IT Architecture For Dummies
When planning and implementing your IT architecture, ease the process by reviewing critical information: major IT architecture concepts such as common IT architecture tasks, standardizing technology, and consolidating and centralizing technology resources; collaboration solutions to institute across the enterprise; and system maintenance processes that can be automated to help you increase savings and reduce administrative overhead.
Identifying Common IT Architecture Tasks
Taking on an IT architecture project means dealing with myriad detailed tasks. No matter the nature of your IT architecture project, however, be sure to cover this abbreviated checklist of common, high-level tasks:
Eliminate resource silos: Getting rid of separate information resource silos through consolidation and centralization makes many other projects possible.
Identify data requirements: Determine the type of data your organization uses, its location and users, as well as any associated business requirements.
Identify and integrate existing resources: Identify resources currently in use and determine whether they should be integrated into the new architecture, replaced with an alternate solution, or retired.
Define technical standards: Define the rules and guidelines that your organization will use when making decisions regarding information technology.
Identify security requirements: Implementation can't start until the security requirements have been identified. Remember, information is an asset to be protected.
Justify changes: Ensure that changes provide value to your organization in some fashion.
IT Architecture: Standardizing Technology
Standardization of technology is a common part of IT architecture projects. A standardized technology reduces complexity and offers benefits such as cost savings through economy of scale, ease of integration, improved efficiency, greater support options, and simplification of future control. Some common targets for standardization include
User workstation environments: This includes desktop hardware, operating system, and user productivity suites.
Software development: Consider standardizing not only programming languages, but also software development practices.
Database management systems: Try to standardize on a single database platform, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL, mySQL, or PostgreSQL.
IT Architecture: Consolidating and Centralizing Technology Resources
A good IT architecture plan improves efficiencies. When your IT architecture program includes consolidation and centralization of technology resources, particularly in the data center, you gain improved resource use, document recovery, security, and service delivery; increased data availability; and reduced complexity. Some elements that you can consolidate or centralize include
IT personnel: Consolidate IT personnel into centrally managed, focused support groups based on need and skill sets.
Servers: The number of physical servers can be reduced by implementing virtualization or simply eliminating redundant functionality.
File storage: Get local file repositories off multiple file servers and onto a centralized storage solution such as a storage area network (SAN).
Directory services: Provide a common directory service for authentication or implement a single sign-on or federated authentication solution to bridge multiple directories.
IT Architecture: Collaborating Across the Enterprise
Collaboration solutions facilitate IT architecture teamwork by allowing team members to communicate, share data, and create repositories of collective intelligence, regardless of location or scheduling complications. They may decrease travel and telephone costs significantly. In IT architecture, common collaboration solutions include
Social networking: Social networking tools, such as chat, blogs, and forums, provide new and flexible methods for sharing information.
Groupware: Groupware allows employees to work together regardless of location by using integrated tools that facilitate communication, conferencing, and collaborative management.
Enterprise portal: Portals aggregate content from multiple sources, bringing it all into one place for easy access and creating a single point of contact.
IT Architecture: Automating System Maintenance
Part of IT architecture includes improving efficiencies by restructuring enterprise resources. The more system maintenance processes that you automate in the IT architecture, the greater cost savings you can realize from reduced administrative overhead and support.
Operating system patches/updates: Most operating systems have some type of native automated patch management solution, and third-party solutions are also available.
Application updates: Some applications have the ability to update themselves automatically, while others may be updated through logon scripts or push technology.
Anti-malware updates and scans: Use enterprise-level anti-malware solutions that update frequently and scan regularly to improve security.