Chapter 5: IT Infrastructure & Emerging Technologies I. Define IT infrastructure and identify its components. a. IT infrastructure= the shared technology resources that provide the platform for the firm’s specific information system applications. i. Includes investment in hardware, software, and services (such as consulting, education, & training) that are shared across the entire firm or business. ii. Provides the foundation for serving customers, working with vendors, and managing internal firm business processes. b. IT components iii. Computer hardware platforms 1.
Used to provide computing services that connect employees, customers, & suppliers into a coherent digital environment 2. Ex: large mainframes, desktop & laptop computers, internet appliances, etc. 3. Blade servers= ultrathin computers consisting of a circuit board w/ processors, memory, & network connections that are stored in racks. iv. Enterprise software platforms 4. Application software services that provide enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management, & knowledge management systems that are shared by all business units v.
Networking & telecommunications platforms 5. Provide data, voice, & video connectivity to employees, customers, & suppliers vi. Database management platforms 6. Store & manage corporate data & provide capabilities for analyzing the data 7. Storage area networks (SANs)= connect multiple storage devices on a separate high-speed network dedicated to storage. 1) Creates a large central pool of storage that can be rapidly accessed & shared by multiple servers. vii. Internet platforms iii. Consulting services & systems integrators II. Identify changes in IT infrastructure c. 5 stages of IT infrastructure evolution 1) Mainframe Era (1959 to Present) -The introduction of IBM 1401 & 7090 machines in 1959 marked the beginning. -a period of highly centralized computing under the control of professional programmers & systems operators, w/ most elements of infrastructure provided by a single vendor, the manufacturer, & the software. 2) Personal Computer Era (1981 to Present) The appearance of the IBM PC in 1981 considered beginning of PC era b/c this machine was the first to be widely adopted by American businesses. -Wintel PC computer- Windows operating system software on a computer w/ an Intel microprocessor -95% of the world’s billions of computers use the Wintel standard. 3) Client/ Server Era (1983 to Present) -In client/ server computing: desktop or laptop computers called clients are networked to powerful server computers that provide the client computers w/ a variety of services & capabilities. Computer processing work is split between these 2 types of machines… -Client= user point of entry -Server= typically processes & stores shared data, serves up Web pages, or manages network actvities. -multitiered (often called N-tier) client/ server architectures= the work of the entire network is balanced over several different levels of servers, depending on the kind of service being requested. -Web server= will serve a Web page to client in response for a request for service. -Web server software is responsible for locating & managing stored Web pages. application server- this software handles all application operations between a user & an organization’s back-end business systems. -**Client/ server computing enables businesses to distribute computing work across a series of smaller, inexpensive machines that cost much less than minicomputers or centralized mainframe systems. -**The result is an explosion in computing power & applications throughout the firm. 4) Enterprise Computing Era (1992 to Present) -business firms began seriously using the Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) networking standard to tie disparate networks together. it links different pieces of computer hardware & smaller networks into an enterprise-wide network so that information can flow freely across the organization & between the firm & other organizations. 5) Cloud Computing Era (2000 to Present) -cloud computing= refers to a model of computing where firms & individuals obtain computing power & software applications over the Internet, rather than purchasing their own hardware & software. -ex: over 500,000 firms in 2009 will use Google Apps, a suite of internet-based desktop software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, & calendars. *Moore’s Law & Microprocessing Power** -assertion that the number of components on a chip doubles each year. III. Consider current trends in computing hardware & software platforms. d. Current trends in computing hardware ix. Mobile digital computing platform 8. Cell phones & smartphones (Blackberry & iPhone) 9. Netbooks 10. Digital E-Books x. Grid computing 11. Involves connecting geographically remote computers into a single network to create a computational grid that combines the computing power of all the computers on the network w/ which to attack large computing problems. i. On-demand cloud computing 12. Model of computing where firms & individuals obtain computing power & software applications over the Internet, rather than purchasing & installing the hardware or software on their own computers. xii. Virtualization 13. Organizes computing resources so that their use is not restricted by physical configuration or geographic location. 14. Server virtualization- enables companies to run a more than one operating system at the same time on the same computer. (i. e. run an older version of an operating system on the same server as newer applications) 15.
Multicore processor- a microprocessor to which two or more processors have been attached for enhanced performance, reduced power consumption, & more efficient simultaneous processing of multiple tasks. e. Current trends in computing software xiii. Growing use of Linux 16. A powerful, resilient open source operating system that can run on multiple hardware platforms & is used widely to run Web servers. 17. Linux applications are embedded into cell phones, smartphones, netbooks, and other handheld devices. xiv. Open-source software 18.
Loosely coupled software components based on open Web standards that are not product-specific & can work w/ any application software & operating system. 23. They can be used as components of Web-based applications linking the systems of two different organizations or to link disparate systems of a single company. 24. Service-oriented architecture (SOA)= set of self-contained services that communicate w/ each other to create a working software application. xvii. Mashups & widgets 25. The building blocks of new software applications & services based on the cloud computing model. 6. Mashups= composite software applications that depend on high-speed networks, universal communication standards, & open-source code. 27. Widgets= small software program that can be added to a Web page or placed on a desktop to provide additional functionality xviii. Software outsourcing 28. Companies are purchasing their new software applications from outside sources, including software packages, by outsourcing custom application development to an external vendor (that may be offshore), or by renting Software as a Service (SaaS). 29.
In order to manage their relationship w/ an outsourcer or technology service provider, firms will need a contract that includes a service level agreement (SLA). 2) SLA is a formal contract between customers & their service providers that defines the specific responsibilities of the service provider & the level of service expected by the customer. 3) Usually include: i. Nature & level of services provided ii. Criteria for performance iii. Measurement iv. Support options v. Provisions for security or disaster recovery vi.
Hardware & software ownerships & upgrades vii. Customer support viii. Billing ix. Conditions for terminating the agreement IV. Understand the challenges in managing & maintaining IT infrastructure in an organization f. Dealing w/ platform & infrastructure change xix. As firms grow they can quickly outgrow their infrastructure or as firms shrink, they can get stuck w/ excessive infrastructure purchased in better times. xx. Scalability- the ability of a computer, product, or system to expand to serve large number of users without breaking down. . Infrastructure management & governance h. Making wise infrastructure investments **Solution guidelines: -using a competitive forces model to determine how much to spend on IT infrastructure -where to make strategic infrastructure investments -establishing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of information technology assets **Total cost of owning technology resources includes: -original cost of computer hardware & software -costs for hardware & software upgrades -maintenance -technical support -training