It is difficult to imagine a business that operates without at least some basic IT infrastructure.
Digital solutions and hardware that are linked together help boost a company's productivity. And good infrastructure improves internal processes and communication between different departments.
IT infrastructure is based on various components that aim to manage the internal business ecosystem or provide services outside the business. The better and more thoughtfully the infrastructure is organized, the more a business can profit and expand.
In this article, we will talk in more detail about what IT infrastructure consists of, what types of infrastructure are most popular, and how you can manage IT infrastructure to make it more efficient.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Components of IT Infrastructure
You can’t build IT infrastructure from nothing. The whole ecosystem is made up of software solutions, various hardware, and network connections that work together simultaneously and complement each other.
The whole idea is to improve communication between different devices, whether it's desktop computers, tablets, scanners, various servers, and cloud storage.
So, let's take a closer look at the main components of IT infrastructure:
Hardware refers to the physical components and devices that help you organize the infrastructure. They are its foundation. Hardware refers to:
- Desktop computers
- Tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices
- Servers and data centers
- Internet hubs and routers
Software can include various programs and applications that a business uses to function, provide services, operate internal pipelines, and more. Also, various operating systems can be assigned to Software on top of which all programs and applications are installed.
So, the software parts include:
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- Operating systems
- Web servers
- Custom software for internal work
Networks allow you to combine devices into a single network and connect them to the Internet. The connection is secured by security firewalls that protect it from malware and breaches. A network includes the following components:
- Data centers
Types of IT Infrastructure
Everything that we have discussed above is part of the standard IT infrastructure that we are all used to. Such a structure can be found in enterprises of various sizes and is managed entirely from within the enterprise.
In simple terms, the company has its own servers or data centers, to which all other devices with their own software are connected.
This approach allows a company to fully control the state of its infrastructure, manage it, improve it, and much more. And it is not surprising that, to many people, this type of infrastructure seems to be the only correct one.
However, there is also a second type of infrastructure – based in the cloud – which is gaining popularity because of the many advantages if offers over a classic infrastructure setup. Let's talk in more detail about both types so you can have a complete picture.
The main components of a traditional infrastructure are hardware and software. For example, this can be various servers and desktop PCs. All equipment is located under one roof, making it easy to access the necessary information and computing power.
This infrastructure requires a lot of free space at the deployment site, as well as the power of the equipment itself. As a result, it's more expensive to develop and install this type of infrastructure.
In addition, such a system requires constant monitoring, maintenance, and updating in order to meet the ever-changing market realities.
This means that in addition to spending on equipment, you will also spend money on an infrastructure management team that will monitor its condition, troubleshoot problems, and make timely diagnostics and upgrades.
This option is the safest solution for data storage, as it allows you to completely manage all data and software within the enterprise.
Advantages of traditional infrastructure
- Together with the system, you get a dedicated team that is fully involved in infrastructure management.
- Along with updating the infrastructure, you also need to update the software, which allows you to always be on the cutting edge of new technological solutions.
- You have the ability to work with various types of software.
Cloud infrastructures are used by more and more businesses these days due to their flexibility. So what is the main difference from standard infrastructure?
The main difference is that you do not have the equipment to support the infrastructure right in your office. All servers, software solutions, and data storage are located in the cloud.
As a result, you don’t have to spend tons of money on hardware and data centers that can handle the internal IT infrastructure for your facility. Instead, you can find a cloud service provider and rent the cloud storage space you need to transfer all your internal pipeline into it (including valuable data, applications, and much more).
Besides that, you can find your IT infrastructure on one cloud-based software. As a result, your business will receive these advantages from cloud app development:
- All data will be stored in the cloud. But if there's a need, users can store it on their devices to have offline access.
- Staff can use this kind of application on any device with access anywhere.
Now, let’s talk about the main strengths of cloud-based IT infrastructures.
Advantages of Cloud-based IT Infrastructure
Great flexibility and scalability
Flexibility and scalability are important if your company aims for rapid growth. And сloud structures have no limits on storage space and much more horsepower for computing needs.
Besides that, it is much easier to scale the whole structure up and down and raise or lower the number of servers if you need to.
By introducing cloud technologies to your business, you are relieved of the headaches associated with equipment management and security issues.
All of those operations are outsourced to a vendor who provides you with a cloud-based structure while you can focus on other important aspects of the business.
You might be surprised how cost-effective cloud IT infrastructure is. This is mainly because you pay only for the specific service you use. You do not need to spend money on equipment, management, upgrades, and other aspects that the vendor is now dealing with.
What is IT Infrastructure Management?
IT infrastructure is a complex mechanism that requires a special approach to management. And in order to make it easier, there are three areas of management that you should know about.
IT Operational Management
IT Operational Management is all about tools and processes that help keep infrastructure live. The main idea is to maximize the reliability and efficiency of the infrastructure through a wide range of functions such as network asset discovery, operational analysis, data collection, and much more.
Quite popular in this area is the solution developed by ServiceNow. It includes a developed complex set of modules, namely:
- Module for collecting information about the Discovery structure
- Event management module
- Operational Intelligence module
- Automation module for routine IT processes
- Service topology building module
- Cloud resource management module
ITOM tools track the health of your IT infrastructure in real-time. For example, Time Warner took advantage of this opportunity to simplify incident management.
IT Service Management
This approach is somewhat different from the previous one since its main goal is to combine all the operations responsible for the design, creation, delivery, support and lifecycle management of various IT services. At their core, these operations help to optimally deploy a specific IT solution for a specific user in a large business.
FreshService is an excellent purchase for ITSM as it is an ITIL-ready cloud service support platform. The tool can offer a wide range of ITSM support at any scale for businesses of all types and sizes.
Its main features are the presence of mobile applications, the features of the analysis of the root causes of incidents, as well as the management of problems, projects, and configurations.
IT Asset Management
The final type is responsible for the operations that allow you to manage the life cycle of the infrastructure, from hardware to software solutions. The main objectives of the approach are to optimize support costs, control the infrastructure itself, as well as license agreements for software used in the infrastructure.
Two ServiceNow applications, Discovery and Mapping Service, can help with these tasks.
The former automatically finds and identifies new assets (for example, servers connected to the corporate network) and enters information about them into a special database. In the meantime, the second solution defines the relationships between services and the infrastructure elements on which these services are built. As a result, all IT departments and the company processes become more transparent.
What Is Infrastructure as a Service and What Are Its Benefits for the Business?
Infrastructure as a Service is the ultimate way to create infrastructure for an enterprise today. The main idea is that the vendor that provides cloud capabilities is also involved in the management of equipment and networks, while the business itself gets access through a separate API.
The main advantages of organizing your infrastructure this way are:
- You pay for what you use. You have the right to choose the operations and services necessary for your enterprise, and the final check will contain only the cost of these services.
- Global spending is minimal as payments are made in small installments once a month.
- High-tier security measures. Vendors invest a lot of money and technical means to ensure maximum security of their customers' infrastructures.
- Access to the infrastructure is extremely simple and possible from any device with an Internet connection.
Wrapping Things Up
IT infrastructures today are the mainstay of any modern business, regardless of its size or industry. Technologies combined into one system allow businesses to automate their processes, improve internal and external pipelines, and achieve new performance records.
But without a well-tuned IT infrastructure, it's impossible to gain a competitive advantage, and as a result, you can fall into the shadow of your rivals.
That is why you should think about organizing your own IT infrastructure or work on upgrading your existing one to more advanced cloud solutions that will boost your business and improve all operational aspects.