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Infrastructure & Platform Management

Updated: May 16

Introduction

Purpose


The primary aim of infrastructure and platform management is to ensure that an organisation’s technological base, comprising hardware, software, networks, and facilities, is robust, efficient, and capable of meeting current and future needs.


Infrastructure and Platform Management practice is crucial for monitoring, managing, and supporting IT services, facilitating effective service delivery that aligns with the business's strategic objectives.


Scope

The infrastructure and platform management scope spans the entire lifecycle of infrastructure solutions, from the initial planning and design phase to deployment, operation, and eventual retirement.


This comprehensive approach includes the management of both physical and virtual infrastructure components, ensuring that they are optimally configured, maintained, and upgraded as needed to support organisational operations and objectives.


Key Benefits

Implementing adequate infrastructure and platform management yields several significant benefits, including:


  • Enhanced Efficiency: Streamlined processes and improved resource allocation reduce waste and increase productivity.

  • Strategic Alignment: Ensuring the IT infrastructure aligns with business goals facilitates more targeted and practical support for organisational objectives.

  • Improved Service Delivery: A well-managed IT infrastructure supports high-quality, reliable service delivery, enhancing user satisfaction and trust in IT services.


Basic Concepts of Infrastructure & Platform Management



Below are the primary definitions and explanations:


  • IT infrastructure encompasses all hardware, software, networks, and facilities required to develop, test, deliver, monitor, manage, and support IT services. It is the physical and virtual components that form an organisation's technological backbone.

  • Service Value System (SVS): An overarching model that illustrates how all an organisation's components and activities work together to facilitate value creation through IT services. Infrastructure management is an integral part of the SVS, ensuring the operational integrity and performance of IT services.

  • Technology Planning involves strategically aligning technology solutions with business needs, encompassing activities from understanding organisational requirements to deploying and managing IT infrastructure. An effective technology plan ensures the IT infrastructure can adapt to and support business strategies and changes.


Processes

The infrastructure and platform management practice involves a series of processes that ensure effective management throughout the lifecycle of IT infrastructure. These processes are categorised into three main areas: Technology Planning, Product Development, and Technology Operations.


Technology Planning

Technology planning is crucial for aligning IT infrastructure with business objectives and ensuring the organisation's technological foundation supports its strategic direction.


It includes:


  • Analysing the organisational strategy and architecture to determine infrastructure needs.

  • Developing and agreeing on infrastructure and platform management includes defining the scope, sourcing strategies, and methodologies.

  • Reviewing the management approach periodically to adapt to changing business needs and technological advancements.

Product Development

This process focuses on designing and implementing infrastructure solutions that meet specific organisational requirements.


It involves:


  • Creating basic and detailed solution designs that align with organisational standards and goals.

  • Sourcing, developing, and configuring components as per the designed solution.

  • Validating and testing the solutions to ensure they meet the required specifications before deployment.

  • Supporting deployment and release into the live environment, ensuring seamless integration with existing systems.

Technology Operations


Once the infrastructure solutions are deployed, technology operations ensure their ongoing performance and reliability.


This includes:


  • Managing queries and events involves addressing incidents and problems to maintain service levels.

  • Performing scheduled tasks such as backups, system updates, and maintenance to ensure system integrity and security.

  • Patching and updating systems to address security vulnerabilities and improve system performance.


Relationship with Other Practices

Infrastructure and platform management is not isolated but is deeply interconnected with several other ITIL practices, enhancing its effectiveness and integration within the overall IT service management framework. Here are key relationships with other practices:


Architecture Management

Infrastructure management works closely with architecture management to ensure that all infrastructure solutions are aligned with the organisational policies and standards. This alignment supports the efficient delivery of robust, scalable, and secure IT services.


Service Design and Business Analysis

The integration with service design and business analysis ensures that infrastructure solutions are designed and implemented to meet the business's specific needs. This collaboration helps in translating business requirements into technical specifications that guide the infrastructure development process.


Risk Management and Information Security Management

Collaboration with risk management and information security management is critical to safeguarding the IT infrastructure's e integrity, availability, and confidentiality. These practices help identify, evaluate, and mitigate risks associated with the infrastructure, ensuring that security considerations are embedded from the outset.



Capacity and Performance Management

Infrastructure management must be supported by capacity and performance management to ensure that IT services meet their current and future demands. This practice involves planning for adequate resource allocation and performance tuning to maintain service levels.


