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What is Web Infrastructure Architecture

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What is it? I googled it, I looked it up and it seems to be maps and the plannig phase of how servers work with front ends and back ends.

I know someone that spent $5,000 on certification for it via a webinar. I'm only concerned he got scammed.

This is really the only definition I could find:

Infrastructure architecture is a new kid on the architecture block. Traditionally, a large amount of IT-architecture attention has been devoted to information and application architecture. However, several developments have fostered a growing desire for infrastructure architecture. But not only will an organization's infrastructure provisions benefit from the appliance of this new architectural discipline; IT architecture, as a whole, will mature. Being that infrastructure architecture is in its childhood, a lot of work has to be done to stimulate and create infrastructure-architecture methods, models, and tools. This paper includes a number of first steps in this new architecture discipline.

Infrastructure architecture is a young and immature discipline. Available literature is scarce, and it is very hard to find schools and universities that include some of it in their curricula. Much of what is called "infrastructure architecture" can actually be considered as "design." However, this is quite natural for a discipline that needs to develop more abstract methodologies and models.

Structuring and rationalizing design is a first step. Architecture methodologies should be developed by elaborating design practices, because this is the only way in which they stay in touch with reality. The border between architecture and design should remain diffuse, because as soon as the distinction between the two proves itself in some way to be clear, it will create a painful gap. Architecture misses its goal when architects are not able to transform their abstract constructs and artifacts into real solutions, because designers, specialists, and engineers cannot understand the directions that the architects provide. If this happens, engineers tend to start building their own solutions that are related in some way to the interpretation that they have regarding the architect's high-level descriptions.

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That Microsoft definition is a bullshit wall of ambiguity. Typical of that company.

First define your component parts:

- Web is essentially anything an internet user can see in a web browser, or more correctly access over HTTP/HTTPS either via web browsers (eg: going to Twitter.com) or through an API (eg: using a Twitter client on their phone). Web is not interent, for example bittorrent and IRC are not "web" (though they can interact with web via APIs).

- Infrastructure is what web runs on. HTTP servers, HTTPS certificates and signatories, database servers, load balancers, content delivery networks and other such things. There is a massive difference in running your own static webpage on a PC in your house and running a constantly-up service like Google/Facebook/Twitter which receives thousands of requests per second from all around the globe.

- Architecture is the act of building something. In this case, the act of assembling all the above infrastructure parts into a service that works well. Once you start getting into the big leauges, the act of optimising your web platform and not creating any dangerous data bottlenecks or single points of failure (sometimes called "hotspots") becomes very important.

What does optimising mean? One example is that there are people who get paid about $75k/yr to sit and take peoples' existing database queries and optimise them. Imagine if you have 10 servers which are approaching maximum load, but someone can modify the way you use those servers to reduce their load to half or less. You've just saved a massive heap of money as you no longer need to upgrade your server farm, you've probably made your servers more reliable as they can now handle a failure of one or more nodes, and have probably provided a faster service to your clients all at the same time.

So, a Web Infrastructure Architect will have knowledge of all the technologies that can be used over the web - including backend programming languages like php/python/perl, database types such as mysql/postgres/oracle, display technologies such as html/css/flash, web acceleration solutions like proxies/compressors/loadbalancers plus many more - and when it is appropriate to use a given technology to achieve the best outcome without introducing additional problems.

Maybe don't try and find a definition of the technology, but look at what job ads for Web Infrastructure Architects want. I don't know if your friend is getting scammed or not, but it's a valid position which requires a high level of knowledge and experience. I would expect the pay is pretty damn good too.

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Well you see, it's the thing that goes ZIP ZOP ZIBIDIBOP and then you're all SQUIDDLY SQUEEP KATANNG and that's where you are.

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Thank you Super Jamie, it makes more sense now. Optimizing queries.

Here I thought it was a bullshit job like consulting.

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Actually, IT architecture in general is closer to what the MS description describes. Shortly put, it's about designing how to build things up, with what kinds of pieces, how they should connect and so on. It's can be very high level depending on the case scenario, even so high that there is nothing technological involved.

Example 1: An IT architect working on a new, monumental in size, information system has to take into account what the users will be doing with the system, how the system affects the customer organization's processes, what kind of input/output there is from/to users, the organization's processes and other IT systems, what kind of modules the information system is built from, how they are connected, how do they communicate, etc. This all has to be done on both a pretty abstract level and, where applicable, also with a hint of technology in it. HOWEVER the architect SHOULD NOT go into too minute detail, at least in this phase. For example figuring out all the small kinks in how the modules and processes should be sending messages to each others should be left to the people specialized in that sort of thing.

Example 2: An IT architect working on a Windows OS would be working on planning how the different services, modules, drivers and other key elements connect together to create a working system. He does not care that much about implementing them, rather he concentrates on building the OS from a set of smaller lego pieces, so to speak.

So, yeah, an IT architect should have some knowledge of technologies involved to have an idea what they do, what to recommend to be used and where, but unless you're doubling on some other position as well you don't need to go into too much detail. It can also be a consultant position. Well, actually, since architecture can be a pretty small (but very important) part of the early design phase, unless you're working in a huge company with many projects at the same time or you're doubling in some other position, being a consultant or changing work places often sounds more realistic.

Now, "web infrastructure architect" sounds a bit weird to me. The word that's putting me off being "infrastructure." The only context where "web infrastructure" makes any sense is in the actual Internet networking, I mean wires and stuff, working for the ISPs and cable companies. An other alternative would be designing internal networks for big companies, but then the word "web" sounds weird. If it was just "web architect", then Jamie's description sounds more like it. By the way, I'd add things like web services, XML (ugh), messaging, security, modularity (as in the services being built from modules), etc. to the different things mentioned. Really important today on the web, from an architect point of view.

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