As IT continues to evolve alongside both the physical and – now more common – digital workplace, so too does the infrastructure that sustains it. In recent years especially, we’ve seen a significant migration in the world of IT, from traditional infrastructure to the more cost-effective cloud infrastructure.
In this article, we’ll first take a look at what IT infrastructure is and a few of its main components. We’ll then explore the most common types of IT infrastructure management out there and answer the question of why you need IT asset management for your IT infrastructure.
What is the IT infrastructure?
IT infrastructure is the collection of hardware, software, and networks that help maintain the operation and delivery of IT managed services. In short, it is the floorplan of infrastructure components that make up your enterprise IT environment
Naturally, a business rides on the efficiency of its IT infrastructure. Productivity and profit are dependent on how reliable, fast, and secure an organization’s IT infrastructure is. This is true for internal operations as much as it is for the development of customer-centric IT business solutions.
The advantages of a well-oiled IT infrastructure include – but are by no means limited to – better customer service, greater employee productivity, streamlined organization of data centers, and faster, more seamless delivery of solutions into a market.
An IT Asset Management tool can open the doors to all of those benefits, keeping a full and thorough view of your IT infrastructure. Companies use InvGate Insight, a premium IT asset management tool, to keep a unified view of their entire IT assets inventory, build a CMDB, and much more.
What are the main components of IT infrastructure?
The components of your standard IT infrastructure can be neatly 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 view the components of IT infrastructure is from the ground up, we’ll say, with the physical devices that incase 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 the networks, which can be seen as kind of a mix of the previous two components. The network is the assembly of those components to establish internet connectivity and communication between internal and external systems. Some common elements of a network include the 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.
What are the types of IT infrastructure?
Let’s move on from the components of IT infrastructure and on to the different kinds and what you can expect to receive from each.
In traditional IT infrastructure, the components listed above (i.e. data centers, servers, storage, computers, etc) are owned and managed by the organization itself. 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.
Cloud infrastructure functions in a similar way to traditional infrastructure except in how it saves space via 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 a more common public cloud via a service like Microsoft Azure.
Cloud vs on-premise has been a hearty debate over the last couple of years. Through virtualization, your infrastructure can be easily scaled and is much more cost-effective. Should you decide to mix private and public services across multiple private or public clouds with your own on-premises hardware, you’d have a hybrid cloud. By way of cloud computing, this option offers some flexibility and portability for the enterprise.
Hyperconverged infrastructure is something of a blend of the above two kinds. It’s an approach to information technology infrastructure that seeks to unify your network, storage, and data from a single interface. Put another way, it’s an evolution to a pure software-defined environment. It’s still in its early stages, but already it’s scaling and supporting modern workloads by simplifying management.
What are the most common IT infrastructure management types?
Having run through the basics of IT infrastructure, let’s now take a look at the different types of management used to govern the processes and maintenance of the structures.
IT Operations Management: Otherwise known as business process management, this is a discipline of analyzing, modeling, and optimizing repeated and ongoing business processes.
IT Automation: The automation of instructions and processes driven by artificial intelligence and involved with IT systems to reduce human interaction. Goes by infrastructure automation as well.
API Management: The distribution, control, and evaluation of application programming interfaces (APIs) that connect applications and data across clouds and enterprises.
Cloud Management: Provides cloud admins with control over all aspects of the cloud computing process including any end users, data, applications, and services. From there they manage deployment, integration, and disaster recovery.
OS Management: Oversight of an environment with a shared OS by monitoring any content, patches, and subscriptions.
Risk Management: Identification and assessment of risk and the development of plans to reduce if not eliminate their impact in the future.
Why do you need IT Asset Management for your IT infrastructure?
IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a fundamental part of an IT infrastructure. Consider its role in managing the lifecycle of an organization’s IT assets. These assets, which include the hardware, software, systems, and values of the business, are its lifeblood. In order to control and support the costs of these assets and their deployment within your IT infrastructure, you’ll need the singular, comprehensive assessment that comes from asset management.
There are of course tools to help facilitate real-time infrastructure monitoring and the distribution of your team’s IT service management.
A solution like InvGate Insight offers a consolidated view of your entire asset inventory. Beyond being an effective tool for IT service management, it streamlines the asset management of all physical, virtual, and cloud assets on one platform. With CMBD (Configuration Management Database) Discovery, for example, you’ll get a birdseye view of the relationships between networks and applications that populate your IT infrastructure.
Finally, InvGate Insight allows you to control IT security compliance and access management with Insight to keep all assets up to security standard.