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Monday, November 19, 2012

Network virtualization helps make branch offices more efficient

Network virtualization helps make branch offices more efficient

The levels of efficiency at branch offices are crucial to the success of many businesses. I know I’d consider switching my bank if I had a bad experience at my local branch. I’d also shop at another grocery chain if my local branches repeatedly failed to quickly stock popular items.

Branch office employees are the ones who most often interact with your customers. It’s therefore crucial that they're able to access the same applications, and have the same high-performance IT experience, as your colleagues expect at headquarters.

The number of branch offices is growing. IDC survey research, for example, shows that in 2009, 39 per cent of businesses with more than 10,000 employees increased their number of branch office sites.

Branch office challenges and opportunities

But managing branch offices has become more complex. Branch employees are likely to be using real-time communications platforms, such as unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), to help improve productivity. These technologies help disparate employees work together more effectively, but they require the support of a modern network infrastructure. However, your IT budget probably doesn’t stretch to having a dedicated IT support team member at every branch location.

That’s why branch offices are beginning to adopt similar practices as data centers to improve efficiencies. These include:

Standardizing IT infrastructure to achieve economies of scale
Reducing cost via consolidation
Implementing more controlled and automated management

One important approach to cutting cost and complexity involves reducing the number of physical hardware devices deployed and managed at each location. This can be accomplished by bundling as many functions and services as possible into the smallest number of hardware platforms. The benefits are increased efficiency and manageability with an integrated services approach.

Virtualization key to branch office efficiency

Virtualization is being recognized as a key enabler for the data center as it gives businesses the flexibility to scale without the costly need to buy more hardware—and to expand data centers to house them. Similarly, virtualization benefits branch offices because a simple network device, such as a router, switch, or network appliance can be used to host network services and manage traditional server workloads.

According to IDC¹, "Branch offices can significantly reduce capital and operating costs by integrating functions such as WAN routing, switching, voice, wireless, and security into a single platform."

Consider the benefits virtualization can bring to your branch office:

Reduced number of physical network devices
Network devices used to manage multiple different tasks
Consolidation of network services, such as security, UC&C, custom applications, WAN acceleration and optimization

Together we can help you manage branch office more effectively

We understand your challenges of delivering effective networking to branch offices. Our solution that addresses this is HP FlexBranch  which consolidates the number of hardware in branches. The benefit is simpler management and enhanced user productivity.

HP FlexBranch is support by HP AllianceOne partners bringing more applications and network services to the branch. Along with our value-added resellers, you can create solutions that are customized for the needs of your branches. And the good news for you is that all these solutions can be centrally managed saving you (and your branch colleagues) the hassle of managing branch IT separately.

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