IT infrastructure is the set of facilities, environmental systems, network, servers, storage, middleware and application software that supports an organization’s applications, along with the processes, procedures and tools used to setup, manage, and operate these capabilities.   Infrastructure describes the IT foundation on which services are delivered to the organization to deliver value as well as the operations that operate them.

Architects of all IT disciplines should possess an understanding and the experience with these concepts to accurately understand the implications of their architecture, impacts to quality, and decisions to deliver optimal value.


Why does an architect need this skill?

All architectures which will leverage information technology assets will ultimately depend on IT infrastructure to operate.   Lacking familiarity with the key concepts of Infrastructure hinders the architect’s ability to design effective solutions, increases risk, lowers quality, and reduces the ability to deliver value to the organization.   Particularly as solutions increasingly leverage cloud service providers, the infrastructure complexity of a solution can be expected to grow and require a sound understanding of the implications.

Common tasks involved in this skill?

As architects develop their solutions, several tasks involving this skill set will be used.

  • Translate architectural design requirements into infrastructure descriptions to be actioned by engineering and operational teams
  • Review solution design components and assess for quality impact to architecture
  • Assess cross cutting concerns of security, performance, reliability, maintainability, and cost as solutions move from plan to build to operate stages
  • Involve engineering and operational teams as stakeholders in architectural design

What is their ownership in this skill?

Architects will have contributor or responsible roles for infrastructure solution design and selection depending on the size of the organization.   As architects are responsible for architectural quality, they must maintain input on the infrastructure requirements, and ensure that deployed solutions align to the architectural requirements.

How is this skill used by the architect in daily activities?

Architects would be expected to be able to:

  • Understand all aspects of the infrastructure design, including on-premises, off-premise, and hybrid design including the implications of those choices to quality, risk, and value
  • Identify and understand the infrastructure requirements of a solution, help design and recommend the appropriate infrastructure solutions for that project
  • Understand the implications of cross-cutting concerns including access and identity management, capacity planning, data center design, and networking including latency and reliability

Proven Practices

Describe why an architect should be involved in this skill at a corporate level

The architect is both uniquely qualified and responsible for the vision and quality elements of their architecture.  They should have the most comprehensive view of the nature of the solution and the elements which will add to or remove quality from the solution.   They should be involved in the development of infrastructural capabilities, composing architectural elements into solutions, and prioritization of design components.   In the event of competing concerns the architect will be able to assess options against architectural principles and quality targets and inform the solution selection process.

Primary push back and/or challenges for architects

The architect may not have had the opportunity to work with all aspects of IT infrastructure and may need to form trusted advisor/mentor relationships with engineering and operational stakeholders in their organization.  This is particularly true of architects moving from an application development skillset into infrastructure design.   Finally, the landscape of IT infrastructure is changing with the introduction of on-premises, off-premise, and hybrid cloud solutions which may introduce additional quality concerns for networking (latency), data security, and access and authentication.

How would a stakeholder engage an architect for assistance utilizing this skill?

The stakeholder would engage the architect during the design process to ensure that the quality and value objectives of the architecture are achieved and can be translated into reality leveraging the IT infrastructure solutions and standards of the organization.  The professional architect should have awareness of IT infrastructure concepts, common element, concerns, and the need to consider all aspects of the solution to achieve functional and non-functional specifications.


IT Operations Management

Processes and services that are used to run IT as a business, including management, implementation, construction, deployment, distribution, verification, installation, and maintenance.

Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation
  • Learner will be able to identify the key functions of IT Operations Management and the roles involved
CITA – Associate
  • The Learner is able to articulate the key considerations and concerns of IT operations management
  • The Learner is able to speak to the roles involved, interactions, and processes
CITA – Specialist
  • The Learner will be able to demonstrate working knowledge of IT Operations Management processes and be able to discuss interacting with them
  • Learner is able to discuss the architectural implications of IT Operations
CITA – Professional
  • The Learner will have experience with delivering architectural programs leveraging complex environments and can discuss working with engineering and operational teams
  • The Learner has experience developing and building processes and services for IT Operations and can discuss how they impact IT quality
  • The Learner has examples of changing their architecture based on IT Operations concerns and can detail the decision tradeoff process

Data Center Design

Planning, design, engineering, and construction of data centers & computer rooms, including understanding of geographic/political concerns, facilities design, access controls, powering and cooling of equipment in data centers.

Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation
  • The Leaner can articulate the primary components of a datacenter and understands the primary components that make one up
  • Learner understands the difference between different scales and types of datacenters including Tier levels, redundancy, and scaling
CITA – Associate
  • Learner can describe the conceptual design of a datacenter
  • Learner can describe all components of a modern datacenter and current trends
  • Learner can articulate the decision tradeoff process between private, hybrid, and public cloud providers
CITA – Specialist
  • Learner has designed solutions which require considerations of redundancy, virtualization, and efficiencies of design
  • Learner has experience designing and implementing server based computing solutions, storage area networks, network designs, and security controls
  • Learner has participated on projects involving storage area networking, networking, or rack based server deployments
CITA – Professional
  • Learner has demonstrated expertise implementing data center solutions in complex environments
  • Learner has designed, or participated in the design, of large, complex datacenter designs
  • Learner has modified a design to take into account the concerns of data center facilities including modification to cloud deployment
  • Learner is able to articulate detailed concerns in areas of datacenter design such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), redundant power designs, network monitoring, and business continuity.

Networking and Remote Access

Activities that focus on capabilities to get access to devices or networks from a remote distance. Understanding of physical networking (wired and wireless), data transfer protocols (such as TCP/IP), network layering and identity management.

Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation
  • Learner understands the basics of network topologies and can articulate concerns of technologies such as packet-switched networks
CITA – Associate
  • Learner is able to show understanding of the concerns of security and reliability to network design
  • Learner is able to describe remote access solutions that would be appropriate to a set of requirements
CITA – Specialist
  • Learner has worked on projects involving network design
  • Learner is able to discuss topics such types of encryption appropriate to a concern
  • Learner has experience managing the network implications of an organization into the architecture and can describe the considerations and trade-offs made
CITA – Professional
  • Learner has implemented networking solutions in complex organizations
  • Learner has experience with the implications of network congestion, reliability and saturation and can suggest approaches to managing them
  • Learner understands and can articulate the requirements and impact of their design to network operations and has examples of trade-offs required


elton_tuckerElton Tucker
Enterprise Architect – Microsoft

Elton Tucker is an Enterprise Architect for Microsoft Canada’s Enterprise Services group.   He engages in assisting Microsoft’s largest Canadian customers and partner’s in long term strategy and planning activities to drive increased benefits from their investments in Microsoft platforms and technologies.  Elton has served as a community lead in both of Microsoft Canada and Americas geographies for enterprise strategy and architecture.  Formerly Elton worked as both a consultant and technical account manager for Microsoft Canada.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2004, Elton worked as a consultant and solution architect for several Microsoft partners, as well as acting as an independent contractor, where he designed, developed, and supported messaging, virtualization and data center solutions.

Elton has 20 years of experience in the IT Industry and he holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary, as well as certifications from multiple industry organizations including IASA.