Infrastructure can be centralized in a data center or spread across multiple data centers. These decentralized data centers can be controlled by the organization (owner) or by a third-party, such as a cloud provider or a colocation facility.
While the terminology may seem hard to follow, here’s an overview of what makes an infrastructure, down to each component and IT support services.
DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE
This infrastructure supports the data center hardware with power, cooling, and building elements. This hardware includes:
- Storage subsystems;
- Networking devices—switches, routers, cabling; and,
- Network appliances—i.e., network firewalls.
To ensure that data is secure and protected from theft or malicious damage, only authorized personnel should have access to the infrastructure. So for IT infrastructure security, data centers also have physical security for the data center building. This type of security includes:
- Electronic key entry;
- Video and human surveillance; and,
- Controlled access to servers and storage.
Outside of the data center is the Internet infrastructure, which is built by Internet service providers (ISPs). The components of Internet infrastructure include transmission media, such as:
- Fiber-optic cables;
- Microwave antennas;
- Aggregators; and,
- Load balancers.
Cloud computing has changed the design and use of IT infrastructures.
INFRASTRUCTURE-AS-A-SERVICE (IAAS) MODEL
In this model, businesses access a cloud provider’s data center services and infrastructure. This model provides flexible, on-demand computing.
SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE (SAAS) MODEL
A third-party provider hosts software, hardware, servers, storage, and other components for IT infrastructure.
The design of IT infrastructure must also support infrastructure management. In the form of software tools, IT administrators can view the infrastructure easily as a whole, or access details about any device in the infrastructure, making for efficient management. They are also able to optimize resources for various workloads and deal with the impact of changes to those resources.
Systems management tools help IT teams to:
- Configure and manage network devices, storage, and servers;
- Support remote data centers;
- Support private and public cloud resources; and,
- Make use of automation to increase efficiency, reduce human errors, and support a company’s best practices and objectives.
An example of an infrastructure management tool is the Building Management System (BMS). BMS reports on data center facilities, such as:
- Power usage and efficiency;
- Physical security activities; and,
- Temperature and cooling operation.
TYPES OF INFRASTRUCTURES
As businesses grow and technology advances, businesses can use a variety of infrastructure types to meet current objectives. The different types of infrastructures include:
Manages services and software on IT resources by replacing components instead of changing them. For example, instead of using a patch to update an app, IT will deploy a newer app instead, retiring the old app and redirecting traffic to the new one.
As workload demands change, this framework will automatically adjust itself. This reduces time, effort, and errors in infrastructure management while improving efficiency. These resources can also be managed manually if needed.
This type of infrastructure’s assets is essential and require continued operation for the security of a country, its economy, and the public’s health and safety. It often includes remote data centers and cloud resources.
Includes the physical and virtual resources needed for the effective operations of a call-center facility. The components include automatic call distributors, computer-telephony integration, queue management, and integrated voice response units.
Virtualizes resources, making them available over the Internet using application program interfaces, command-line interfaces, or graphical interfaces. The cloud infrastructure allows users to see their resources and services and corresponding costs through user self-service, user-side reporting, and automated billing or chargeback. Cloud storage infrastructure has hardware and software components to support a private or public cloud storage service.
Also known as shadow IT, this is the part of a framework that has undocumented but active software and services whose function and existence is unknown to the system administrators.