Internet Infrastructure

Internet Infrastructure

Network Infrastructure is comprised of all the services and hardware required to make the internet work. It does not matter if it is a web page displaying in the browser, a VOIP call, emails delivered to your laptop or RSS feeds downloading to your reader; certain elements must work for any of this to happen. There are basically 5 areas that make up the infrastructure of the internet: data centers, network connectivity, storage services, server applications and computer equipment.

Data Centers

The Data Center must have a large amount of bandwidth in order to accommodate all the transfer of data as it powers massive amounts of computer related equipment. These are usually highly resilient facilities and are highly maintained to ensure that the internet remains up and running. The infrastructure relies on the data center. It is the central location where all information is aggregated and distributed. These facilities will normally be staffed 24/7 and be highly monitored. The BMS (building management system) usually closely monitors temperatures, cooling usage, power usage, CCTV, access control and even the outdoor temperatures. They also typically have biometrics on all the entryways as well as a fire alarm and suppression. The main units of measurement for the Data Center are power and space. How much space will be needed to house the equipment; and how much power will be needed? This is actually doubled since cooling a server will use up as much power as operating it. It is essential that all equipment be kept running. We saw recently what happened with GoDaddy when they lost power. Time has yet to tell how really devastating that was on their business. And even Amazon fell prey to weather conditions which knocked out their data centers. This data center outage knocked out several big players other than Amazon including, Netflix, Heroku, Instagram and Pinterest as well. It is essential that data centers be properly maintained and backed up so that going offline simply does not occur.

Networks Influence

Without a proper network connection, data cannot pass between data centers. This means there is no route for data to go over the internet and to your computer or mobile device. When the network infrastructure is working, data should be passed from a data center to the computer, or mobile equipment where it is processed or stored and then passed back to the data center.

Servers

A server is basically the simplest form of internet infrastructure. It is what keeps pushing data on the internet. A server stores data and applications. They are physically housed in the data center and have multiple power supplies to keep them powered. Factors in selecting a server include expandability, network ports, BUS speed, reliability, speed and cache size.

Storage

Another huge piece of the internet infrastructure is data storage. All internet information is stored in a data center somewhere; every web page, photos you put on Facebook, every bit of online information is stored. There are some high end storage areas which can be shared among lots of servers, customers, applications and services. These can be accessed by using a network connection and it is housed independent of the actual server. All the data must be stored somewhere; it’s not literally floating around in cyber space somewhere.

Applications

The actual applications are part of the internet infrastructure as well. There are some key components that are necessary in order for any web application to come from a server. It will require an operating system, web server app, and a database. There are lots of variations, but these three things are essential. But with them the potential is unlimited. Complex applications will require dedicated servers, and web servers. They may also use dedicated routers, firewall devices and load balancing devices to ensure that data is routed in the right direction.