Tag Archives: Architecture Forum

SF Conference to Explore Architecture Trends

By The Open Group Conference Team

In addition to exploring the theme of “Enterprise Transformation,” speakers at The Open Group San Francisco conference in January will explore a number of other trends related to enterprise architecture and the profession, including trends in service oriented architectures and business architecture. 

The debate about the role of EA in the development of high-level business strategy is a long running one. EA clearly contributes to business strategy, but does it formulate, plan or execute on business strategy?  If the scope of EA is limited to EA alone, it could have a diminutive role in business strategy and Enterprise Transformation going forward.

EA professionals will have the opportunity to discuss and debate these questions and hear from peers about their practical experiences, including the following tracks:

  • Establishing Value Driven EA as the Enterprise Embarks on Transformation (EA & Enterprise Transformation Track)  - Madhav Naidu, Lead Enterprise Architedt, Ciena Corp., US; and Mark Temple, Chief Architect, Ciena Corp.
  • Building an Enterprise Architecture Practice Foundation for Enterprise Transformation Execution  (EA & Business Innovation Track) – Frank Chen, Senior Manager & Principal Enterprise Architect, Cognizant, US
  • Death of IT: Rise of the Machines (Business Innovation & Technological Disruption: The Challenges to EA Track) –  Mans Bhuller, Senior Director, Oracle Corporation, US
  • Business Architecture Profession and Case Studies  (Business Architecture Track) – Mieke Mahakena, Capgemini,; and Peter Haviland, Chief Architect/Head of Business Architecture, Ernst & Young
  • Constructing the Architecture of an Agile Enterprise Using the MSBI Method (Agile Enterprise Architecture Track) – Nick Malike, Senior Principal Enterprise Architect, Microsoft Corporation, US
  • There’s a SEA Change in Your Future: How Sustainable EA Enables Business Success in Times of Disruptive Change (Sustainable EA Track)  – Leo Laverdure & Alex Conn, Managing Partners, SBSA Partners LLC, US
  • The Realization of SOA’s Using the SOA Reference Architecture  (Tutorials) – Nikhil Kumar, President, Applied Technology Solutions, US
  • SOA Governance: Thinking Beyond Services (SOA Track) – Jed Maczuba, Senior Manager, Accenture, US

In addition, a number of conference tracks will explore issues and trends related to the enterprise architecture profession and role of enterprise architects within organizations.  Tracks addressing professional concerns include:

  • EA: Professionalization or Marketing Needed? (Professional Development Track)  - Peter Kuppen, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting, BV, Netherlands
  • Implementing Capabilities With an Architecture Practice (Setting up a Successful EA Practice Track)  – Mike Jacobs, Director and Principal Architect, OmptumInsight; and Joseph May, Director, Architecture Center of Excellence, OmptumInsight
  • Gaining and Retaining Stakeholder Buy-In: The Key to a Successful EA Practice Practice (Setting up a Successful EA Practice Track)   – Russ Gibfried, Enterprise Architect, CareFusion Corporation, US
  • The Virtual Enterprise Architecture Team (Nature & Role of the Enterprise Architecture) – Nicholas Hill, Principal Enterprise Architect, Consulting Services, FSI, Infosys; and Musharal Mughal, Director of EA, Manulife Financials, Canada

 Our Tutorials track will also provide practical guidance for attendees interested in learning more about how to implement architectures within organizations.  Topics will include tutorials on subjects such as TOGAF®, Archimate®, Service Oriented Architectures,  and architecture methods and techniques.

For more information on EA conference tracks, please visit the conference program on our website.

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Filed under Cloud/SOA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Service Oriented Architecture

How to manage requirements within the Enterprise Architecture using the TOGAF® and SABSA® frameworks

By Pascal de Koning, KPN 

You want to put your company’s business strategy into action. What’s the best way to accomplish this?  This can be done in a structured manner by using an Enterprise Architecture
Framework like TOGAF®. TOGAF® offers an overview of business and IT related architectures, as well as a process model to deliver these, called the Architecture Development Method (ADM-figure 1).

As the figure shows, Requirements Management plays a central role in the architecture work in the TOGAF® methodology. It’s very important to know the business requirements, because these demand what’s needed in the underlying architecture layer. In fact, this counts for every layer. Each architecture layer fulfills the requirements that are defined in the layer above. Without proper Requirements Management, the whole architecture would be loose sand.

Unfortunately, TOGAF® does not offer guidance on Requirements Management. It does however stress the importance and central role of Requirements Management, but doesn’t offer a way to actually do Requirements Management. This is a white spot in the TOGAF® ADM. To resolve this, a requirements management method is needed that is well-described and flexible to use on all levels in the architecture. We found this in the SABSA® (Sherwood’s Applied Business-driven Security Architecture) framework. SABSA® offers the unique Business Attribute Profiling (BAP) technique as a means to effectively carry out Requirements Management.

Business Attribute Profiling is a requirements engineering technique that translates business goals and drivers into requirements (see figure 2). Some advantages of this technique are:

  • Executive communication in non-ICT terms
  • Grouping and structuring of requirements, keeping oversight
  • Traceability mapping between business drivers, requirements and capabilities

The BAP process decomposes the business goal into its core elements. Each core element is a single business attribute. Examples of business attributes are Available, Scalable, Supported, Confidential, Traceable, etc.

