When you think of the word infrastructure, chances are that bridges and roads come to mind – not IT. But IT infrastructure is the backbone of all IT operations, from the device you’re reading this blog on to the router that helped you access it and any software, plug-ins, cloud servers, or even browsers you’re currently using. And, in the quest for proactive service delivery, monitoring your IT infrastructure is key.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of IT infrastructure and how to incorporate IT infrastructure monitoring into your service management strategy.
What is IT Infrastructure and Why Is It Important?
To start, let’s break down what IT infrastructure is and why it’s so important.
Information Technology infrastructure, IT infrastructure, is defined in ITIL as:
“A combined set of hardware, software, networks, facilities, etc. (including all of the information technology related equipment) used to develop, test, deliver, monitor, control, or support IT services.”
In other words, IT infrastructure is the collective set of all IT software, services, devices, and supporting equipment.
If you’re thinking this sounds a bit like IT asset management (ITAM), you’re not wrong. ITAM helps you track all devices and contracts, compliance, and resource allocation, and service and change impact analysis (among other capabilities) – all of which are helpful for IT infrastructure monitoring. However, IT infrastructure takes into account every element that comprises the IT environment and the statuses for each element rather than compliance and contracts.
Why does IT infrastructure matter so much? Think of IT infrastructure as a map, with IT infrastructure monitoring working as the weather radar on that map. If one aspect of IT infrastructure, like an external software that is integrated into another app used to complete a job, stops working or goes down, it can have a ripple effect and negatively impact the rest of the IT operations and integrations.
How is IT Infrastructure Management Different from Enterprise Architecture?
You might be wondering if IT infrastructure is any different from Enterprise Architecture, and it’s true that sometimes the two terms are used (incorrectly) interchangeably.
Enterprise Architecture is the integration of business or operational architecture, solution or system architecture, and technical or standards architecture. EA is formally defined as:
“Enterprise Architecture (EA) facilitates the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating, and improving the key requirements, principles, and models that describe the enterprise's future state and enable its evolution and transformation. This transformation process entails the analysis and design of an enterprise in its current and future states from a strategic, organizational, and technological perspective.”
In short: Enterprise Architecture helps multiple teams in an organization work more efficiently toward a shared goal by understanding all the different elements that make up a business, and how those elements will interact with each other. EA focuses on strategic issues in the business to align transformation programs.
This is quite different from IT infrastructure and IT architecture, which deals solely with the pieces of the puzzle that comprise technology services.
Layers of IT Infrastructure
IT infrastructure as a whole is made up of physical resources, cloud computing, data, and data integrations. This can be broken down into a few different types or layers of IT infrastructure:
- Cloud Infrastructure describes the components and resources needed for cloud computing. This includes anything hosted or accessed by a cloud. For example, it can be internal cloud computing or a public cloud, like Sharepoint, Dropbox, Amazon, Apple storage, etc.
- Traditional infrastructure describes infrastructure that is managed and owned by the business itself, and includes things like data centers, data storage, and other equipment.
Within both of these types or layers of infrastructure, data, software, and hardware can be included. Software integrations are also part of this infrastructure, but more often fall under the cloud infrastructure type.
How to Monitor IT Infrastructure
Now that we know what IT infrastructure is and why it’s so important, we can dive into the best methods for infrastructure monitoring.
The first method, and arguably the most archaic, for monitoring IT infrastructure is through a manual and reactive method. This means someone will be assigned to monitor, periodically, a list of elements in the infrastructure. The problem with this is that no matter how small or large your infrastructure is, there’s too many issues that can go unnoticed. Even running scripts to check for availability doesn’t scale across a modern IT environment.
The next method is through a predictive IT infrastructure monitoring automation solution. An AIOps solution can help you view real-time monitoring of your IT infrastructure, network, IoT, cloud and applications, while at the same time connecting to your ITSM and ITAM solutions to keep managed assets up to date.
An IT infrastructure monitoring automation solution can also help you configure dynamic thresholds based on recommendations and reduce false positives by 30%. All of this works together to create something of an IT weather report to help you monitor and predict possible downtime for the next 15 hours on a rolling basis (an essential tool when it comes to scheduling time off for your service desk agents and IT staff).
The Relationship Between IT Infrastructure and IT Service Management
We know that the future of service delivery is a shift to proactive service management, but how do you make that shift from reactive to proactive? By integrating key features like IT infrastructure monitoring with IT service management.
Using ITSM and IT infrastructure monitoring together, you can have a more wholistic view of the health of your IT services. You’ll have a greater view to understand why incidents or problems are occurring, can make connections between incidents and make them easier to diagnose before downtime occurs, and you’ll overall see a faster resolution time with less downtime.
The relationship to accomplish these goals doesn’t lie in ITSM alone. IT takes ITSM, ITAM, ITOM, and infrastructure monitoring to make the entire idea come to life, with additional support from remote access solutions.
To learn how to integrate these solutions and create a proactive service management experience, get a demo now.