Information technology (IT) infrastructure refers to the software, hardware, network resources, and services required to initiate, maintain, and manage the IT environment of a business or corporation.
This infrastructure permits organizations to deploy various IT solutions and services, whether to its customers, partners, or its own employees. IT infrastructure was traditionally housed internally, but more and more businesses are turning to cloud-computing services to provide IT infrastructure. This is called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Components of IT Infrastructure
Common components of IT infrastructure play a role in IT operations. They may be used to facilitate day-to-day business operations, and in other common fields within an enterprise, such as human resources, customer service, management, sales and marketing, and finances, among others.
In general, standard IT infrastructure is composed of the following components:
- Hardware components. This includes physical devices and equipment. A few common types of IT hardware include switches, data centers, servers, computers, computer accessories, hubs, and routers.
- Software components. Among enterprises, common forms of software include productivity applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP), automated billing systems, payment processing, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise application integration (EAI), email marketing systems, business intelligence (BI), enterprise messaging systems (EMS), HR management, and call centers or customer support software. The extent and types of software used depend on the domain and size of the business in question.
- Network components. Common network components include firewalls, security, internet connectivity, and network enablement.
- Meatware. Meatware is a relatively new term that refers to professionals who make up the human IT infrastructure of an organization. Meatware may include IT consultants, network administrators, designers, developers, and even end users.
Current Trends in Information Technology Infrastructure
Information technology infrastructure is a growing field that is currently undergoing significant and rapid changes. In most cases, the goals of these changes are to help enterprises cut costs, improve efficiency, and ensure that data is secure. Such improvements may justify additional spending on IT infrastructure among enterprises.
Some current trends include:
- Hyper-convegence. This trend appeared a year or two ago and has made a significant impact in the enterprise IT world. It involves converging virtual servers, data storage, and networks through software, an activity which significantly simplifies maintenance and provisioning activities at data centers. Overall, it should reduce long-term IT infrastructure costs.
- Collaboration. Collaboration products and tools are popping up all over. Tech vendors now offer video, chat, voice, and document sharing that can be done anywhere and on any device. These collaborative software tools can save enterprises time and money when used properly.
- 802.11ac WiFi. WiFi has rapidly changed the way that we connect to the internet. Today, it’s so popular that few enterprises operate without it. But today, it may be bogging down recent company deployments. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, most WiFi deployments focus on widespread wireless coverage versus capacity. With more devices on the network, there is a greater need for wireless access points. New 802.11ac access points are one way of offering increased bandwidth through a single access point.