What is IT Infrastructure? The Basics & Real Use-Cases for Businesses

In this article, we will provide a definition of IT infrastructure, discuss the key elements of this system, describe the most common types of IT infrastructure, and compare the advantages of each from the perspective of a business.

The basics of IT Infrastructure

IT infrastructure is a set of computing hardware and software that enables the functioning of a company's IT tools. Among these tools are corporate websites, ERP and CRM systems, databases, remote workstations for employees, services for clients and more. Modern businesses cannot operate without these tools, so building IT infrastructure is one of the key strategic tasks for any company.

The hardware part of any IT infrastructure consists of servers, network equipment, and personal devices for users. Servers provide computing power needed to run software, network equipment connects the machines and provides access to users, and employees' computers are used to interact and work with various apps.

The software part includes operating systems, hypervisors, database management systems, remote work software, firewalls, antivirus software, data backup tools, and more. The list of software depends on the specific needs of the company; here, we only list the basic necessities required for an IT infrastructure to function.

A data center is the environment where the hardware portion of the IT infrastructure is located. The data center not only serves as physical space for the servers but also ensures that it functions with no interruptions. For this, you need backup power sources, alternative networks, server cooling systems, multi-level security systems, and more. A company can either set up a local data center on its own or rent space in a professional data center.

"Both clouds and servers can be accessed remotely."

What types of IT infrastructures are there?

IT infrastructures can be divided into three main types: server-based, cloud-based, and hybrid. They differ in terms of architectural principles and resource organization methods. We will explore the fundamental differences between these types of IT infrastructure from a technological standpoint.

Articles discussing the differences between servers and clouds often make the assumption that server infrastructure is the same as local infrastructure in a company's office, while cloud infrastructure refers to a remote system in a provider's data center. In fact, server infrastructure can also be rented from a service provider and hosted in a professional data center. In other words, both clouds and servers can be accessed remotely.

In traditional server-based infrastructure, users work with the computing capabilities of individual machines, either physical or virtual. Typically, users work with Virtual Private Servers (VPS), which are virtual segments of specific servers. Each VPS has a fixed set of parameters, such as CPU cores, RAM, and storage. These segments are used to divide resources among processes.

On the other hand, the key principle of cloud infrastructure is the consolidation of server resources into an abstract pool. This pool represents the collective computing power of all servers in the system. Cloud users create virtual machines (VMs), which are similar to VPS in principle. However, a VM is created using any available resources, rather than being tied to a specific server. Moreover, the configuration of a VM can be changed at any time.

A hybrid infrastructure is a system that combines multiple types of infrastructures. For example, it can be made up of two types of clouds or a combination of cloud and server infrastructure. This kind of system helps leverage the advantages of different architectures depending on the tasks at hand. For instance, tasks with stable workloads can be hosted in the server infrastructure, while those that require flexibility can be deployed in the cloud.

"IT infrastructure directly impacts the efficiency of your business."

What should you expect from a well-built IT infrastructure?

When building an IT infrastructure, it is important to consider several factors that directly impact the efficiency of the company's operations and depend on the solution's architecture. These factors include the ability to adapt to new workloads, resistance to hardware failures, and data protection. We will examine these factors and evaluate which types of IT infrastructures better address each of them.

Fault tolerance

Stable operation is the primary requirement for any IT system. It is not sufficient to rely on high-quality hardware alone, as equipment is also prone to malfunctions. Each element of the system requires backup components to ensure that the infrastructure continues functioning in the event of equipment failure, as well as reliable conditions in the data center. Moreover, in different types of IT infrastructures, resilience is organized at the architectural level.

In the case of server infrastructure, resilience is often achieved through clustering. A cluster is a system where the workload is automatically distributed among multiple servers. If one server fails, all processes continue running on another server.

Fault tolerance in the cloud relies on a similar principle; however, this architecture has several advantages. Typically, clouds are much larger systems, which means more reserve resources are available in case of failures. Moreover, the cloud can utilize the power of multiple servers simultaneously: no task is dependent on the functioning of a single server.

Hybrid infrastructure is the most resilient option due to data distribution. For example, this kind of system can consist of a server cluster and a cloud located in a separate data center: even if the cluster fails completely, the cloud will continue to operate. However, it is worth considering that hybrid infrastructures can get expensive and complex in terms of management. They should be considered as a solution for your company based on a combination of factors, not only for the sake of fault tolerance.


