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IT Systems Infrastructure

Technology serves as the foundation upon which we interact with tools and systems in the modern world. These tools are supported by IT systems infrastructure, which is more than just a series of devices connected to each other—it’s the backbone that enables all digital experiences.

A more detailed IT systems infrastructure overview encompasses all physical and software-based tools and processes that facilitate digital operations. It includes servers in data centers, cloud storage solutions, and everything in between. It’s basically a holistic environment that powers the online world.

Robust computer infrastructure makes up the core of IT systems and helps keep operations running smoothly. In this context, a computer in a room isn’t just a standalone entity, but part of a larger, integrated system that manages information both locally and in the cloud.

Numerous computer infrastructure examples demonstrate the value of these systems. For instance, consider the financial sector. Banks rely on secure, high-speed networks to execute transactions in real-time. In the healthcare realm, hospitals use a mix of servers, sometimes both on-premises and in the cloud, to store patient records and imaging data.

IT infrastructure components can be broadly categorized into hardware and software elements. The IT infrastructure hardware segment includes devices like servers, routers, and computers. These pieces of hardware are the tangible components of the infrastructure. They’re the machines that store data and connect to other devices.

On the other side of the spectrum is the software infrastructure, which includes operating systems and other tools to control the hardware. The software is like the soul to the hardware’s body, directing it on what tasks to perform and when. It’s responsible for the vast majority of tasks, from sending a simple email to rendering complex graphics in real-time.

Needless to say, this degree of complexity requires thorough planning when it comes to optimizing infrastructure. Organizations undertake IT infrastructure projects to streamline these processes, ensuring that all components integrate seamlessly. These projects could involve anything from migrating a company’s data to a cloud platform to setting up a new data center.

IT infrastructure systems provide a unified approach to managing and monitoring everything. They keep all components working harmoniously and efficiently. By completing projects and leveraging advanced systems, businesses can more easily navigate the IT infrastructure landscape. 

The importance of IT infrastructure truly cannot be overstated. In the digital age, where everything hinges on connectivity, data processing, and online resources, it has become more crucial than ever to be able to leverage connected systems. The global economy, day-to-day social interactions, and much more are powered by these infrastructures. 

A lapse in any component can result in significant disruptions. For businesses, this can translate to financial losses, eroded customer trust, and missed opportunities. For individuals, it can result in loss of access to crucial services and communication barriers.

7 Components of IT Infrastructure

Understanding how IT infrastructure works is crucial to being able to utilize it effectively. Here are the 7 components of IT infrastructure and what they include: 

  • Hardware: Hardware refers to the physical devices part of the IT infrastructure. It includes servers, computers, data centers, and more. Other devices like laptops and modems also fall into this category, all of which are vital to IT infrastructure management. 
  • Software: Software is the collection of programs, operating systems, and procedures that help run the hardware. From basic systems software like operating systems to application software such as customer relationship management (CRM) tools, software serves as the bridge that translates raw data into actionable information.
  • Network: Networks connect hardware components, both within and outside an organization. This can range from local area networks (LAN) connecting computers in the same building, to wide area networks (WAN) that connect devices from different geographical areas. The internet has birthed several IT infrastructure examples that benefit from solid networks. 
  • Data Storage: As organizations generate vast amounts of data, storage becomes crucial. This component deals with how data is stored, retrieved, and protected. In addition to traditional hard drives, there are now advanced storage solutions like SAN (Storage Area Networks) and cloud storage options that offer scalability and accessibility advantages.
  • Human Resources and Procedures: Human-related activities are often overlooked on the infrastructure technologies list, but are just as critical. Important tasks include managing the infrastructure and setting procedural guidelines, which outline the protocols for using and maintaining the infrastructure. 
  • Services: Services cover all IT functions provided “as a service”. With the advent of cloud computing, services like Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) have become commonplace. These services can be outsourced, reducing capital and operational costs for businesses.
  • Internet Infrastructure: A subset of the broader network component, the internet infrastructure specifically refers to the tools and platforms that support web-based services and applications—for example, web servers and the cloud. 

