Enterprise Network Environment and Support Functions
Enterprise Network Architecture
Let us assume that we are talking about a company named “ABC Finance Ltd”, which is providing financial services to various Domestic, International organisations and as well for individuals using it’s highly sophisticated IT(Information Technology) services. Various clients from different regions of the globe connects to ABC firm using some dedicated network channels and internet. In order to provide reliable and trust worthy service to customers, it is mandatory to ABC to keep it’s IT infrastructure available for 24X7 ( 24 hours for a day X 7 days for week). And it needs skillful technical people who can manage this IT infrastructure in efficient manner.
So, what is this IT infrastructure basically ?
IT infrastructure nothing but “the physical equipment & the platform environment” that is required to create, maintain and deliver an IT application used to provide business services to internal/ external customers. Physical equipment nothing but Server hardware, PC hardware, networking devices, storage devices, data center equipment, printers …etc. And the Platform Environment is nothing but the Operating systems ( UNIX/LINUX/WINDOWS) , the databases ( ORACLE/SYBASE/MS SQL) and the related products used all together to host and run an IT application on top of the physical equipment.
From the architecture diagram ( Click on the Diagram for bigger picture) you can see that ABC organization is using two data centers from two different countries of the world, First one is the Primary Data Center(PDC) from where the actual IT infrastructure was running to provide the IT service that is required for the business, and it is obvious that ABC don’t want to lose it’s business or customers in case of any disaster happened to the country where the PDC is located, in case if any of such disasters happens then ABC want to resume it’s services uninterrupted from the different Data Center located in some other part of world and that is called Disaster Recovery Data center ( DR Site) or Backup Continuation Plan site ( BCP Site).
If you closely observe the PDC and DR DC , you can see that DR site is only having the Production Infrastructure, where as PDC is having Production, Testing and Development Infrastructure.You may be having question like “What are these Production, Testing and Development Environments? And how they are different to each other? “
As we previously discussed, ABC is a Leading Financial firm which is providing very critical and expensive services to various clients with the help of IT services. To provide unique and reliable services, ABC want to build their IT applications in their environment by recruiting highly technical application development people. The Development IT infrastructure mainly used by these developers to create the application software required for the company business. Once the application is ready company don’t want to use it, directly, for the business purpose without testing it properly, and for this testing purpose the application will be loaded in the Test environment. Application will be tested thoroughly in Test environment until the Business people gain the confidence to use the application for the business purpose. Finally, the application which is passed from the Test environment will be used for the business purpose by running it in Production environment. In simple Production environment is the actual environment that provides IT services required for the business, and any minor disturbance to this Production environment could cause major financial and business loss to the company.
Note: In any organization it is mandatory to have the Test and Production environment IT infrastructure as same, by all means.
If we go back to our previous point about “why DR site is having only production?” , the one reason is “company want to resume it’s production services uninterrupted during the disasters but could manage the delay in testing and developing the applications. And that way company can avoid the high cost for the IT infrastructure which is not actively working for today’s business productivity”
Now, Lets talk about the details of Primary Data Center.
If you look at at the Production infrastructure, you can see Unix servers, Windows Servers, Databases , Network Devices, Storage Devices, Backup Devices , etc. Unix Servers are mainly used to host and run the IT application which are critical for business purpose and required 100% availability. And the Windows Server infrastructure used to create the environment for the Developers, Support people and business people to create, maintain and use this IT application hosted in Unix environment. And Databases are sitting on top of UNIX/WINDOWS for the purpose high volume data storage, process and retrieval.
Network Devices and components are used to interconnect all these server infrastructure for internal and external connectivity. Storage devices are mainly used to store the high volume data in magnetic devices and make it available easily for the Unix/ Windows Servers. Backup devices are used to store ” the processed data or readily available applications data” for the recovery purpose incase of any operating system/hardware/application damage.
And The next question will be
” who are the support people that maintains this network?”
If you talk about a decade ago situation, technical support people should be to located in the same floor/building where the actual IT infrastructure located and all the support staff required to have direct access to the machines/servers for the regular support/maintenance purpose.
But if you consider the current situation, support people can support IT infrastructure from anywhere of the world remotely. Thanks a million to the IT gurus who made it possible.
All these support staff together form a new service division in the organization and it is named as ” IMS – Infrastructure Management Services”, whose main function is configure and maintain the IT infrastructure. IMS consists of several sub-teams like System Administrators ( Unix / Linux / Windows), Database Administrators , Middle ware Administrators, Network Engineers, Storage Engineers, Backup Engineers and Infrastructure Monitoring Engineers. If you want know detailed job responsibility of each of these support people please read my previous post on ” Careers in Computer networking and System administration“