What Is IT Infrastructure?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about the different types and components of information technology (IT) infrastructure.

[Featured image] An IT support specialist is working on their desktop in the office.

IT infrastructure refers to the various components information technology environments and operations require to maintain performance. Having a strong information technology infrastructure is beneficial for business operations because it improves employee productivity and efficiencyas well as helps deliver quality solutions to customers. Implementing proper IT infrastructure is essential for a business to lower the risk of security issues, such as breaches and other challenges related to connectivity and overall productivity. 

In IT infastructures there are two main types: traditional infrastructure and cloud infrastructure

  • With a traditional infrastructure, the various components are typically owned and managed on-site by a business or organization. Keep in mind, this type of IT infastructure requires a significant amount of hardware, physical space, and needs more power than other types. This ultimately leads to traditional IT infrastructure being more costly than cloud infrastructure.

  • Cloud infrastructure makes accessing IT infrastructure possible through the internet by renting from a cloud infrastructure provider. This type of infrastructure is a public cloud, however you have the choice to create your own private cloud. Cloud infrastructure enables portability and allows businesses to access services from a multitude of different locations. 

Read more: Information Technology (IT) Terms: A to Z Glossary

Components of IT infrastructure

The following are key IT infrastructure components:

  • Hardware: The physical components of IT infrastructure are hardware. Examples of hardware include computers, laptops, routers, and printers.

  • Software: Software components allow hardware to function and provide direction as to how it should perform. Common software components include tools, such as customer relationship management software and enterprise resource planning software.

  • Operating system: Operating systems are a specific type of software that manage a system's processes, activities, and resources, including all of the software and hardware components.

  • Network: Networks connect various devices to allow them to work as a cohesive unit, requiring support from both hardware and software. These components include servers, firewalls, internet connectivity, and switches.

  • Data center: Depending on the type of IT infrastructure, data centers are physical or virtual locations where information and applications are safely stored. A data center consists of several components, including security systems and storage devices.

Learn more about information technology

If you’re ready to start in an information technology career, consider earning a Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera. In this program, you’ll have the opportunity to develop valuable IT skills, including encryption algorithms and techniques, network protocols, cloud computing, and more. Earning your certificate can help you qualify for several IT positions, such as an IT specialist or tech support specialist.

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