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What is meant by IT Infrastructure?

February 3, 2022 Leo Expert advice

Information technology (IT) infrastructure is all of the software, hardware, operating systems, data storage and networking components that must be in place for your business to operate effectively. It refers to the technology that drives your business but not the associated people, processes and documentation.

The key components of IT infrastructure

Your IT infrastructure is made up of interdependent elements that work together to create a technological ecosystem that helps your business meet its goals. Those components include:

The hardware is any component of your overall IT infrastructure that you can actually touch, such as servers, desktops computers and even mobile devices. That hardware allows you to connect to your network and store and use your data. Hardware components include; Servers, Desktop computers Routers, Data centres, Hubs Storage devices, Laptops, Hard drives, Network cables and Printers.
This refers to the applications and programs upon which the technological capabilities of your business are built. It is responsible for managing the system resources and hardware and making the connections between the physical components that do the work. Examples of software components include; Operating systems, Web servers, Content management systems (CMS), Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Customer relationship management (CRM).
A server is a vital hardware component that sends and collects information across the network so you can store and access data smoothly across your business.
Server room/data centre
The sheer size of some servers means that most businesses host their servers in rooms called server rooms or data centres. These data centres are at the core of most networks.
Interconnected network components such as switches, hubs, routers and servers connect devices through wired and wireless means. That enables computing and communication between internal and external systems, users, applications and processes.

Types of IT infrastructure

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of IT infrastructure: traditional infrastructure and cloud infrastructure. The type of infrastructure refers to how the various components that make up your business’s IT infrastructure are accessed.

Traditional infrastructure

Traditional infrastructure is a model commonly used by enterprise companies where all of the components are owned, managed and maintained on-premises.

Traditional infrastructure is the most secure IT infrastructure model as it gives you full control over your company’s data and apps. However, you will need significant power and space to run and house your own infrastructure, and it is expensive to set up and support. You also have to buy equipment and allocate resources (i.e. hire contractors or permanent staff) to maintain your infrastructure and upgrade it when you want to support more users.

Traditional IT infrastructure may be the right approach for you if:

  • You have an in-house IT department that can maintain and install hardware

  • Your team runs different types of applications

  • You work in software development and need to upgrade your software solutions regularly

Cloud infrastructure

Instead of having physical components on-site, in a cloud infrastructure model, all of the hardware, software, servers and networks you use are hosted in the cloud.

Being able to access your IT infrastructure via the internet allows you to save money and time setting up and managing physical servers. Instead, you can rent the data storage you need from cloud providers such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon on a pay-per-use basis. Alternatively, you can create a private cloud by building it yourself using resources that are dedicated to your business.

Cloud infrastructure could be right for your business if:

  • You want to avoid the setup costs associated with buying your own hardware and software components

  • You do not have an in-house IT team

  • Your business is growing rapidly and you need to be able to scale up quickly

How to optimise your IT infrastructure

When you implement it properly, your IT infrastructure will be reliable, flexible and secure, helping you to operate efficiently, scale and gain a competitive edge. When implemented poorly, your IT infrastructure can lead to security, connectivity and productivity issues that hold your business back and impact your bottom line.

Wipro’s State of IT Infrastructure Report 2020 found that 75% of businesses want to upgrade their outdated infrastructure. Here are a few of the steps that you can take to optimise your IT infrastructure.

Streamline your licensing
A great place to start is to streamline your existing software licensing to ensure that you are not over-licensed and paying for services you don’t need, or under-licensed, which can lead to hefty fines. As an example, many businesses are now using Microsoft Teams rather than Slack as Teams is included in their Office 365 subscription. We can help you find and install software that meets your needs while reducing your licensing requirements.
Reduce your data centre footprint
The ever-growing mountains of data businesses now hold is creating a constant need for more space. However, rather than building or leasing an additional data centre, there are more cost-effective solutions available. Alternatives such as shared facilities and co-location can help to reduce capital expenditure while providing flexibility and scalability that a new data centre can’t match.
Use SaaS to reduce data centre requirements
The increasing use of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that are hosted in the cloud can reduce your data centre and support requirements. Ideally suited to small to midsize businesses, an increasing reliance on SaaS can speed time to implementation and help you control your infrastructure costs.
Move to the cloud
The cloud offers many advantages over on-premises IT infrastructure, including flexible storage capacity, reduced investment in hardware, the removal of legacy issues and more comprehensive and efficient functionality.

How we can help

IT infrastructure setups vary by business needs and goals. At Comms Unite, we can create the optimal infrastructure for your business to deliver high-performance storage, a low-latency network, high-level security and zero downtime. 

Read more about our IT infrastructure solutions, discover the benefits of managed IT services and get in touch to discuss your goals with our team.

January 26, 2022 By Richard
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