As IT evolves alongside both the physical and – now more common – digital workplace, so too does the IT infrastructure that sustains it.
Basically, the IT infrastructure of an organization includes the whole set of IT assets that keep it operating. And, in recent years, we’ve seen a significant migration from mostly traditional infrastructure (i.e. servers and storage devices) to the more cost-effective cloud infrastructure.
In this article, we’ll first explain what IT infrastructure is and its main components. We’ll then explore the most common types of IT Infrastructure Management practices out there, and how to use InvGate Insight as your IT Asset Management (ITAM) software to take it to the next level.
Let’s dive in!
What is IT infrastructure?
IT infrastructure refers to the collection of hardware, software, and networks that maintain the operation and delivery of IT-managed services. In short, it is the floor plan of infrastructure components that make up your whole enterprise IT environment.
Naturally, to work properly, a business relies on the efficiency of its IT infrastructure. Productivity and profit depend on how reliable, fast, and secure it is. This includes both internal operations and the development of external customer IT business solutions.
Some of the advantages of a well-oiled infrastructure include (but are not limited to) better customer service, greater employee productivity, streamlined organization of data centers, and faster, more seamless delivery of solutions into a market.
An ITAM tool can open the doors to all of those benefits, keeping a full and thorough view of your IT infrastructure. Companies use InvGate Insight to keep a unified view of their entire IT asset inventory (with updated information and status of the infrastructure), build a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to map out their relationships, and much more.
The 3 main IT infrastructure components
The components of your standard IT infrastructure can be broken down into the following three categories: hardware, software, and networking. While these represent the pillars of more traditional infrastructure, some of the same components are still used in cloud infrastructure.
One way to see the components of IT infrastructure is from the ground up. That is, starting with the physical devices that increase and foster the operations of the digital ones. Hardware in your information technology infrastructure is your assortment of computers, servers, routers, data centers, switches, wires, facilities, and any other equipment that takes a corporeal form.
Software, on the other hand, refers to the applications or programs that manage or are otherwise brought to life by the hardware. It can include the Operating System (OS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management Systems (CMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERM), or various web servers. The OS is arguably one of the most important and is widely recognized as it connects and manages all physical resources.
Networking refers to networks, which mix the previous two components. The network is the assembly of those items to establish internet connectivity and communication between internal and external systems.
Some common elements of a network include routers, servers, hubs, switches, and cables that string everything together. Additionally, a network infrastructure typically includes a firewall and security that protects against or at least reduces the risk of data loss.
3 types of IT infrastructure
Let’s move on from the components onto the different types of IT infrastructure and what you can expect from each one. They can all involve different types of components.
In traditional IT infrastructure, the items listed above are owned and managed by the organization itself. This type of infrastructure is also known as on-premise. Usually, they’re kept on company property and require physical space and power to maintain them.
Traditional IT infrastructure is also the logical starting point for the implementation of edge computing. In light of new third-party cloud services that don’t require the same physical space, the traditional infrastructure, however, is the most expensive option. Despite that, it is chosen by many companies that attempt to have robust security, or have higher compliance requirements.
Cloud infrastructure functions are similar to traditional infrastructure, but it takes up less space due to the use of cloud computing.
Instead of installing servers or keeping storage on-premises, public cloud infrastructure allows the delivery of infrastructure services through a managed service provider from different locations. So long as you have access to the internet, you can access the components of either your own privately built cloud or via a public cloud service like Microsoft Azure.
Unlike the traditional one, cloud-based infrastructure is a modern alternative that allows automatic software updates, better remote support, and access from multiple locations. Through virtualization, it can be easily scaled and is much more cost-effective.
Nonetheless, many organizations opt for a hybrid cloud option by mixing private and public services across multiple private or public clouds with their own on-premises hardware. By way of cloud computing, this option offers both flexibility and portability for the enterprise.
Hyperconverged infrastructure involves a blend of both. It’s an approach to information technology infrastructure that seeks to unify your network, storage, and data on a single interface.
It eliminates the need for separate components by integrating these functionalities into a software-defined platform. This typically includes a cluster of commodity servers with direct-attached storage, virtualization software, and a management layer.
While hybrid cloud infrastructure refers to the overall strategy of combining public and private cloud environments, hyperconverged infrastructure specifically focuses on the convergence of compute, storage, networking, and virtualization within a single hardware system.
Put another way, it’s an evolution to a pure software-defined environment. This consolidated approach simplifies the deployment, management, and scalability of IT resources. This increases agility and reduces complexity. It’s still in its early stages, but it’s scaling and supporting modern workloads by simplifying management.
