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Chapter 5

IT Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies

Learning Objectives

• What is IT infrastructure and what are its components?

• What are the stages and technology dirvers of IT infrastructure


• What are the current trends in computer hardware platforms?

• What are the current trends in software platforms?

• What are the challenges of managing IT infrastructure and

management solutions?
Chapter Outline

• IT Infrastructure
• Infrstructure components
• Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends
• Contemporary Software Platform Trends
• Management Issues
• Hands-on MIS Projects
IT Infrastructure

• IT infrastructure is the shared technology resources that

provide the platform for the firm’s specific information
system applications.

• It is also a set of firmwide services budgeted by

management and comprising both human and technical
Connection between the firm, IT infrastructure, and business capabilities.
Evolution of IT Infrastructure

• The five stages of IT infrastructure evolution are:

– Mainframe era

– Personal computer era

– Client/server era

– Enterprise computing era

– Cloud and mobile computing era

Eras in IT Infrastructure Evolution
Eras in IT Infrastructure Evolution
Technology drivers of infrastructure evolution

• Moore’s law and micro-processing power

– Computing power doubles every 18 months
– the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 18 months
– the price of computing falls by half every 18 months

• Law of Mass Digital Storage

– The amount of data being stored each year doubles
– The cost of storing digital information is falling at an
exponential rate of 100% a year.
Technology drivers of infrastructure evolution (cont.)

• Metcalfe’s Law and network economics

– Value or power of a network grows exponentially as a function
of the number of network members
– Metcalfe points to the increasing return to scale that network
members receive as more and more people join the network
– As network members increase, more people want to use it
(demand for network access increases) and the value to the
entire system grows.
Technology drivers of infrastructure evolution (cont.)

• Declining communication costs and the Internet

– An estimated 3 billion people worldwide have Internet access

– As communication costs fall toward a very small number and

approach 0, utilization of communication and computing
facilities explodes Eng. Rasha Al Ababseh IT Infrastructure
Exponential Declines in Internet Communications Costs
Technology drivers of infrastructure evolution (cont.)

• Standards and Network Effects

– Technology Standards:
• Specifications that establish the compatibility of products and the ability to
communicate in a network
• Unleash powerful economies of scale and result in price declines as manufacturers
focus on the products built to a single standard.
– Wintel Pc became the standard desktop and mobile client computing
– In telecommunications, the Ethernet standard enabled PCs to connect
together in small local area networks
– the TCP/IP standard enabled these LANs to be connected into firmwide
networks, and ultimately, to the Internet.
IT Infrastructure has 7 main components

• Computer hardware platforms

• Operating system platforms
• Enterprise software applications
• Data management and storage
• Networking/telecommunications platforms
• Internet platforms
• Consulting system integration services
The IT Infrastructure Ecosystem
Infrastructure Components

– Computer hardware platforms

• Client machines
– Desktop PCs, mobile devices – PDAs, laptops
• Servers
– Blade servers: ultrathin computers stored in racks
• Mainframes:
– IBM mainframe equivalent to thousands of blade servers.
– reliably and securely handle huge volumes of transactions, for
analyzing very large antities of data, and for handling large
workloads in cloud computing centers.
Infrastructure Components (cont.)
• Top chip producers: AMD, Intel, IBM
• Top firms: IBM, HP, Dell, Sun Microsystems
• The industry has collectively settled on Intel as the
standard processor for business computing
• Operating system platforms
– Operating systems
• Server level: 35% run Windows; 65% run Unix or Linux
• Client level:
– 90% run Microsoft Windows (7.0, 8.0, etc.)
– Handheld device OS’s (Android, iPhone OS) (touch technology)
– Cloud computing OS’s (Google’s Chrome OS)
Infrastructure Components (cont.)

• Enterprise software applications

– Enterprise application providers: SAP and Oracle
– Middleware “bridge” : middleware software supplied by vendors
such as IBM and Oracle for achieving firmwide integration by
linking the firm’s existing application systems.
Infrastructure Components (cont.)

