Information technology infrastructure has the shared technology resources that provide the platform for the firm’s specific information system applications. It infrastructure includes investment in hard ware, software and services such has consultaning education, and training that are shared across the entire firm or across business units in the firm. A firm IT infrastructure provides the foundation for serving customers, working with vendors, and managing internal firm business process.
Defining IT Infrastructure:
IT infrastructure consists of a set of physical devices and software applications that are required to operate the entire enterprises. But IT infrastructure is also a set of firmwide services budgeted by management and comprising both human and technical capabilities. These services include the following:
Computing platform used to provide computing services that connect employees, customers and suppliers into coherent digital environment, including large mainframes, desktop, and laptop computers, and personal digital assistance and internal appliances.
IT management services that plan and develop the infrastructure, corrdinate with the business units for It services, manage accounting for the IT expenditure, and provide project management services.
IT standards services that provide the firm and its business units with policy to determined when, how and which information technology will be used.
IT education services which provide training in system use to employees and offer manager training how to plane for and manage IT investment
It research and development services that provide the firm with research on potentional future It project and investment that could help the firm differentiate itself in the market place.
This service platform perspective makes it easier to understand the business value provided by infrastructure investment for instance in the US the real business value of a fully loaded personal computer operating at 3 gigahertz that cost about $ 1000.or a high speed internet connection is a hard to understand without knowing who will use it and how it will be used.
Evaluation of infrastructure
The IT infrastructure in organisations today is an outgrowth of over fifty years of evolution in computing plate forms. There have been five stages in this evaltuin, each representining a different confiqution of computing power and infrastructure elements. The five eras are general purpose main farm and minicomputer computing, personal computer, client/server networks, enterprise computing and cloud computing.
Cloud computing era
the growing bandwidth power of the internet has pushed the client/server model one step further, towards what is called the “cloud computing model “cloud computing refers to a model of computing where firms and individuals obtain computing power and software application over the internet, rather than purchasing their own hardware and software.currenly cloud computing is the fastest growing form of computing, with an estimated market size in 2009 of $8 billion, and a projected size of $160 billion 2012.
Technology drivers of IT infrastructure evaluation
The changes in IT infrastructure described the result from developments of computers processing,memory chips, storage devices telecommunication and networking hardware and software design that have exponentially increase computing power while exponentially reducing costs.
The term hadware, software and firmware occur frequently in any literature concern with computer. it is important at the outset to have some understanding of their meanings
Is this physically components in computer circuts, keyboards, diskdrivers, disk and printers are all example of pieces of hardware.
Software is a set of instructions, written in specialized language, the execution of which controls the operation of the computer.programes are examples of software.
Is the perment storage of programme instruction in hardware. It is usually used to refer to a set of instructions that is permenlty encoded on micro chips.
The term firmware is used because it is the inseparable combination of hardware and software. (Business information system by Grham Curtis and David Cobham 6th edition 2008).
Declining communications costs and the internet.
A 4th technology driver transforming IT infrastructure is the rapid decline in the costs of communication and exponentional growth in the size of the internet and estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide now have internet access.the exponentionally declining cost of communication both over the ineternet and over telephone network(which increasingly are based on the internet).as communication costs falls towards a very small numbers and approach zero, utilization of communication and computing facilities explodes. To take advantage of the business value associated with the internet ,firms must greatly expand the power of their clients/server networks, desktop cleients,and mobile computing devices there is every reason to believe these trends will continue. One reason for the growth in the internet population is the rapid decline in internet connection and overall communication cost. The cost per kilobite of internet access has fallen exponentionally since 1995.degital subscriber line DSL and cable modems now deliver a kilibote of communication for a retail price of around two cents.
Standards and network effects
Todays enterpeices infrastructure and internet computing would be immopossible both now and in the future-without agrrements amoung manifutures and widespread consumers acceptance of technology standards.technology standards are specifications that established the compatbanlity of product and the ability to communicate in a network.
Tehnolody standard unleash powerful economy of scale and result in price delins has manufacture focus on the product buil to a single standard.without these economies of scale,computing of any sort would be far more more expensive than its currently the case.
