Company IT landscapes are undergoing a radical change. Today, more than ever, it is essential to break down deadlocked and inefficient IT infrastructures. The times of isolated solutions preventing inter-divisional cooperation are over. Modern cloud solutions with company-wide data access possibilities increase effectiveness in order to achieve the company’s goals.
A company’s IT infrastructure maps all hardware and software used as well as network-based communication services and their interfaces. For automatized information processing, the IT infrastructure is summarized in superordinate and subordinate levels. For example, an operating system is a basic requirement for executing software, and servers form the basis for network services.
IT infrastructure refers to both hardware and software as well as the network environment that is a prerequisite for the operation of application software. The IT infrastructure is therefore the base for software application. The software level has no direct influence on the underlying IT infrastructure.
So far, the theory. In practice, at the hardware level, the IT infrastructure comprises a workstation computer with all its sub-components (RAM, hard disk drive, network port, etc.) as well as the network environment and one or more servers. These are all components of an IT environment that are necessary for the operation of application software.
However, the concept of IT infrastructure can be much broader.
For the developer of an operating system, the computer is his IT infrastructure - here, too, one thing determines the other: The developer can use the infrastructure (computer), but not directly influence it. For an application developer, on the other hand, the operating system is part of his infrastructure. For the user of application programs, the applications installed on the computer are also parts of the IT infrastructure. In its entirety, the IT infrastructure is a prerequisite for the use of digital media in a company. This is usually done using network technologies.
Based on the previous remarks, the software is also a part of the IT infrastructure. This includes for example browsers, industry software, database systems, office programs, etc. Furthermore, the IT infrastructure includes network services and servers, for example file servers, self-contained intranets, VPNs, print servers or e-mail servers. Hereby, network services can be made available not only to internal company users, but also to external users – in the past encrypted VPNs were mostly provided for this purpose.
Consolidation and virtualization of the IT infrastructure
Within a modern data infrastructure, it is in the interest of IT departments to standardize the IT infrastructure. This is referred to as consolidation. During the implementation individual components are virtualized (often storage drives or even complete servers). Desktop workspaces, servers, software, data sources and security concepts – all these things literally grow together through virtualization. This way the existing infrastructure can be made more efficient, flexible and cost-effective.
The IT infrastructure within the digital transformation
In the course of the digital transformation, many companies are currently starting to replace physical systems in company-internal computer centers with virtualized cloud components. They are by far more cost-effective, freely scalable and furthermore, safer than conventional infrastructure on a classic hardware basis.
Modernize your data infrastructure to implement digital transformation and create digital workplaces that are not only accepted by employees but are used on a daily basis. The following points show you how it is done.
Where hardware-based storage media and servers were used in the past, virtualized resources are now available to users at their workstations and can be used as cloud services via the Internet.
Physical hardware in a computer center is no longer needed; instead storage media in a virtualized form are used in the cloud.
This allows computer resources to be bundled and optimally utilized or distributed according to use.
IT-security concepts and data protection define our digital work life, not only since the EU General Data Protection Regulation. They have a significant influence on the IT infrastructure.
End-to-end encryption is just as important as modern access control mechanisms that ensure that company internal and external employees only “see” the data they are allowed to see and need for their work.
Cloud-based services are Internet-based IT solutions offered by a provider, but self-hosted cloud solutions are also conceivable.
The great advantage of this technology is that the cloud user does not have to worry about operating the infrastructure - the provider is responsible for security, availability, maintenance and care. Using the cloud is much more secure and cost-effective than operating your own IT infrastructure, because cloud providers offer know-how and experience in data security and hardware integration at a level that an IT landscape in your company can hardly match.
For a long time, FTP servers were frequently used servers, particularly for the transfer of large files.
Due to the lack of encryption of this outdated server technology and other security problems, the use of FTP servers is increasingly being moved to the background in favor of modern cloud sync tools.
Digital transformation describes a change in the digital working world, which involves digitally mapping all business processes of a company. Here too, cloud technologies are very important.
Nowadays, the digital workplace is no longer tied to a fixed place at a desk. Thanks to the cloud and Internet, the digital worker can work anywhere he likes with his terminal device (notebook, tablet-PC, etc.).
Business intelligence (BI) is the king’s class of cloud computing and the modernization of the IT infrastructure.
BI offers the possibility to merge data in large quantities from different sources, to analyze them and to make them available for the company management in a structured form.
While previous IT landscapes quickly reached their limits in BI tasks, the implementation of business intelligence tools is no longer a problem thanks to cloud technologies with large storage media, high bandwidths and powerful processors.
“I will send you the contract by email.” – Everyone has probably heard this sentence before. Since the email is still the most popular way to exchange files and information.
However, hardly anybody is aware that all information is sent in plain language. This is especially harmful in a business environment, as emails and email attachments can be intercepted with relatively little effort. That is why many companies are searching for a solution to still send sensitive files securely and GDPR-compliantly via email.
Employees who work with different devices such as laptops, smartphones or tablets are familiar with the problem: The data status is different. To ensure that the same data record is available on all computers and that nothing is lost, the files must be synchronized.
At the same time the IT department faces a problem: If the data of all employees are synchronized simultaneously and constantly, the lines are permanently overloaded.
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Every data exchange is also connected to an infrastructure. The files must be physically stored, managed and backed up. However, distributed data storage and cloud-like structures shift the focus. Where files are located is becoming less important.
What matters is how they can best be managed. Control, security and integration are just as important as seamless expansion into a hybrid or public cloud – it is just a matter of time before object storage becomes common practice.