• Data management and storage

– Database software: for organizing and managing the firm’s data
so that they can be efficiently accessed and used.
• IBM (DB2), Oracle, Microsoft (SQL Server), Sybase (Adaptive Server
Enterprise), MySQL
– Physical data storage:
• EMC Corp (large-scale systems), Seagate, Maxtor, Wester Digital
– Storage area networks (SANs):
• Connect multiple storage devices on dedicated network.
• The SAN creates a large central pool of storage that can be rapidly
accessed and shared by multiple servers.
Infrastructure Components (cont.)

• Networking/telecommunications platforms
– Telecommunication services
• typically provided by telecommunications/telephone services
companies that offer voice and data connectivity, wide area networking,
wireless services, and Internet access.
• AT&T, Verizon
– Network operating systems:
• Windows Server, Linux, Unix
– Network hardware providers:
• Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel, Juniper Networks
Infrastructure Components (cont.)

• Internet platforms: overlap with and must relate to the

firm’s networking infrastructure.
– Hardware, software, management services to support company
Web sites, (including Web hosting services, routers, and
cabling or wireless equipment).
– Internet hardware server market: Dell, HP/Compaq, IBM, Sun
– Web development tools/suites: Microsoft .NET IBM
(WebSphere), Sun (Java), independent software developers:
Adobe, RealMedia
Infrastructure Components (cont.)

• Consulting and system integration services

– Even large firms do not have resources for a full range of
support for new, complex infrastructure
– Software integration: ensuring new infrastructure works with
legacy systems
– Legacy systems: older TPS created for mainframes that would
be too costly to replace or redesign
– Accenture, IBM Global Services, EDS, Infosys, Wipro
– Business systems consultant today involves developing
business processes and supporting systems
The current trends in computer Hardware Platform

1. The emerging mobile digital platform

– Cell phones, smartphones (BlackBerry, iPhone)
• Have taken on many functions of PCs, including data transmission,
Web surfing, e-mail and IM duties
• managers are increasingly using these to coordinate work and
communicate with employees
– Netbooks:
• Small, low-cost lightweight notebooks optimized for wireless
communication and core computing tasks
• Tablets (iPad)
• Networked e-readers (Kindle)
– Wearable computing devices
Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends


– BYOD “Bring Your Own Device” is one aspect of the consumerization of
IT, in which new information technology that first emerges in the
consumer market spreads into business organizations.
– Allowing employees to use their personal mobile devices inthe workplace.
– Consumerization of IT is forcing businesses, especially large enterprises,
to rethink the way they obtain and manage information technology
equipment and services.
– Software services that originated in the consumer marketplace (Facebook,
google, etc)
– BYOD security policy
Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends

3. Virtualization
– Allows single physical resource to act as multiple
resources(i.e., run multiple instances of OS)
– helps organizations increase equipment utilization
rates,conserving data center space and energy usage.
• Fewer computers required to process the same amount of work
• Reduces hardware and power expenditures
• Reduced data center space to house machines
– Facilitates hardware centralization and consolidation of
hardware administration
– VMware is a leading Virtualization software vendor.
Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends

4. Cloud computing
– On-demand (utility) computing services obtained over network
– Cloud can be public or private.
– Hybrid cloud
– Infrastructure services, Platform services (Customers use
infrastructure and programming tools supported by the cloud
service provider to develop their own applications), and
Software as a services.
– Allows companies to minimize IT investments
– Drawbacks: Concerns of security, reliability
Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends
• Cloud computing as having the following essential characteristics:
– On-demand self-service: Consumers can obtain computingcapabilities
such as server time or network storage as needed automatically on their
– Ubiquitous network access: Cloud resources can be accessed using
standard network and Internet devices, including mobile platforms.
– Location-independent resource pooling: Computing resources are
pooled to serve multiple users, with different virtual resources dynamically
assigned according to user demand. The user generally does not know
where the computing resources are located.
– Rapid elasticity: Computing resources can be rapidly provisioned,
increased, or decreased to meet changing user demand.
– Measured service: Charges for cloud resources are based on amount of
resources actually used. “pay-as-you-grow subscription method”
Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends
5. Green computing
– Practices and technologies for manufacturing, using, disposing of
computing and networking hardware to minimize impact on the
– Reducing computer power consumption has been a very high “green”
– Virtualization on of the technologies promoting green computing.
6. High performance, power-saving processors
– Multi-core processors: integrated circuit to which two or more processor
cores have been attached for enhanced performance, reduced power
consumption, and more efficient simultaneous processing of multiple
Contemporary Hardware Platform Trends

