The hardware, software, and networking are the three main components of the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. Each of these components is essential for the IT infrastructure’s smooth, effective, and continuous operation. Let’s look at these three and what each component does in an IT infrastructure.
Hardware refers to the physical components of the infrastructure, such as desktops, printers, servers, mobile devices (like tablets and laptops), routers, switches, firewalls, cables like Cat5e, and optical fiber. These devices are what actually “do” or provide the services that people who use them need; an example of this is a printer. The hardware includes all the tangible parts of any infrastructure, including devices and connectors used to construct a network.
The software is the set of instructions that supervises and controls the behavior of hardware components. The various types of software involved in an IT infrastructure are operating systems, device drivers, network interfaces, system utilities, application programs, etc. Like hardware, the software also has tangible and intangible parts; examples include CDs containing installation files for computer games and movies, activation codes for software packages, and the word-processing program used to write this.
The network is how different components of an IT infrastructure communicate with each other and with users. The three major types of networks are LANs (Local Area Networks), WANs (Wide Area Networks), and MANs (Metropolitan Area Networks). LANs are networks that connect computers and other devices in a small geographical area, like an office building. WANs connect two or more sites over large geographical areas, often linking together separate LANs. MANs are typically found at the university-campus level; they provide connections between all computing resources housed within the campus boundaries to each other and/or the internet.
The three components of an IT infrastructure are found in nearly every modern organization. Hardware includes all the tangible parts of any infrastructure, including devices and connectors used to construct a network. Software is the set of instructions that supervises and controls the behavior of hardware components. Lastly, networking is how different components of an IT infrastructure communicate with each other and with users. Understanding the three components of an IT infrastructure is essential to utilizing and managing it effectively.