IT Infrastructure Definition
IT infrastructure is the combination of an organization’s important assets, including hardware, software, applications, databases, network resources, and services. It enables organizations to utilize these components or assets to perform various tasks, such as managing IT environments and maintaining operations, IT policies, and processes to deliver business-critical services.
A well-managed IT infrastructure helps businesses ensure IT operations are running smoothly and efficiently. It provides the ability to administer and maintain vast information and data, improve employee productivity, limit disasters, and enhance end-user experience by providing uninterrupted access to applications and websites.
Components of IT Infrastructure
Organizations can either deploy IT infrastructure within their facilities or outsource to third-party managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver seamless services. In-house IT infrastructure management requires focusing on the following components:
- Hardware: The IT infrastructure of an organization includes devices such as desktop computers, servers, hubs, tablets, mobile phones, switches, routers, and data centers. It’s crucial to maintain and manage these devices regularly to deliver uninterrupted services.
- Software: IT teams utilize several software applications, such as content management system (CMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence (BI), and business process management (BPM) applications, to perform daily tasks. Maintaining these software applications is crucial for the business to ensure smooth operations and improved customer experience.
- Networks: Network in an IT infrastructure refers to the resources making internet connectivity, communications, and business operations possible. Virtual networks include software products like Microsoft Windows Server, while physical network infrastructure includes in-office cabling, telephones, routers, and wireless access points.
- Operating System: Computer hardware requires an operating system providing a graphical user interface (GUI) to let users seamlessly communicate with the devices. The operating system performs all the basic tasks, such as memory management, processor management, file management, and controlling peripheral devices, including disks and printers.
- Data Management and Storage: The organization’s network resources generate huge amounts of data and logs every day. It’s important to collect, store, and analyze this data to detect and resolve issues and improve the organization’s operational efficiency. Enterprises can track the performance of critical business operations using a robust data storage solution.
- Facilities: Organizations require space for networking hardware, servers, and data centers. Facilities and physical plants provide space for networking and cabling to connect the components of an IT infrastructure.
Types of IT Infrastructure
There are three types of IT infrastructure:
- Traditional infrastructure: A traditional IT infrastructure includes software and hardware components, such as servers, data storage, data centers, networking devices, facilities, application software solutions, and more. Businesses manage these components within their facilities. Typically, a traditional IT infrastructure setup requires more physical space, hardware, servers, power, and cost.
- Cloud Infrastructure: Cloud IT infrastructure is modernized infrastructure. The computing resources are accessible through the internet, and this type of infrastructure doesn’t require the organization to install the physical servers on-premises. A business can set up a public cloud maintained by a service provider like Alibaba, Amazon, Microsoft or a private cloud by using dedicated resources. Alternatively, organizations can set up a hybrid cloud infrastructure by incorporating orchestration and management across multiple clouds.
- Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: Hyperconverged infrastructure enables an organization to manage resources like computers, networks, and data storage from a single interface. When bundled together with software resources like compute and data storage, the infrastructure can support more modern workloads with scalable architectures.
IT Infrastructure Management and Cloud Services
Organizations outsource IT infrastructure management based on the following three models:
- Software as a Service: Software as a service (SaaS) is the most common cloud computing model, and it’s designed to make data accessible and allows software delivery over the internet. End-users can access the data using any device with an internet connection and a web browser. The third-party service provider manages the entire IT infrastructure necessary to deliver the application. The SaaS model eliminates the need to manage and administer complex software applications.
- Platform as a Service: In a platform as a service (PaaS) cloud model, IT organizations outsource the software and hardware infrastructure to a third-party service provider. This includes servers, networks, storage, operating systems, virtualization, and runtime. A PaaS provider hosts the hardware and software components on its infrastructure and provides tools to the organization over the internet.
- Infrastructure as a Service: This model is provisioned and managed over the internet. It allows IT organizations to outsource the physical infrastructure resources such as networking, servers, storage, virtualization services, and management needs to a third-party cloud service provider.
What Features Does an Infrastructure Management Solution Offer?
IT infrastructure management solutions help organizations automate and streamline various processes, enhance productivity, drive efficiency, and reduce cost to a great extent. The critical features of IT infrastructure management include:
- Resource management
- Storage capacity management
- Comprehensive network monitoring
- Application monitoring
- Physical hardware monitoring
- Virtual server monitoring
- Trend analysis
- Alerts, reminders, and notifications
- Intuitive dashboards