Infrastructure refers to the set of structures that are required for the operation of a location, physical facility or business operation. On a national or municipal level, the term infrastructure refers to things like roads, sewers and drainage systems, water treatment facilities, bridges, tunnels, public transportation systems, airports, storage facilities, and other components. In a physical facility like an office building, physical infrastructure consists of lighting, electricity, plumbing, alarm systems, electronic access, and other features. The commonality here is that both physical and virtual infrastructure components are used by the people who manage them to deliver services that are crucial to the overall function and operations that characterize each location.
Infrastructure solves problems - for example, plumbing infrastructure solves the problem of needing to get rid of human waste and electrical systems solve the problem of needing to power machines, electronics or appliances. A bridge solves the problem of needing to cross a river. The purpose of infrastructure management is to maintain infrastructure elements in acceptable working condition so they can be leveraged to solve the problem for which they were designed and implemented.
In the context of an IT organization, infrastructure refers to the hardware, software and other systems that are necessary for delivering IT services in accordance with service level agreements. IT Infrastructure management includes the management of IT policies and processes, along with the equipment, data, human resources and external contacts (such as vendors or security organizations) needed to ensure that IT operations run smoothly and efficiently.
IT Infrastructure management is sometimes divided into three components: systems management, storage management, and network management. There are several defined categories of IT infrastructure elements that must be managed to ensure that critical applications remain available. The availability of cloud services has changed the way organizations manage their IT infrastructure, with an increasing number of Infrastructure management tasks being outsourced to third-party managed service providers (MSPs). IT Organizations can also invest in cloud-based infrastructure management tools to help simplify and streamline their infrastructure management activities.
IT infrastructure consists of a set of hardware and software tools that an organization leverages to deliver IT services. IT organizations that deploy and manage all of their IT infrastructures in-house must effectively manage these components to successfully ensure the ongoing availability of IT services.
Computer Hardware Platforms - Hardware platforms include laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones along with server machines and mainframes.
Operating System Platforms - Computer hardware systems require an operating system to function. An operating system provides the basic graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easier for users to communicate with the computer and leverage its full capabilities.
Enterprise Software Applications - Enterprise software applications include a variety of software programs used by the IT organization. Enterprise middleware products such as Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, Microsoft, and BEA are the major players in the enterprise software space. Middleware products provide important services to the organization, including application servers, content management, identity management, business intelligence, and business process management.
Data Management and Storage - IT organizations that collect and aggregate large volumes of data require a robust data storage solution. Storage and database management tools such as IBM DB2, Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server are all used by organizations that wish to track and keep more information about their organization's operational, security and business performance.
Networking and Telecommunications - Virtual network software products like Microsoft Windows Server and Cisco fall under networking and telecommunications, along with the physical networking infrastructure (telephones, in-office cabling, routers, additional wireless access points, etc. Managing networking infrastructure is a growing challenge that IT operators face each day.
Internet Platforms - Internet platforms include a range of infrastructure elements that are exclusively accessed via the world wide web. Platforms such as Apache, Java, UNIX, and .NET are common.
Consultants and System Integrators - IT infrastructure management isn't always a straightforward process, and it can sometimes be worthwhile to hire an experienced consultant who can point you in the right direction with regard to managing your IT Infrastructure. The most popular consulting firms for IT issues include IBM/KPMG, EDS, and Accenture.
Cloud service providers have changed the way that IT organizations choose to manage the infrastructure elements that are crucial for their daily activities. In the past, organizations that wanted to undergo a digital transformation had no choice but to own and operate their own IT systems. Today, thanks to the introduction and proliferation of cloud computing, it has become easier than ever for organizations to outsource infrastructure management according to one of three common models:
Infrastructure-as-a-Service - In this model, an IT organization outsources its physical infrastructure and associated management needs to a third-party service provider. The provider will operate and manage networking, storage, servers and virtualization services for the IT organization.
Platform-as-a-Service - In this model, and IT organization outsources its physical infrastructure and development platform to a third-party service provider. This includes networking and storage infrastructure, servers, virtualization, operating systems, middleware, and runtime.
Software-as-a-Service - In the SaaS model, the IT organization accesses a finished software product through a web-based portal. On the other end, a third-party cloud service provider manages all of the IT infrastructures that are necessary to deliver the application. The SaaS model enables companies to access software applications that deliver business value without the added burden of managing and administering the software.
Today's leading IT organizations choose infrastructure management solutions that help automate and streamline processes, drive efficiency and reduce costs. Some of the most common software features include:
- Capacity management and resource forecasting
- Trend analysis and dashboarding using data from all sources within a hybrid cloud environment
- Heterogeneous environment support
- Comprehensive network monitoring
- Monitoring and troubleshooting of individual physical hardware assets and virtual machines
Sumo Logic is an industry-leading solution that enables IT organizations to engage in more efficient infrastructure management. With Sumo Logic, IT organizations can aggregate data in the form of log files from applications and machines across the network, visualize that data in real-time dashboards and use it to drive infrastructure management decisions.
Assessing network activity to inform resource allocation, discovering user behavior trends that inform operational decisions and getting real-time feedback on the health of virtual and physical assets are just a few of the ways that Sumo Logic empowers IT organizations to enhance their Infrastructure Management processes and procedures.
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