IT infrastructure refers to the composite hardware, software, network resources and services required for the existence, operation and management of an enterprise IT environment. It allows an organization to deliver IT solutions and services to its employees, partners and/or customers and is usually internal to an organization and deployed within owned facilities.
IT infrastructure consists of all components that somehow play a role in overall IT and IT-enabled operations. It can be used for internal business operations or developing customer IT or business solutions.
Typically, a standard IT infrastructure consists of the following components:
- Hardware: Servers, computers, data centers, switches, hubs and routers, and other equipment
- Software: Enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), productivity applications and more
- Network: Network enablement, internet connectivity, firewall and security
- Meat ware: Human users, such as network administrators (NA), developers, designers and end users with access to any IT appliance or service are also part of an IT infrastructure, specifically with the advent of user-centric IT service development.
Types of infrastructures
Immutable infrastructure is an approach to managing services and software deployments on IT resources wherein components are replaced rather than changed. An application or services is effectively redeployed each time any change occurs. In a traditional software deployment, an application or service update requires that a component is changed in production, while the complete service or application remains operational. Immutable infrastructure instead relies on instancing, where components are assembled on computing resources to form the service or application.Once the service or application is iterated, its components are set -- thus, the service or application is immutable, unable to change. When a change is made to one or more components of a service or application, a new iteration is assembled, tested, validated and made available for use.
Compostable infrastructure is a framework that treats physical compute, storage and network fabric resources as services. Resources are logically pooled, so administrators don't have to physically configure hardware to support a specific software application. Admins can organize and manage the resources through software tools using a high level of automation and orchestration, enabling software-defined infrastructure capabilities for the data center.
Critical infrastructure is the body of systems, networks and assets that are so essential that their continued operation is required to ensure the security of a given nation, its economy, and the public’s health and/or safety.
Although critical infrastructure is similar in all nations due to the basic requirements of life, the infrastructure deemed critical can vary according to a nation’s needs, resources and development level. In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies 16 sectors for critical infrastructure:
- Energy sector related to powering communications technologies.
- Entertainment and media.
- Information technology sector control systems and services.
- Providers of investment products.
Dark infrastructure is the part of a framework that is composed of undocumented, but active, software or services whose existence and function is unknown to system administrators -- despite the fact it may be integral to the continued operation of documented infrastructure. This is often referred to as shadow IT, and it can become a serious security or compliance vulnerability for the organization.