Improve your business infrastructure

The business IT environment in 2011 is very different to that of a decade ago. Back then, the Windows 2000 Server family along with Active Directory was becoming bedded in, but services provided by such server infrastructures tended to be relatively simple. Exchange Server coupled to Active Directory providing login and user management. File and print were core requirements, and SQL Server was there to offer structured database storage capabilities to both internal line-of-business applications and external facing web-based solutions too.

Improve your business infrastructure

Over the following decade, almost everything changed. The requirements on business to be more agile, to respond to an onslaught on almost every side, meant that the complexity increased in a geometric fashion. As every new task was heaped upon the IT department, it found itself falling down the black hole of every IT manager’s nightmare.

Planning often went out of the window, and extra servers were brought in to fix immediate needs. Some of these needs were well considered and had an ongoing life. Others were quick fixes where an immediate response to a competitive threat, whether real or imagined, was identified and then nailed down within weeks.

On the desktop, the complexity grew too – we started with a straightforward vision of Office generating and consuming the documents, with Outlook there to handle all date- and email-related information. Some thought we would move entirely to web-based applications. Others to thin clients, with a push to terminal services. Yet others decided that the future lay in active document repositories such as the emerging SharePoint Server platform.

So there is little surprise that, by the end of the decade, many organisations emerged with their IT infrastructure in poor shape. Battered and bruised by a decade of demand, growth and changing requirements, both business and regulatory, many had hoped for a period of consolidation, calm and reflection.

It was not to be. The arrival of the mother of all financial downturns put extreme pressure on the service departments within companies, and every dollar and euro came under scrutiny. Many found their training budgets slashed to nothing.

And yet new IT technologies came knocking on the door, demanding our attention. The arrival of virtualisation turned the design and implementation of internal infrastructure on its head overnight. And the emerging strategy around cloud computing threatened to change everything once again, but this time in directions that no-one could have foreseen.

The aim of this in-depth guide is to see through the fog of confusion surrounding business infrastructure. By the end, you should have a clear strategy for your company, allowing you to create an infrastructure ripe for growth.

Click the link below to read the full whitepaper, written by PC Pro contributing editor Jon Honeyball.

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