Cloud Computing & Enterprise Architecture

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

What is the impact on Enterprise Architecture with the introduction of Cloud Computing and SaaS?

One word – ‘Serious’.

Here is my perspective.

On the first look, it may seem like Enterprise Architecture is irrelevant in a company if your complete IT is running on Cloud Computing, SaaS and outsourcing/offshoring. I was of the same opinion last year. However, it is not the case. In fact, the complexity is going to get multiplied.

We have moved from monolithic systems to client-server to tiered architectures. With SOA comes the truly distributed architecture. And with Cloud Computing and SaaS, we are moving to “Globally Decentralized/Distributed Architecture”.

With global distribution, we will be able to compose business processes out of services from SalesForce.com, Services running on Azure/Amazon and host the resulting composite in another cloud platform. Does that sound too cool and flexible! Of course. But it is also exponentially complex to manage in the long run!

Some of the challenges: What are the failure modes in these global composites? Can we optimize the attributes of those composites? How do we trace/troubleshoot, version control these composites? What are the foreseeable security threats in these global platforms?

Integration between these huge Clouds/SaaS platforms? – Welcome to the world of software-intensive, Massive System of Systems! :-)

If the first-generation EA guided us in dealing with System of Systems within an Enterprise, the next generation EA should help us in addressing ‘Massive System of Systems’.

With this new complexity, not only Enterprise Architecture gets necessary, but becomes absolutely critical in the IT ecosystem.

Enterprise Architecture and Cloud Computing will be topics of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud Computing and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

5 Comments

Filed under Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture

5 responses to “Cloud Computing & Enterprise Architecture

  1. Dirk Schmele

    yes, this is a fascinating idea. I heard it first from gunter dueck and he called it inter-enterprise architecture. This is not a simple scale up, but we will need new pattern for good solutions.

    • Peter Bakker

      I can advise everybody to read the book “Power to the Edge” (http://www.dodccrp.org/html4/books_main.html) to understand the real changes that are going on. We should start to think in terms of coalitions instead of enterprises.

      Enterprise Architecture will become Coalition Architecture which is Infrastructure + Infostructure Architecture.

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  3. Interesting Perspective Peter! Like the way the term ‘enterprise’ has been loosely morphed into ‘coalitions’, I think the term ‘architecture’ would also undergo changes. The moment some one utters the word ‘Architecture’, it immediately reflects the form of solid structures, which people perceive as limitations for agility.
    Agree with Dirk as well – We will need new patterns of enterprise architecture in which we need to deal with new set of challenges such as process/data owernship, security, regulations, topology of such system of systems.

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