Asset Management in IT infrastructure
IT Asset Management practices lay out the guidelines to control and support the costs and well functioning of your IT infrastructure. Of course, to work efficiently, they must be supported by a comprehensive tool.
Consider that an organization’s IT assets, which include the hardware, software, systems, and values of the business, are the infrastructure’s lifeblood. Their correct management facilitates real-time infrastructure monitoring and the distribution of your team’s IT Service Management.
The most common IT infrastructure management types
Having run through the basics of IT infrastructure, let’s now take a look at how the different IT practices contribute to the Infrastructure Management:
- IT Operations Management - It ensures efficient utilization of IT resources and identifies bottlenecks in the IT infrastructure.
- IT Automation - This helps to reduce errors and free up human resources for more strategic and complex tasks in your Infrastructure Management.
- API Management - It facilitates the seamless sharing of data and functionalities between applications in your infrastructure, enabling innovation and collaboration.
- Cloud Management - This enables organizations to effectively utilize cloud resources while maintaining control and governance.
- OS Management - It ensures the smooth operation of an IT environment with a shared operating system.
- Risk Management - It helps in understanding potential threats to the infrastructure, vulnerabilities in it, and their potential impact.
IT Infrastructure Management with InvGate Insight
InvGate Insight’s set of features work together to create a complete IT inventory, giving you clear access to the information, status, and relationships between all the assets included in it.
An IT asset inventory is the process of documenting and tracking all assets within an organization's IT infrastructure. Basically, it organizes your infrastructure in a clear and practical way.
Let’s see which InvGate Insight's features are most helpful to do Infrastructure Management.
The Discovery feature allows you to scan your entire network to search for unknown devices connected to it. Then, you can choose to add them to your inventory and keep tracking them, ignore them or leave them as pending.
This will give you a complete and reliable picture of your whole IP infrastructure, making sure nothing is missed. It also helps ensure your cyber security against any threats within your network.
Cloud Services integration
It’s quite common that some of the basic and most important data regarding infrastructure is located in cloud services. InvGate Insight seamlessly integrates with some of the most commonly used options, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, to ensure your IT inventory is complete.
Once you have a unified IT inventory, it is time to map the relationships in your environment. A CMDB creates a bird's eye view of the relationships between networks, applications and the other CIs that populate your IT infrastructure.
To ensure your IT infrastructure is safe and in compliance, use InvGate Insight’s Health Rules to notify when something might be going wrong. They send alerts to your system regarding the health status of your monitored devices. You can set your own predefined conditions to determine if they are safe, warning, or critical.
Smart Tags are designed to classify and characterize all types of Configuration Items (CIs) on your InvGate Insight instance, such as devices, users, and software. So, they will automatically be assigned to those CIs that meet those conditions. You can run reports or set notifications when an asset falls into one of these categories.
The importance of a well-managed IT infrastructure cannot be overstated in any organization, big or small. Whether it's traditional, cloud, or hyperconverged, businesses rely on the efficiency, reliability, and security of their technological infrastructure to drive productivity. And if it isn't complete, reliable, and easy to access, you can’t do the job right.
InvGate Insight emerges as a valuable tool for IT Infrastructure Management. Thanks to its robust set of features, you can streamline operations, optimize resource utilization, and mitigate risks, ultimately ensuring the seamless functioning of your IT infrastructure and of your whole organization.
So, ask for a 30-day free trial and see what it can do for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the basic IT infrastructure?
The basic IT infrastructure comprises hardware, software, networks, and data centers that enable the functioning of an organization's IT systems.
What is a weakness in the IT infrastructure?
A weakness in the IT infrastructure can be inadequate security measures (i.e. insufficient firewalls, weak authentication mechanisms, or outdated software and hardware components), making it susceptible to cyber attacks and data breaches.
Who should support or maintain the IT infrastructure?
IT infrastructure should be supported and maintained by a dedicated IT team or department within the organization.
What is IT Infrastructure Management?
IT Infrastructure Management refers to the process of overseeing and maintaining the IT infrastructure to ensure its optimal performance, security, and availability.
What are the levels of IT infrastructure?
The levels of IT infrastructure include the physical layer (hardware and cabling), network layer (routers and switches), storage layer (servers and data storage), and application layer (software and applications).
What is an example of IT infrastructure?
An example of IT infrastructure can be a company's network of computers, servers, routers, switches, and data centers that facilitate communication and data storage.
Why upgrade the IT infrastructure?
Upgrading the IT infrastructure is necessary to improve performance, security, scalability, and to leverage new technologies that enhance business processes and productivity.