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The infrastructure layer enables a software system to interact with external systems by receiving, storing and providing data when requested. However, the infrastructure layer is not the sole layer that enables the system to connect with other systems. There are also other components involved in the connectivity process. For example, a software system needs to connect with several external entities as part of its functions. In the context of a telecom services provider, a customer relationship management (CRM) system may also need to connect with the APIs exposed by an external system in order to view the different smartphones and data offers available for customers.
The infrastructure layer is an important, although optional layer in a software system, especially for systems that need to regularly interact with external systems. The infrastructure layer manages the system-to-system interactions, stores data that is external to the system and caters to requests for data retrieval received from the other layers such as the business layer. The infrastructure layer is also known as the persistence layer because it is used to permanently store data. The layer regularly interacts with the data access layer and can manage the queries written to interact with the data access layer in three-tier software architecture. Examples of objects within an infrastructure layer are SQLTables, SerialPorts, 3270 terminals and SQLBrokers. The infrastructure layer is a technology and platform-independent layer.