Incident and Problem Management

The relationship between incident and problem management practices is vital for swiftly addressing and resolving infrastructure failures and disruptions. These practices ensure that issues are systematically addressed, root causes are identified, and corrective measures are implemented to prevent future occurrences.


Roles & Responsibilities

Effective infrastructure and platform management relies on clearly defined roles and responsibilities to ensure that all processes are executed efficiently and align with the organisation's.


Here are key roles typically involved in this practice:


Infrastructure Specialist

Infrastructure specialists are the backbone of the practice and are responsible for managing IT infrastructure components. They ensure that all hardware, software, networks, and facilities are optimised and effectively support service delivery and business operations.


Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

Site reliability engineers focus on automating the infrastructure processes to enhance reliability and performance. They apply software engineering principles to resolve operational problems and manage the systems' scalability and efficiency.


Architects and Business Analysts

Architects design the overall infrastructure architecture that aligns with the business's strategic needs. Business analysts work alongside them to ensure that the technical solutions meet the precise business requirements and contribute effectively to business goals.


Product Owners

In infrastructure management, product ownership is crucial in defining the vision for infrastructure projects, prioritising tasks, and ensuring that developments align with the business objectives and stakeholders' expectations.


Technical and Operations Administrators

These roles involve monitoring, maintaining, and supporting IT infrastructure to ensure its optimal performance and availability. They are crucial in implementing changes and updates without disrupting business processes.


Implementation Advice

Implementing adequate infrastructure and platform management practices requires thoughtful planning and execution. Here are some key metrics and things to avoid that can guide you in establishing and maintaining a robust practice.


Key Metrics


To measure the success and efficiency of infrastructure and platform management, consider the following key performance indicators (KPIs):


  • System Uptime: Measures the availability of the IT infrastructure, aiming for the highest possible uptime percentage.

  • Incident Response Time: The time during which infrastructure issues are addressed and resolved.

  • Capacity Utilisation: Ensures that IT resources are used efficiently, neither underutilised nor overtaxed.

  • Change Success Rate: Gauges the success of changes implemented in the infrastructure, aiming for a high percentage of successful updates without causing system disruptions.

These metrics provide tangible targets to strive for and can help continuously improve management practices.


Things to Avoid

While implementing infrastructure and platform management, some common pitfalls should be avoided:


  • Over-Complexity: Avoid creating overly complex systems that are difficult to manage and maintain. Simplicity should be a key goal in design and operational processes.

  • Siloed Operations: Do not allow infrastructure management to become isolated from other IT practices. Integration and collaboration across practices enhance effectiveness and responsiveness.

  • Neglecting Documentation: It is crucial to adequately document infrastructure changes, configurations, and processes; otherwise, it can lead to significant challenges in maintenance and troubleshooting.

  • Ignoring Stakeholder Feedback: Listening to feedback from users and stakeholders involved with or affected by the infrastructure is crucial. Their insights can lead to significant improvements in service delivery.


Frequently Asked Questions


To aid in understanding and implementing infrastructure and platform management, here are responses to some commonly asked questions about this practice:


What is the importance of infrastructure and platform management in an organisation?


How does infrastructure management relate to IT service management?

Infrastructure management is a core component of IT service management (ITSM). It ensures that the IT infrastructure can support the service delivery processes, aligning with ITSM's broader goal of providing value to the business through IT services.


What should be considered when planning infrastructure improvements?

When planning improvements, consider current and future business requirements, technological advancements, and potential risks. Planning should also involve stakeholders from various departments to ensure the infrastructure aligns with the overall business needs and IT strategy.


How can we measure the success of infrastructure and platform management?

Success can be measured using system uptime, incident response times, capacity utilisation and user satisfaction rates. Regularly reviewing these metrics will provide insights into the effectiveness of infrastructure management practices.


What are some common challenges in infrastructure and platform management?

Common challenges include managing the complexity of modern IT environments, ensuring security across infrastructure layers, integrating new technologies, and aligning IT infrastructure with rapid changes in business requirements.



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About the author

Hi, I'm Alan, and have been working within the IT sector for over 30 years.

For the last 15 years, I've focused on IT Governance, Information Security, Projects and Service Management across various styles of organisations and markets.

I hold a degree in Information Systems, ITIL Expert certificate, PRINCE2 Practitioner and CISMP (Information Security Management).

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