The internet infrastructure is an array of remote hardware and software working to send and receive information to various systems. Every instance of a page loading on a computer's web browser, a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed streaming into a reader, or a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) call being made represents this complex internet infrastructure. Its basic components include data centers, networks, servers, storage devices, and server applications. The hardware may be localized in specific countries, but the network infrastructure spans international boundaries to make the internet a worldwide phenomenon available in any region that has a functioning localized network.
The home of the internet infrastructure is the data center, a secure building housing computer equipment and network connectivity devices. It is staffed by a full-time team of operators and equipped with enough power to run and cool the equipment. It also has systems to regulate climate, suppress fires, and prevent unauthorized access.
A network of processors and storage devices within a data center is the second component of the internet infrastructure. Measured in megabits per second (mbps), the network allows data to be transferred between processors and storage devices in the data center and to other data centers. The ultimate goal is for the information to reach the computer or device of the end-user.
The third component, servers, are high-end computers resembling a desktop PC, but with much greater storage and processing capacity. Servers are measured in units of processing power and RAM storage capability, and must be connected to a power supply, or several power supplies, as well as to the network and an installed operating system. A server can consist of a single computer, a pool of computers, or even a cluster of pools.
Data that ultimately appears on the device of an end-user must be stored somewhere, so the fourth component of the internet infrastructure is storage devices. Storage capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB). Storage devices may be local, meaning on the hard drives of the servers themselves, or they may be remote, connected to one server or many by means of a network.
The fifth component of the internet infrastructure is the operating software for the servers, or the server applications. In order to function, a server must have an operating system like Linux or Windows, a web server application such as Apache or Microsoft IIS, and a database, for example MySQL or Oracle. Once a server is equipped with this software, the user can install any other subsidiary web applications on it that are needed. All of the components work together to form the internet infrastructure, which transmits information worldwide.