster access to cloud-based applications and higher availability.

Increasing agility at the edge

For some borderless enterprises, fully-featured, enterprise-grade DDI services are not needed in all of its branches or remote sites. For example, an organisation may already have a DNS service that meets all its needs in every location, but it wants to deploy only DHCP or IP address management services in small regional offices. Similarly, it may wish to expand DDI capabilities in some branches but not others.

Just as common, especially for enterprises that are undergoing digital transformation, it’s important to have the flexibility to roll out DDI capabilities incrementally. They may wish to upgrade DHCP in the near term while keeping their current IP address management solution. They need a DDI solution that protects them from over-provisioning services in remote sites that may go unused for some time yet.

Cloud-based DDI provides the flexibility and agility for enterprises to achieve the right size DDI implementation for every location.

Simplifying application access at the edge

For the borderless enterprise, with growing numbers of remote workers and branch locations, simple, reliable access to mission-critical applications at the network edge is paramount. This requires organisations to move away from traditional MPLS architectures. Backhauling network traffic through the data centre creates severe latency and bottlenecks for end users in branch offices and remote sites, preventing them from moving at the speed of business.

Modernising with more agile cloud access to applications like Microsoft Office 365 requires a different infrastructure. One where DDI services can be delivered and managed centrally via the cloud and where traffic from remote locations can connect directly to the closest local PoPs in the cloud without the backhaul bottleneck.

Boosting survivability at the edge

When your business depends on connecting vital manufacturing facilities to global supply chain partners and remote offices, the term mission-critical takes on a whole new meaning. Add to that IoT devices that have to communicate 24/7 and reliability, redundancy and survivability become essential.

Application latency is not the only downside to traditional backhauling of DNS and DHCP through a headquarters data centre. If the link to headquarters goes down, because of a power outage or natural disaster, remote locations are not able to reach the central data centre for DNS and DHCP resolution. As a result, they lose access to the Internet and cloud-based apps. To ensure always-on networking for all locations, remote and branch offices need the ability to maintain DDI services locally.

Scaling at the edge

Many high-growth companies today were born in the cloud and their business is 100% cloud-based. Which means no centralised data centre—all apps and services are managed and delivered in the cloud. So when it comes to managing the growth of branch offices and remote locations, it’s challenging to find a solution that is 100% cloud-ready. Typically, core DDI services like DHCP are managed by hardware routers or servers located at each site. A large enterprise may have hundreds of these throughout its borderless operations. These on-premises devices are often resource-intensive, error prone, cumbersome and hard to scale. In addition, they provide no easy way to monitor and manage multiple locations.

For cloud-born businesses, cloud-managed DDI makes it simple to eliminate resource-heavy physical appliances in branch and remote offices. Instead, lightweight devices or virtual appliances can be deployed in all locations, which enables DDI to be centrally managed in the cloud across all sites.

In every one of these core benefit and success spotlight scenarios, there is a common denominator: traditional networking architecture is no longer effective for managing the explosion of workflow at the edge.

the edge
Mohammad Jamal Tabbara

By Mohammad Jamal Tabbara, Senior Solutions Architect, Infoblox

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