“Core Infrastructure”: Are You Maintaining It?
If you’re the careful folks we all know you are, you are diligently performing your monthly automatic Windows updates – which is great (you’d be surprised to learn just how many people do not). But are you remembering to perform the same review and maintenance of your other infrastructure bits? These include routers, firewalls, switches, wireless access points, printers, server hardware firmware, storage, UPS and other power devices…and, in many cases, that’s only scratching the surface.
Many companies simply turn on their automatic Windows updates and figuratively walk away, assuming that’s all they need to do while paying no mind to the other critical devices and infrastructure that run the systems. What’s more, by default, most settings for Windows updates will address the operating system, but won’t patch applications such as Office on desktops or Exchange, SQL and SharePoint if they’re still run on-site.
The bottom line here is that it’s important to ensure these aforementioned additional services and applications are being addressed while given the attention they demand in order to stay running, stable and secure. This is also the right time to ensure that device configurations are backed up, that access works as expected, to check on logs and to ensure that any high availability or redundancy works (or still works the way it did the day you installed it) – a fire drill for your system operations, so to speak.
Believe us when we say it is far better to identify potential failures, or confirm successful operation, in a maintenance window after hours than it is to do unexpectedly on a workday afternoon.
Infrastructure Management 101
When we say “infrastructure management,” what do we actually mean, at the root? Information Technology infrastructure management is the administration and management of essential operational elements to effectively, efficiently and proactively utilize technology, information and data. These elements encompass the computers, servers, networking, data, storage, physical and virtual facilities in addition to software, processes, policies, training, staffing, security, virtual/mobile functionality and cloud-based services that comprise the IT infrastructure.
In a proverbial nutshell, IT infrastructure management is closely aligned with overall corporate operations, strategies and goals; its purpose is to provide structure and control of the functions responsible for diverse technical operations which generally involve hardware, software and networking in both physical and virtual environments. The primary goal of infrastructure management, as we see it, is to minimize downtime and maintain business productivity.
Due to the complexity of IT infrastructure, it is not uncommon for IT infrastructure management to be divided amongst substructures such as systems management, network management and storage management. While the specific details are far beyond the scope of this post, an enterprise IT infrastructure management team is typically responsible for the following essential IT elements and services:
- Asset lifecycle
- Capacity monitoring/planning
- Network utilization
- Energy consumption
- Environmental issues
- Facilities (including data center infrastructure management)
- Physical and virtual assets
- Wireless and wired network operations
- Security (malware/virus protection)
- Mobile connectivity
- Maintenance/service updates
DMS iTech Fun Facts: The term “infrastructure” was first used in France in 1875 to describe railroad planning; however, prior to the 1700s, what later became known as “infrastructure” began with roads and canals for transportation and irrigation. As technology evolved from basic computing to the internet and beyond, business operations quickly became dependent on technology – over the course of time, the IT infrastructure became a backbone of business.
Today, the term is used to include the burgeoning foundations, structural components and relationships of today’s integrated business frameworks. The term – taken from the French “infra” – means “under” or “below,” suggesting that a “firm foundation” is required to support a strong organizational framework.
DMS iTech: Championing the Quarterly Maintenance Campaign
For the team of experts at DMS iTech, it’s all about championing quarterly maintenance efforts, and we do this through a myriad of services such as antivirus protection, backup applications, workstation support, server support, workstation maintenance, server maintenance, infrastructure monitoring and more, going so far as to lead the way in infrastructure maintenance via VMware vSphere environment tactics and the deployment of Hyper-V resources.