• Software outsourcing and cloud services

– Three external sources for software:
1. Software packages and enterprise software
2. Software outsourcing (domestic or offshore)
– enables a firm to contract custom software development or maintenance of
existing legacy programs to outside firms,
3. Cloud-based software services
– Software as a service (SaaS)
– Users pay on subscription or per-transaction
– Mashups and Apps (the new browsers).
• Mashup: The idea is to take different sources and produce a new work
that is “greater than” the sum of its parts.
Management Issues

• Dealing with platform and infrastructure change

– As firms shrink or grow, IT needs to be flexible and scalable
– Scalability:
• Ability to expand to serve larger numbers of users
– For mobile computing and cloud computing
• New policies and procedures for managing these new platforms
• They will need to inventory all of their mobile devices in business use
and develop policies and tools for tracking, updating, and securing
them and for controlling the data and applications that run on them.
Management Issues

• Firms using cloud computing and SaaS will need to

fashion new contractual arrangements (service level
agreement SLA) with remote vendors
– to make sure that the hardware and software for critical
applications are always available when needed
– and that they meet corporate standards for information security
and disaster recovery.
– Criteria for performance measurement.
– Conditions for terminating the agreement
Management Issues

• Management and governance

– Should departments and divisions have the responsibility of
making their own information technology decisions or should IT
infrastructure be centrally controlled and managed? Centralized
IT department or decentralized
– How will infrastructure costs be allocated among business

Each organization will need to arrive at answers based

on its own needs.
Management Issues
• Making wise infrastructure investments
– Amount to spend on IT is complex question
• Rent vs. buy, The decision either to purchase your own IT assets or rent them from
external providers
– Total cost of ownership (TCO) model
• Analyzes direct and indirect costs
• Hardware, software account for only about 20% of TCO
• Other costs: Installation, training, support, maintenance, infrastructure, downtime,
space and energy
• TCO can be reduced through use of cloud services, greatercentralization and
standardization of hardware and software resources
• managers must pay close attention to administration costs to understand the full cost
of the firm’s hardware and software.
Total Cost of Owndership (TCO) Cotst Components
Management Issues

• Competitive forces model for IT infrastructure investment.

how much your firm should spend on IT infrastructure.
1. Market demand for firm’s services: find out if the services you
currently offer are meeting the needs of each group.
2. Firm’s business strategy, Analyze your firm’s five-year
business strategy and try to assess what new services and
capabilities will be required to achieve strategic goals.
3. Firm’s IT strategy, infrastructure, and cost,
• Examine your firm’s information technology plans for the next five
years and assess its alignment with the firm’s business plans.
• Determine the total IT infrastructure costs. You will want to perform a
TCO analysis.
Management Issues
4. Information technology assessment.
– It is usually not desirable to spend resources on advanced technologies that are still
experimental, often expensive, and sometimes unreliable.
– spend on technologies for which standards have been established and IT vendors are
competing on cost, and multiple suppliers
5. Competitor firm service
– Try to assess what technology services competitors offer to customers, suppliers, and
employees. / Qualitative and quantitative measures
6. Competitor firm IT infrastructure investments
– Benchmark your expenditures for IT infrastructure against your competitors.
– Your firm does not necessarily need to spend as much as, or more than, your
competitors. Perhaps it has discovered much less-expensive ways of providing services,
and this can lead to a cost advantage.
Competitive Forces Model for IT Infrastructure