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I don’t think anyone can deny it’s a Bizarro world out there right now. I know that there are lots of Seinfeld fans that remember the “Bizarro Jerry” episode, with George and Kramer and their polar opposites. Up is down. Down is up. It really feels that way right now. And to top it off, we had a magnitude 5.7 earthquake last week in Salt Lake City.

Like most of you, I find myself working from home and trying to deal with the “new normal”. I’m not even sure what that really means as this is anything but normal, but I am hopeful that we will be getting back to the “real normal” very soon. In the meantime, we have to deal with lots of misinformation, news media overload and the longing for the social interaction of just a few weeks ago. So how do we make the most of this current situation and continue to excel in both our professional and personal lives? Simply put, STAY IN TOUCH (but keep your distance)!

It seems that every other email I get since this pandemic began contains the word “Virtual”. And of course, virtual is just another way of saying remote or distance. I find myself getting invites to virtual coffee meetings, virtual conferences, virtual education sessions, a virtual wine tasting, and even getting virtual elbow bumps.

Last Friday our team in New Jersey had our first virtual happy hour. I’m not complaining, on the contrary, I find this use of technology combined with creativity very refreshing. It’s compelling all of us to use video and audio communication more and more rather, than just sending a text or an email. That strange device on our desks with the buttons and handset is getting a much-needed workout. We should all strive to over communicate.

But along with all this remote communication comes the strain on our IT infrastructure. A recent article on the Data Center Knowledge website stated: “As more people work remotely using digital communication tools and consume online entertainment while away from school or the office, demand on the global network and data center infrastructure is greater than ever – and so is the importance of ensuring this infrastructure doesn’t fail”.

That’s why now more than ever Network Resilience is so important. For many years the emphasis was placed on the Data Center/Cloud to build resilient, redundant infrastructure that is highly reliable and available, in other words it doesn’t fail. These Data Centers also have the added benefit of being staffed by highly trained people to manage and remediate issues as they arise. It has only been the last few years driven by the explosive growth at the network edge that the same expectation is placed there.

While there has been tremendous effort to build out the edge infrastructure, we are far from able to claim the same level of reliability and resiliency. Couple that with little or no trained staff at these remote locations to intervene when problems arise, and the edge can be an Achilles heel when a crisis hits.

I’m proud that Opengear has a part to play in keeping companies running. Our Smart Out-of-band solutions enable network engineers to access their locations remotely, to monitor and manage their critical IT infrastructure. With the current travel restrictions, and as Data Center operators like Equinix limit access even for their tenants, this secure pathway gives our customers access even when they can’t physically get to the rack.

The pandemic won’t keep us isolated forever, and I’m sure, like me, you’re looking forward to an end to Bizarro world, and a return to normal

Until then, we’ll have to get used to things being postponed or cancelled. Don’t let Resilience be one of them.