Embracing a hybrid IT strategy for distributed work

August 8, 2023

A hybrid IT strategy offers flexibility, scalability, and enhanced data management to cater to the demands of a distributed workforce, addressing challenges while optimizing resource utilization.

The COVID-19 pandemic offered a real-world use case for the value of a hybrid IT strategy. As employees began working from home, organizations had to quickly adapt their IT plans to support this remote workforce. Today, as businesses continue to offer opportunities for remote work (and employees are demanding it),  it’s a must to build and maintain a distributed IT architecture to address the new normal.

The reality is the remote workforce is here to stay. According to Forbes, 65% of professionals desire to work remotely full-time, and 32% would rather have a hybrid schedule than return to the office full-time. Permanently adding this more geographically dispersed workforce to the IT ecosystem requires a tiered IT approach. A hybrid IT infrastructure can meet the diverse needs of multiple user groups—providing access to the necessary applications and data with the requisite speed, performance, and reliability.

To do this, it is important to understand the multiple tiers of users, what applications and data each needs, and where they are located.

Tier 1: Supporting the core enterprise

The core data center hosts a business’ private, internal applications, such as ERP systems. This site is generally located on-premise or at a major interconnection hub in a metropolitan area. While this site could house all of an organization’s applications and data, this would introduce latency when applications and data are not consumed locally. The need for low-latency transmissions drives the need for the next two tiers. 

Tier 2: Integrating customers and partners

To rapidly distribute services to customers and partners outside of metropolitan areas, businesses employ the middle edge. By positioning workloads closer to where services are being created, utilized and exchanged, businesses can improve transmission speed. The data gravity created by clusters of stakeholders also drives this need for more local access. Without the middle edge, workloads would have to travel back to the enterprise core, delaying access. For an online retailer this could result in a lost sale as customers expect rapid load times. 

Tier 3: Engaging the remote end user

The rise of the remote workforce makes the third tier—the far edge—an increasingly essential piece of the corporate IT architecture. Employees are working across more nontraditional markets than ever before. By introducing points of presence near remote users, organizations improve access and productivity. 

A hybrid IT infrastructure can support these distinct stakeholders. By identifying concentrations of users and the applications and data they need, a business can architect an effective ecosystem of sites. Equally important is implementing the network infrastructure to connect these disparate locations.

Flexential can help organizations devise comprehensive hybrid IT solutions that address these tiers and meet their unique needs. With 41 data center locations in 19 markets, a robust 100 Gbps private network, and the in-house expertise to guide strategic decision-making, Flexential is uniquely positioned to support hybrid IT journeys—from planning to execution.

By closely monitoring user demographics and market trends, we identify and invest in high-growth markets to remain ahead of the absorption curve. The planned expansion on our national FlexAnywhere™ Platform this year, with the construction of a new 36MW phased development at our Atlanta-Douglasville, Georgia campus, and the announced first phase of our new Hillsboro 4 facility in Portland by fall of 2023, will support customers in solving their most complex hybrid IT infrastructure requirements.

Flexential reliable connectivity fabric, the Flexential Interconnection Platform, also supports an edge strategy. This software-defined infrastructure provides a complete network solution, integrating public and private connectivity options to tie together multi-tiered architectures. This network interconnects our fleet of data centers and connects to carrier hotels, hyperscale cloud providers, and the public internet. Organizations can also add cloud to their hybrid IT mix from our data centers.

As businesses refocus their attention on their IT strategies, a hybrid IT solution should take center stage to support an increasingly distributed footprint and diverse user needs. Flexential can deliver this dynamic solution while allowing you to centralize your infrastructure and connectivity needs with a single provider.

Ryan Mallory, Chief Operating Officer, Colocation Services

Ryan Mallory

Chief Operating Officer

As COO for Flexential, Ryan drives operational excellence and performance optimization for the integrated colocation and interconnection portfolio - including colocation services, cloud managed services, backbone, real estate, data center and network operations, desi

“Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.”

George Penn
Managing Vice President, Gartner