From a practical standpoint, scalability of IT infrastructure for businesses refers to the ability to quickly allocate resources for new workloads. This is necessary for both day-to-day tasks and long-term growth. As a company grows, it requires more computing power for ERP and CRM systems, employee workstations, applications, DevOps platforms, and other tools.

Server infrastructure can only scale through the purchase or rental of new equipment. This takes time, and the servers also need to be integrated into the existing system. Any IT infrastructure project should be planned in a way that takes the necessity of reserve resources into consideration. In the case of servers, it is important to strike a balance that will allow you to maintain a long-term reserve while not overpaying for idle equipment. Failure to maintain this balance could result in a return on investment only several years down the line.

Cloud architecture gives users the ability to add and remove resources at any time. With public clouds, the size of the infrastructure can be adjusted within minutes, and the price changes accordingly. No need to rent a machine with a fixed configuration; instead, a virtual machine (VM) can be created based on the requirements of a specific task. This flexibility makes public clouds particularly suitable for quickly adapting to new workloads without unnecessary expenses.

With hybrid infrastructure, tasks with predictable workloads and those requiring flexibility can be separated. For example, internal company tools that will be used in the long term are better placed in server infrastructure, as a one-time investment in equipment is more cost-effective than renting resources in the cloud. At the same time, clouds can be utilized for temporary projects or for expanding capabilities during peak load periods.


DDoS attacks, viruses, phishing, hackers: these are threats that every business must consider, especially if the company handles customer data. Protection against such dangers consists of internal management procedures, software-based measures, and physical security. In the context of this section, we assume that the infrastructure is hosted in a professional data center: organizing a comparable level of protection within an on-premises data center would require investments that are impractical or unfeasible for most companies.

The data security measures used in server infrastructure can also be applied to other infrastructure solutions, such as distributed data storage, firewalls, hardware-based encryption, antivirus software, VPN tunnels, segregated user access levels, and more. However, in the case of server infrastructure, you will have to implement most of these features on your own: when renting or purchasing servers, you only get "bare metal."

By renting cloud services, a company eliminates the need to organize basic security measures on its own. For example, a cloud user can differentiate access between employees, set up a VPN using built-in tools, and filter traffic by default. Additionally, the user can is free to install any other data protection tools.

In addition to the security measures in each component of the hybrid infrastructure, the principle of distribution contributes to data protection. Confidential data can be stored in a private cloud, which is the most secure type of cloud architecture, while less sensitive data can be stored in a public cloud. Even if a malicious actor bypasses the security systems of one platform, they will not gain access to the other part of the infrastructure.

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What’s the best way to build your company’s IT infrastructure?

To build an IT infrastructure in-house, a company will need a dedicated team of engineers, a budget for equipment, a facility for a data center, and personnel to continually manage and maintain the system. Each of these tasks entails additional difficulties and expenses. For instance, finding a physical space for your equipment is only a small fraction of the job: the next steps include organizing backup power sources, alternative networks in case the primary ones fail, cooling systems, physical security, and more.

Developing an IT foundation on your own is a good way to ensure that the system matches your company's specific plans and objectives. However, you can get the same kind of personalization with fewer time and resource investments by reaching out to an IT infrastructure provider that can build a system based on your business needs. Your IT platform should help you reach your long-term goals, not divert resources and attention that would have been better spent elsewhere.

The SIM-Networks team devotes as much attention to each project as your in-house IT department would. This approach extends to the entire cycle of our cooperation. Our experience has shown that transparent communication is the key that makes IT infrastructures evolve along with the business. Off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all solutions are easy to outgrow: we constantly adapt IT systems to the real challenges faced by our clients.

If you want to find out which type of IT infrastructure best suits the specifics of your business, contact SIM-Networks. We will be glad to provide a consultation based on your preferences and our own expertise.

Illia Chernikov

As a copywriter for SIM-Networks, Illia is passionate about delivering high-quality, accessible content in the industry of IT infrastructure solutions and helping readers deepen their understanding of the field. His main interests lie in the business aspects of IT infrastructure and how its application helps companies achieve their goals. Illia’s other interests include literature and linguistics.

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