Part I: Introduction
Almost every aspect of today’s businesses is powered by technology, from an individual employee’s work, operations, to goods and services. Technology can be optimised to improve communication, create efficiencies, and increase productivity when properly networked. The various components required for the operation and management of enterprise IT services and environments are referred to as the IT infrastructure.
A flexible, reliable, and secure IT infrastructure can assist an organisation or enterprise in meeting its business goals, whilst providing a competitive advantage in the market. In contrast, if an IT infrastructure is not properly implemented, it may result in connectivity, productivity, as well as security issues. This can eventually lead to system disruptions and breaches. Thus, it is always important to have a properly implemented IT infrastructure and management for your business to succeed.
IT infrastructure management is concerned with the oversight of critical IT infrastructure elements required to deliver business services. Although software applications and networking components can be included, the primary focus of IT infrastructure management is typically on physical components such as computer and networking hardware, as well as the facility itself.
Here are some of the benefits of having proper IT infrastructure:
- Ensures positive customer experience through continuous access to websites and online platforms.
- Develops and markets solutions in a timely manner.
- Allows businesses and their stakeholders to collect data in real-time.
- Increases the productivity of employees
Part II: The 7 Pillars of IT Infrastructure
The IT infrastructure components are made up of interdependent elements, with the two main groups being hardware and software. For IT infrastructure to function, the hardware relies on software such as in an operating system. Conversely, software, like an operating system, manages the system’s resources and hardware.
Hardware refers to any IT component that you can touch. While your software is a component of your infrastructure, it is not a component of your hardware because it is not physically present. Some examples of hardware include servers, hard drives, network cables, storage devices, laptops, and also printers. For software to run properly, it requires the right hardware. Your software may not run efficiently or at all if it does not have the proper hardware. When making decisions about your IT systems, it is critical to consider both, as this can affect how you work, your productivity, and the bottom line of your business.
When it comes to setting up your new business, investing in new hardware is more than just a financial decision. Before purchasing any hardware, think about the benefits it will bring to your business. This can influence the type of hardware you select. Certain types of computer hardware, for example, could assist you with:
- Cost reductions by automating routine tasks like record-keeping, accounting, as well as payroll.
- Improvements in customer service or supplier relationships through effective communication.
- Increasing business productivity and efficiency, making it easier for you to expand your business offer or reach new markets.
- Developing a competitive advantage over others by having the right business technology.
Choosing computer hardware for your business can be difficult with so many options available. You must identify your current, as well as future hardware needs, security concerns. Ultimately, your new IT solutions should support your company’s goals, objectives, and service offerings, all while aligning with your strategy. Since assessing computer hardware needs can seem like a daunting task, you can always reach out to reliable IT solutions providers in Singapore for their professional opinions.
The software allows your computer hardware to execute critical jobs and help your business run more smoothly. The appropriate software can even inspire new ways of doing things. Since software is a critical business asset, you should select your software carefully to ensure that it meets your company’s requirements.
Before you invest in new software, consider what you want it to do for you. For some, the software can help to cut costs by automating routine tasks and improving communication channels. Aside from all those, it is also recommended that you choose software that is compatible with your current hardware. Alternatively, you can also outsource your software requirements such as cloud computing to reduce your software and hardware costs.
There are various types of software. As such, it is important to understand the differences between them before investing in one.
- Bespoke software
This refers to writing software that is specifically tailored to your business processes and needs. It can take a long time to write bespoke software, and you need to have sufficient manpower and expertise in this field to support the development process. As such, bespoke software is sometimes not the best option for small organisations.
- System/Application software
System software augments your computer hardware, indirectly benefiting your business goals. One such example would be Microsoft Office 365 which is commonly used by businesses in Singapore and across the globe. This software is designed to help you achieve more with innovative Office applications such as Microsoft Teams, intelligent cloud services, as well as world-class security to protect your intellectual property.
- Packaged software
Standard software packages are usually the best option for small organisations. Sometimes, software offered by IT companies in Singapore can be customised if they do not cover the necessary functions.
Since the software is packaged, it is often standardised and affordable. Furthermore, it is easier to acquire support, training, and IT maintenance services from the IT company in Singapore.
- Open-source and proprietary software
Proprietary software is developed by a supplier and made available for use under an end-user licence agreement (EULA), which you accept before installation. The license specifies how the software can be used and typically restricts you from doing things like creating copies of the software for distribution or selling your license to others.
On the other hand, open-source software is distributed under a license allowing you to make copies and distribute them to others. The software includes the source code, which you can modify to suit your needs.
Aside from the aforementioned software, you can also choose to use cloud computing from a cloud service provider. In this scenario, documents, emails, customer information, business applications, and other assets are all kept online – ‘in the cloud’ – with cloud computing. Hence, they may be accessed from any computer or mobile device that has an internet connection and a web browser.
