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.
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.