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Multiple combinations of hardware and network components can be selected to design an information technology (IT) infrastructure that satisfies requirements. The professional criterion to deal with these degrees of freedom is cost minimization. However, a scientific approach has been rarely applied to cost minimization, particularly for the joint optimization of hardware and network systems. This paper provides an overall methodology for combining hardware and network designs in a single cost minimization problem for multisite computer systems. Costs are minimized by applying a heuristic optimization approach to a sound decomposition of the problem. We consider most of the design alternatives that are enabled by current hardware and network technologies, including server sizing, localization of mutitier applications, and reuse of legacy systems. The methodology is empirically verified with a database of costs that has also been built as part of this paper. Verifications consider several test cases with different computing and communication requirements. Cost reductions are evaluated by comparing the cost of methodological results with those of architectural solutions that are obtained by applying professional design guidelines. The quality of heuristic optimization results is evaluated through comparison with lower bounds.