To better understand how these elements work in concert, consider the IT infrastructure model for a hypothetical company. This model includes: 

  • Hardware: Servers hosting the website, payment gateways, employee computers, and laptops.
  • Software: E-commerce platform, inventory management system, customer support tools, and email services.
  • Network: A local area network (LAN) in their office, a WAN connecting their different warehouses, and a secure, high-speed internet connection.
  • Data Storage: Cloud storage solutions for customer data, in-house servers for sensitive financial data, and backup solutions for disaster recovery.
  • Human Resources and Procedures: IT team maintaining the website, network engineers ensuring 24/7 connectivity, data analysts evaluating sales data, and training protocols for employees to handle customer data securely.
  • Services: Third-party payment gateway services, cloud-based CRM solutions, and outsourced email marketing tools.
  • Internet Infrastructure: Web hosting servers, cloud storage solutions for website assets, and the Content Delivery Network (CDN) to ensure fast webpage loading times worldwide.

This IT infrastructure example for a company outlines the various hardware, software, and processes that uphold their infrastructure model. By incorporating all seven components of a robust IT infrastructure, this company facilitates seamless digital operations in which all moving parts are accounted for. 

But there’s no need to look to imaginary companies to understand the importance of IT infrastructure in business. With the right systems in place, all businesses can enjoy the advantages of streamlined IT.

So what are the 3 types of IT infrastructure? Along with the more specific elements listed above, IT infrastructure typically consists of three broader components: enterprise infrastructure (tools and services used across organizations), network infrastructure (the foundational networking equipment and services), and computing infrastructure (servers, computers, and data centers).

Cloud Infrastructure Management

Cloud computing has drastically transformed IT, reshaping how businesses manage their resources and data. Cloud infrastructure management embodies the methods and tools used to oversee cloud resources and ensure they operate efficiently. It includes several IT-related tasks and processes, including legacy app migration and modernization.

Historically, organizations operated primarily with on-premises hardware and software. Today, more and more companies are shifting to the cloud for greater scalability and cost savings. But transitioning to the cloud isn’t just about starting anew—it’s also about integrating and migrating existing systems, notably the legacy applications that have been integral to a business’s operations. 

Legacy application modernization is the process of updating and enhancing these older applications so they can effectively function and bring value in a cloud environment. Modernization often requires rewriting the application’s code, re-platforming it to a more cloud-compatible environment, or even re-architecting it from the ground up to best utilize cloud-native features.

Implementing cloud infrastructure architecture is another important step in migrating to the cloud. This architecture considers everything from network configurations to disaster recovery strategies. An effective architecture ensures smooth operations while future-proofing the system for scalability and expansion.

For businesses that have been operational for years or even decades, data transfer might mean moving substantial amounts of legacy data to the cloud. Legacy data migration is a meticulous process that necessitates careful planning to ensure data integrity and security. Organizations have to make sure that the data remains consistent during the migration to prevent loss or corruption. 

There are several different types of cloud infrastructure services and tools to help with data and cloud infrastructure migration. Some services offer data storage solutions, while others may provide application development platforms, or even cloud workload protection. These services have one goal in common: to help businesses manage their IT resources in the cloud without the need for substantial in-house IT teams or infrastructure.

One of the most commonly-utilized cloud services is cloud IaaS, or cloud infrastructure-as-a-service. In this model, the cloud provider supplies the fundamental infrastructure services, such as virtualized computing resources over the internet. This means businesses can “rent” IT infrastructure on a pay-as-you-go model.

Whatever your preferred cloud modernization strategy, it’s important to leverage trusted, secure tools. Skytap makes it possible to migrate and run IBM Power workloads natively in the cloud without refactoring or replatforming. Learn more here.

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