Your network is the core of your company. However, for it to perform correctly, it requires the correct support – in the form of good network infrastructure. There are three different types of network:
- Open system refers to a system that has been connected to the network and is ready for communication.
- Closed system is the opposite of open, and thus cannot be communicated with.
- Computer network is an interconnection of multiple devices known as hosts. These are connected using multiple paths with the main purpose being to send or receive data from the media. Computer networks can also include several devices/mediums that aid in communication between two separate devices; these are referred to as Network devices and include routers, switches, hubs, and bridges.
Connecting your business network to the world’s largest network, the Internet, dramatically increases the value and effectiveness of your company. An internet connection expands communications by providing email, voice, and video options; access to important data and information; and global access to customers.
4. Data Centre and Storage Facilities
Data centres are frequently referred to as a single entity, but they are made up of several technical components. These are classified into three types:
- Storage – Important company data is typically kept in a data centre on media ranging from tape to solid-state discs, with several backups.
- Compute – High-end servers provide memory and processing power to run applications.
- Network – Interconnections between data centre components and the outside world, such as routers, switches, application-delivery controllers, and others.
As data centres need to store and manage critical resources that are important to an organisation’s operations, their dependability, security, constant evolution, and reliability are of top priority.
As technology rapidly advances, data centres constantly go through significant changes and businesses also become increasingly dynamic and distributed. As such the technology used to power the data centres of businesses have to be agile and scalable. Thus, many organisations are now using a hybrid-cloud approach, in which some workloads are offloaded to a cloud such as Microsoft solution provider, while others still run in the local data centre.
5. Virtual And Remote Assets
A virtual asset refers to a digital representation of value that may be traded or transferred digitally and used for payment or investment. Tracking and monitoring hardware, as well as software, has become more important ever since the pandemic. With many businesses and organisations shifting to work-from-home (WFH), employees need company-wide systems to communicate effectively.
As we shift to remote working, many organisations have adopted remote asset management, an analytical system for monitoring and maintenance of assets, machines, as well as systems. In a way, remote asset management provides two-way communication in real-time, resulting in better control, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency.
In addition, the systematic integration of emerging technologies like the Internet-of-Things (IoT), cloud, and imaging, have made it possible for businesses in Singapore to increase security and improve uptime at remote offices. Reach out to a Managed Service by a reliable IT company in Singapore to help you handle the daily operations of your specialised applications, so that you can make remote working for your organisation a breeze.
6. Wireless And Wired Access
Wired access refers to the connection of devices through cables, such as connecting your laptop to the Internet. On the other hand, wireless access allows devices to stay connected to the network or system, but roam untethered to any wires.
With wired access, IT support services have more control over the devices that are allowed to access the network. This offers more security advantages, putting your devices at lower risks of contracting malware or security threats. Plus, wired networks are typically faster than wireless networks. However, the initial set-up is often a hassle as you have to find ways to run cables whilst not hindering your business operations. Wired access also restricts mobility, making it difficult for collaborative work to take place.
The main advantage of wireless access is not having to run cables – and giving your team wireless access to network resources often results in better collaboration and improved productivity. The flip side to wireless access is often security threats and access to critical data.
7. Consulting and System Integration Services
System integration is the process of merging all of an organization’s physical and virtual components. The physical components include diverse machine systems, computer hardware, inventory, and so forth. Data stored in databases, software, and apps comprise the virtual components. Often, it is not easy to integrate two systems, and one of the main challenges of system integration is the lack of expertise. To integrate systems successfully, you need someone knowledgeable about the data and internal structure. Hence, it is advisable to outsource to an IT company in Singapore that offers Managed Services to help you with the integration.
Part II: Types Of IT Infrastructure And Its Benefits
As we all know, IT infrastructure is the software, hardware, and equipment that supports the technology in an organization. Over the years, IT infrastructure has become more software-defined, reducing its dependency on hardware. In this section, we’ll cover the two different types of IT infrastructure – cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure.
2.1 Cloud Infrastructure
Aside from data centres, cloud computing has been a game-changing technology trend for businesses of all sizes in almost every industry. Not only that, but it has also become an essential component of a modern ecosystem and application integration strategy. Companies are turning to cloud providers such as Microsoft for flexible cloud infrastructure to deliver modernised computing, networking, and storage capabilities. Many companies find that they save more when they invest in cloud infrastructure like Microsoft Office 365, as compared to investing in hardware, or managing and maintaining a data centre in-house.
The definition of cloud infrastructure can be broad and complex, however, it has several key components including servers, software, network devices, as well as other storage resources. All of these components are necessary to create applications that can be easily accessed via the cloud. The applications can also be retrieved remotely over the Internet as well as other network means.
The primary goal of cloud infrastructure management is to provide business scalability while consolidating IT resources and allowing multiple users to share the same infrastructure without jeopardising each other’s data. This reduces running costs in the long run.
