IT infrastructure refers to the components that make up your IT network. It can refer to everything from hardware, to software, to your internet connection. It also includes the human resources you have on hand to administer the network. In short, IT infrastructure is the provisions you have in place to provide IT facilities.
Hardware refers to the physical parts of your IT infrastructure. In its simplest form, this could mean your computer or laptop. In reality, you’re also likely to have a server, router and other networking components such as switches. These are physical objects you can see and touch.
Software refers to a set of instructions that tell your system how to perform a task. The most common examples of software are programs such as Microsoft Office. Your IT infrastructure will consist of more complex software too though. For example, the operating system (Windows, Mac OS etc.) is also an example of software.
Networking refers to the parts that connect everything together and make it all work. Stood alone one computer isn’t very beneficial to a business. By connecting a computer to a network, a server and the internet you can do a lot more. For example, you can browse the web, share files and work from home.
All IT infrastructure requires a human element to administer it. This might be an individual in-house, a team of people or an outsourced company like Acronyms. The level of involvement all depends on the complexity of the network and the skills a company has to hand.
Onsite infrastructure v Cloud-based infrastructure
You can break IT infrastructure down into two sub-groups; onsite and cloud-based.
Onsite IT infrastructure is when the IT network exists in your office or building. This will involve servers and networking components at your place of work. Having your IT infrastructure onsite allows you to have greater control over it. Onsite infrastructure usually involves a large up-front cost though.
In comparison, cloud-based IT infrastructure is when your IT network is not at your place of work. Instead, the network will exist elsewhere in a data centre. Data centres are usually owned and managed by somebody else.
The main advantages of this is that cloud options are often easier to finance and paid for monthly. They are also easier to scale. Given the hardware is offsite though you have less control over the network. You may also have constraints and limits enforced upon you.
Hybrid IT infrastructure
A hybrid approach to IT infrastructure is a combination of onsite and cloud-based. This approach is becoming more common among businesses. Hybrid options allow you to utilise the advantages that both onsite and cloud have to offer.
In one common scenario, a business may have a server onsite for their day-to-day operations. They may then use the cloud for backup and disaster recovery provisions or as file storage.
What’s the right IT infrastructure for my business?
This is hard to answer.
The information above is the simplest way to think about IT infrastructure. It will often be unique to your business and depends on what it is you want to achieve. IT networks range in size and complexity.
At Acronyms, it’s our aim to provide the IT infrastructure that is best suited to your business needs. If you’d like to discuss this with a member of the team, please contact us here.