To bounce back from the current crisis, organisations must have a closer look at their set-up priorities by distinguishing between must-have and what is nice to have. They need to streamline processes that deal with remote work, new technology and the shift from an on-prem to a cloud infrastructure. The faster companies solve their IT challenges, the more they can focus on the human factor of our new way of working. However, managing these technological environments with native solutions is not as easy as it looks.
There is nothing simple about building, managing and auditing technological environments anymore. Technology has always been challenging, but over the previous decade even more layers have been added: on-premise, cloud and hybrid. Not that long ago, platforms like Windows NT did not exist unless installed on physical servers. Networks were straight-forward. Firewalls and other devices only had so many capabilities and were physical.
Virtual technology was just a dream back then, but has now become reality. And we have cloud environments now. Cloud technology virtualizes nearly every aspect: applications, storage, devices, platforms and networks. For most companies, their cloud infrastructure is an addition to an already complex on-premise infrastructure. Although most organisations know the benefits of a cloud strategy, the crisis has accelerated their need to transform.
Suddenly people had no choice but to work remotely and businesses needed to implement solutions fast. This creates a whole bunch of new challenges on top of an on-premise infrastructure. Streamlining essential processes will be crucial to build resilience now and for the future. Anyone who architects, engineers or supports a hybrid environment knows how difficult it is to intelligently audit, monitor, expand, maintain and recover these massively complex environments that have organically formed over decades.
Native or third party?
A lot of companies wonder why they should even consider third party solutions because their native tools are free after all. Microsoft platforms, for example, have everything you need to create really amazing performances. These platforms are reliable and provide a solid foundation from which to launch. However, there is one problem: the tools that come with this platform are minimally adequate.
Imagine you have one hammer to both build and maintain things. While you are building these new things, you increase the complexity of what you need to maintain. Soon, you can only maintain and do not have time to build anymore. Even teaching others has become almost impossible as things have become too complicated. This is where you end up with native tools. They offer a great platform to start from, but it is really hard to build on it, grow it, or even integrate with other technology.
This is where third party solutions come in. They give organisations technology that allows to intelligently use their platform. Each third party has its own specialities. Quest, for example, is really good at helping to navigate and simplify those layers of technology that have been piled on over the decades. We enable you to know, audit, monitor, secure, maintain, recover and migrate your complex Microsoft hybrid environments.
One of our solutions is Quest Recovery Manager for Active Directory Disaster Recovery Edition. This software helps organisations to be prepared to perform a phased recovery in case of a complete Active Directory disaster. By ensuring you can quickly restore at least one domain controller (DC) in each domain (phase 1), you can get your business back on its feet as soon as possible and turn your attention to the remaining DCs (phase 2).
While there are several methods to go about promoting the rest of your DCs, the best option is to install from media (IFM). Microsoft recommends IFM because it is an efficient way to reinstall AD on a Microsoft domain controller. In fact, it speeds the process considerably by cutting traffic across your network in half. Still, using native tools, IFM is a tedious manual process. You have to perform it on all DCs, one by one, by going to each DC and executing the PowerShell commands to install from media in order to promote the domain controller.
Quest’s solution takes IFM a critical step further. It automates the IFM process, delivering bulk IFM to dramatically accelerate the second phase of your disaster recovery. You simply set up a project, select all DCs you want to promote, and then click a button to execute the IFM process on all of the DCs you specified. So, no error-prone manual processes, no time-consuming visits to each DC, and no constant barrage of messages from management asking about your progress.
To conclude: third party solutions can provide the insight and support that are invaluable to automating maintenance and lighting a path to growth. So in the end, native is not always cheaper. It costs money in time, late deliverables and lack of knowledge that can lead to infiltration and costly mistakes.
Building resilience by preparing for a remote workforce is not just about the people involved, but also about the IT that needs to support them. The more you can streamline and automate processes by having solutions in place, the faster you can focus on that human aspect of remote work. You will have less IT tickets, less dissatisfied users and you can even reduce the cost of making that transition happen.
This is why each organisation should now first identify which platforms are critical to ensure business continuity. Understanding license assets helps to mitigate costs by eliminating spending on platforms we are not leveraging. Postpone everything that is nice to have and focus on those priorities that will help your organisation to get used to the new normal.
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