There are three models of cloud services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
- Software as a Service (SaaS), also known as cloud application service, is the most commonly used type of cloud service. SaaS cloud service providers in Singapore help businesses deliver a strong customer experience through the exchange of information and services. The Internet is used to provide distributed applications and services, thus eliminating the need for clients to download software. From running applications to networking, and even virtualisation, a cloud service provider can fully manage the entire process with SaaS.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) is similar to SaaS, however, its main difference is that it offers a platform to create software. The PaaS method is delivered via the Internet, in turn providing IT teams with a hassle-free experience to design software. With PaaS, the majority of services, including runtime, middleware, networking, storage and more,are handled by the cloud service provider. This allows you to focus more of your time and costs on the other aspects of your business.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers you the most in-house control, as it allows you to have direct access and maintenance to cloud resources. IaaS is also extensively automated, and you can buy the resources you need without having to rely on in-house hardware. However, unlike PaaS, the cloud services are managed by the company itself, and these include applications, data, as well as operating systems. The cloud service provider is only responsible for other aspects of storage, networking, and virtualisation.
As technology continues to improve, cloud services are only getting better and stronger. The key benefit of migrating to a cloud infrastructure is it helps you to streamline your business processes. It also helps reduce the operational costs of setting up and managing your own data centre. Furthermore, as most cloud infrastructures are self-managed, it improves the efficiency of business systems whilst allowing your staff to focus more on the aspects of your business instead of the IT issues. Last but not least, cloud services are secure thus lowering the risks of security breaches and hacking. Many IT solutions providers in Singapore have also adopted multiple approaches such as implementing stronger firewalls, advanced encryption keys, as well as setting up a private cloud to store sensitive data.
2.2 Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)
HCI integrates servers and storage into a distributed infrastructure platform with intelligent software to provide flexible building blocks that replace conventional infrastructure. It mixes commodity data centre server hardware with locally attached storage devices (spin disc or flash) and is powered by a distributed software layer to remove disadvantages associated with older IT infrastructure.
The utilisation of commodity hardware provided by a single manufacturer results in an IT infrastructure that is more flexible and easier to maintain than traditional enterprise storage technology. In addition, hyperconvergence can deliver the agility of public cloud infrastructure whilst letting you retain control over your own hardware.
Unlike HCI, converged infrastructure involves a preconfigured package of software and hardware in a single system for easier management. Even though it is a preconfigured package, the compute, storage, and networking components of a converged infrastructure are discrete and can be separated. In HCI, the components cannot be separated, and the software-defined elements are implemented virtually, resulting in the seamless integration of systems. This in turn allows organisations to expand their capacity easily.
One of the main benefits of using HCI is that it promises to deliver simplicity and flexibility across your systems as compared to other legacy solutions. As it is designed as a single system, it enables ease of use, with software-defined storage yielding greater scalability and resource efficiency. This allows companies to start small and grow resources as their business progresses. Many IT companies in Singapore will recommend HCI to smaller companies since this IT infrastructure increases cost savings in data centre power and space, as well as IT labour.
2.3 Benefits Of Optimising Your IT Infrastructure
A traditional IT infrastructure consists of standard hardware and software components. It typically uses more power, physical space, as well as money than other IT infrastructure. A traditional IT infrastructure is frequently installed on-premises for the organisation or private use, and having such an IT infrastructure can help your business thrive in its industry.
Here are three benefits of optimising your IT infrastructure:
1. Maximises your revenue
Having an optimised IT infrastructure maximises your business’ revenue as it allows your technology to work more efficiently. Shifting to IT infrastructure also has many benefits such as better data management and streamlined processes. For many small businesses, engaging in an IT solutions provider in Singapore is a great opportunity to cut costs whilst delivering quality services to attract more clients in the long run.
2. Ease of scalability
Traditional on-premise infrastructure model makes it hard for you to scale your business, whereas an optimised IT infrastructure saves you the hassle and costs of purchasing new equipment as well as configuring your servers for expansion. Not only are cloud services flexible, but it also allows you to scale your infrastructure vertically and horizontally with minimal impact on your business.
3. Reduce downtime and boost productivity
Having inefficient on-premise infrastructure models can put your IT infrastructure at risk of downtime, outages, and failure. Businesses that invest in technologies or outsource IT managed services in Singapore often experience productivity gains. A robust IT infrastructure plays an important role in connecting the stakeholders and streamlining processes. These are all crucial processes to help stakeholders get a bigger picture of the entire business, allowing them to work towards better practices and goals.
Part IV: Conclusion
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt and transition to the cloud for remote work. Engaging in IT infrastructure services allows you to take control of your business’ IT environment and experience. With more businesses making the shift to digital space, having a proper IT infrastructure gives you more control over your assets, ultimately resulting in better technological stability for progress.
As one of the leading IT companies in Singapore, Amnet Technology is committed to providing you and your business with intelligent, as well as effective solutions for your business problems. From analysis to support services, our experts are here for you every step of the way to help you meet your business objectives. Connect with us to find out how you can drive your business with the power of technologies.