Course Description

This course provides an introduction to IT infrastructure issues Information Systems managers. It covers topics related to both computer and systems architecture and communication networks, with an overall focus on the services and capabilities that IT infrastructure solutions enable in an organizational context. It gives the students the knowledge and skills that they need for communicating effectively with professionals whose special focus is on hardware and systems software technology and for designing organizational processes and software solutions that require in-depth understanding of the IT infrastructure capabilities and limitations. It also prepares the students for organizational roles that require interaction with external vendors of IT infrastructure components and solutions. The course focuses strongly on Internet-based solutions, computer and network security, business continuity, and the role of infrastructure in regulatory compliance.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course, students will

  • examine the differences and similarities between the core elements of an IT infrastructure solution, such as clients, servers, network devices, wired and wireless network links, systems software, and specialized security devices.
  • gain an overview of computer networking with OSI architecture.
  • gain an understanding of managerial issues and technologies related to interoperability: issues and technologies
  • provide an appreciation of the choice between open standards and proprietary solutions
  • examine the product strategies of major hardware, software, and telecommunications vendors
  • analyze how national and global standards organizations influence architectural standards, regulations, and future developments
  • design, implement and manage security and disaster recovery plans and business continuity from an overall organizational perspective
Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, a successful student will be able to:

  • understand key principles of data representation and manipulation in computing solutions.
  • understand the principles underlying layered systems architectures and their application to both computers and networks.
  • understand how IT infrastructure components are organized into infrastructure solutions in different organizational environments.
  • understand the principles underlying service virtualization.
  • understand through practical examples how protocols are used to enable communication between computing devices connected to each other.
  • configure an IT infrastructure solution for a small organization, including a network based on standard technology components, servers, security devices, and several different types of computing clients.
  • apply the core concepts underlying IP networks to solve simple network design problems, including IP subnetting.
  • understand the role and structure of the Internet as an IT infrastructure component and design simple infrastructure solutions based on the use of the Internet.
  • understand the components and structure of a large-scale organizational IT infrastructure solution at a level that allows them to use it effectively.
  • understand the role of IT control and service management frameworks in managing a large-scale organizational IT infrastructure solution.
  • negotiate with vendors providing design and implementation solutions.
  • understand the opportunities that virtual computing service provision models, such as cloud computing, create for organizations.
  • analyze and understand the security and business continuity implications of IT infrastructure design solutions.
  • configure simple infrastructure security solutions.
  • minimize the environmental and resource consumption impacts of IT infrastructure decisions

Course Contents

  • Core computing system architecture concepts
  • Core computing system organizing structures
  • Core technical components of computer-based systems
  • Role of IT infrastructure in a modern organization
  • Operating systems
  • Core operating systems functionality
  • Internal organization of an operating system
  • Types of devices that require and use operating systems o Multitasking and multithreading
  • File systems and storage
  • User interfaces
  • Operating system configuration
  • Securing an operating system
  • Virtualization of computing services
  • Networking
  • Types of networks
  • Core network components
  • TCP/IP model
  • Physical layer: wired and wireless connectivity
  • Data link layer: Ethernet
  • Network layer: IP, IP addressing and routing
  • Transport layer: TCP
  • Application layer: core Internet application protocols o Network security and security devices
  • The Internet as a key networking platform
  • Network device configuration
  • Organizing storage on organizational networks
  • Data centers
  • Securing IT infrastructure
  • Principles of encryption and authentication
  • Component level security: clients, servers, storage network devices, data
  • transport, applications
  • Perimeter security: firewalls
  • Using public networks for secure data transport: VPNs
  • The role of IT control and service management frameworks (COBIT, ITIL, etc.) in managing the organizational IT infrastructure
  • Ensuring business continuity
  • Grid computing
  • Cloud computing, computing as a service
  • System performance analysis and management
  • Purchasing of IT infrastructure technologies and services
Prescribed Text(s):
  • Gallo M.A., Hancock W.M., (2007). Computer Communications & Networking Technologies. Cengage Learning.
  • Peterson LL. Davis B.S., (2011). Computer Networks: A Systems Approach. (5th Edition).   Morgan Kaufmann.
  • White C., (2015).  Data Communications and Computer Networks: A Business User's Approach. (8th Edition). Course Technology.
  • Englander I., (2014).  The Architecture of Computer Hardware, Systems Software, and Networking: An Information Technology Approach. (5th Edition). Willey.