Beginning in the 1990s ,corporations started moving towards standard computing and communication plateforms the wintal PC with the window oprationg system and micro soft office desktop productivity applications became the standard desktop and mobile client computing platform.widespread adoptional of the uniix has the enterpeices server oprating system of choice made possible the resplacment of proprietary and expensive main fram infrastructure.in telecommunicatios,the Ethernet standard enabled PCs to connect together in small local area network.and TCP/IP standard enable these LANs to be connected into firm-wide networks,and ultimately,to the internet.
IT infrastructure today is composed of 7 major components. These components constitute investment that must be coordinated with one another to provide the firm with a coherent infrastructure.
Computer hardware platform
In 2008,285 million PCs where shift worldwide, with a market value or $253 billion. Investments of more than US$ 18 billion in hardware manufacturing in India including telecoms hardware have stoked expectation of hardware booms .these components include client machines (desktop PCs ,mobile computing devices such as I phones and blackberrys,and laptops)and server machines the server markets is more comlex,using mostly Intel or AMD process in the form of blade servers in rackes.blade server are ultrathin computers consisting of a circuit board with a processor, memory and network connection that are store in rack
The supply of computer hardware has increasly become concentrated in top firms such as IBM, HP, DELL, SUNMICRO system ,three chip producers,intel AMD and IBM.The industry has collectively settled on Intel has the standard processers ,with major exceptions in the server market for unix and Linux machine, which might use sun or IBM Unix processers.
The emerging mobile digital platform
As computing increasly take place over the network,new mobile digital computing platform has emerg.communication devices such as cell phone and smart phone such as the blackberry and iphone has taken on many functions of hand hald computers,includind transmission of data,surfing the web,transmiting email and instant messges,display digital content,and exchanging data with internal cooprate system.the new mobile platform also include small low cost light weight sub note books called net books optomised for wirless communication and internet access,with core computing function suchas a word processing,and digital e book reader such as amazons,kindle with some web access capiblities.more and more business computing is moving from PCs and desktop machines to these mobile devices;managers are incresaly using these devices to coordinate work and communicate with employees.
Grid computing involve connecting geographically remote computers in to a single network to create a virtual supercomputer by combining the computational power of all computers on the grid.
Grid computing takes advantage of the fact that most computers in the united state use their central processing units on average only 255 of the time for the work they have been assigned, leaving these idle resources available for other processing tasks. Grid computing was imposable until high speed internet connection enabled forms to connect remote machines economically and move enormous quantises of data
Grid computing requires software programmes to control and allocate resources on the grid.cleint software communicate with a server software application. The server software breaks data and application code into chunks that are than parcel out to the grids machines. The client machine can perform their traditional task while running grid application in the back ground. The business case for using grid computing involves cost saving speed of computation,agility.for example, Royal Dutch/Shell group is using a scalable grid computing platform that improve the accuracy and the speed of its scientific modelling applications to find the best oil reservoirs.
Cloud computing in which hardware and software capibiltyies are provided as services on the internet.data are permently stored in remote servers in massive data centre and accessed and updated over the internet using clients that include desktop,notebook,enteriment centre netbookand mobile devices fro example,google application provides common business application online that are accessed from a web browers,while the software and user data are stored on the server.since orgainsations using cloud computing generally do not own the infrastructure,thay do not have to make large investmants in there own hardware and software.instead,they purchase their computing services from remote providers and pay only for the amount of computing power that actually use.
Some analyst believed that clod computing represents a sea change in the way compting will be performed by corporation as business computing shift out of private data centres in to the cloud computing is more immediately appealing to small and medium size business that lack resources to purchase and own their own hardware and software. However large corporation have huge investment complex proprietary systems supporting unique business process,some of which give them strategic advantages. The most likely scinor is a hybrid computing model where firms will use their own infrastructure for their most essential core activities and adopt cloud computing for less critically system. Cloud computing will gradually shift firm from having a fix infrastructure capacity toward a more flexible infrastructure, some of it owned by the firm and some of it rented from joint compute centre owned by computer hardware winders.
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