As business processes tend to become more Internet-based, cyber security is becoming more important every day because the business processes are increasingly vulnerable to forces outside the business. Organizations must now consider not only the processes and requirements when planning an architecture, but they also need to consider the security of that architecture. A Security Architecture consists of all the security-related drivers, requirements, services and capabilities within the Enterprise. With the adoption of the Business Attribute Profiling technique for Requirements Management, it is now possible to integrate information security into the Enterprise Architecture.

The TOGAF®-SABSA® Integration white paper elaborates more on this and provides a guide that describes how TOGAF® and SABSA® can be combined such that the SABSA® business risk-driven security architecture approach is seamlessly integrated into the a TOGAF®-based enterprise architecture. It can be downloaded from https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/jsp/publications/PublicationDetails.jsp?publicationid=12449

TOGAF® is a registered trademark of The Open Group.  SABSA® is a registered trademark of The SABSA Institute.

Pascal de Koning MSc CISSP is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN Trusted Services, where he leads the security consulting practice. He is chairman of The Open Group TOGAF-SABSA Integration Working Group. He has worked on information security projects for the Dutch central government, European Union and KPN, to name just a few. Pascal has written articles for Computable and PvIB, and is a frequent speaker at conferences like RSA Europe and COSAC on the topics of Cyber Security and Enterprise Security Architecture. When not working, Pascal loves to go running.

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Security Architecture, TOGAF®

The Open Group and SABSA Institute Publish TOGAF® Integration Whitepaper

By Jim Hietala, Vice President, Security, The Open Group

2011 confirmed what many in the Enterprise Architecture industry have feared – data breaches are on the rise. It’s not just the number and cost of data breaches, but the sheer volume of information that cyber criminals are able to get their hands on. Today’s organizations cannot risk being vulnerable.

To help address this issue, The Open Group Security and Architecture Forums, and the SABSA® Institute, developers of the SABSA® security and risk management framework, joined forces to explore how security methodologies and risk management approaches can be an integrated with enterprise-level architectures for better protection and flexibility.

If you are an enterprise architect with responsibility for ensuring architectures are secure or a security professional tasked with developing secure architectures you’ll be interested in the work the Architecture Forum and SABSA® have done over the last 15 months, culminating in a whitepaper released today that provides a valuable contribution to the security and enterprise architecture communities.

 A Project Designed to Protect

All too often vulnerabilities can occur due to lack of alignment across organizations, with security and IT experts failing to consider the entire infrastructure together rather than different parts separately.

The impetus for this project came from large enterprises and consulting organizations that frequently saw TOGAF® being used as a tool for developing enterprise architecture, and SABSA® as a tool for creating security architectures. Practitioners of either TOGAF® or SABSA® asked for guidance on how best to align these frameworks in practical usage, and on how to re-use artifacts from each.

This quote from the whitepaper sums up the rationale for the effort best:

 “For too long, information security has been considered a separate discipline, isolated from the enterprise architecture. This Whitepaper documents an approach to enhance the TOGAF® enterprise architecture methodology with the SABSA® security architecture approach and thus create one holistic architecture methodology.”

The vision for the project has been to support enterprise architects who need to take operational risk management into account, by providing guidance describing how TOGAF® and SABSA® can be combined such that the SABSA® business risk and opportunity-driven security architecture approach can be seamlessly integrated into the TOGAF® business strategy-driven approach to develop a richer, more complete enterprise architecture.

There are two important focal points for this effort, first to provide a practical approach for seamlessly integrating SABSA® security requirements and services in common TOGAF®-based architecture engagements – instead of treating security as a separate entity within the architecture.

The second focal point is to illustrate how the requirements management processes in TOGAF® can be fulfilled in their widest generic sense (i.e., not only with regard to security architecture) by application of the SABSA® concept of Business Attribute Profiling to the entire ADM process.

Download a free copy of the TOGAF® and SABSA® whitepaper here.

If you are interested in exploring TOGAF® 9, online access to the framework is available here.

Information on SABSA® may be obtained here.

A large number of individuals participated in the development of this valuable resource. Thank you to all project team members who made this effort a reality, including from the SABSA® Institute, the Open Group Architecture Forum, and the Open Group Security Forum!

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Security Architecture, TOGAF®

How EA is leading enterprise transformation in France

By Eric Boulay, The Open Group France

Earlier this week, in Paris, The Open Group France held the latest in a series of one-day conferences focused on Enterprise Architecture. As usual, the event delivered high-value content in the form of an excellent keynote presentation and case studies. These covered the retail, gambling, and financial industries — including two from CIOs of major French corporations: Continue reading

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Filed under Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

PODCAST: Examining the current state of Enterprise Architecture with The Open Group’s Steve Nunn

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: BriefingsDirect-Open Group COO Steve Nunn on EA Professional Groups

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on the state of EA, from The Open Group Conference, San Diego 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference held in San Diego, the week of February 7, 2011. We’re here with an executive from The Open Group to examine the current state of enterprise architecture (EA). We’ll hear about how EA is becoming more business-oriented and how organizing groups for the EA profession are consolidating and adjusting. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We’ll get an update on The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects (AOGEA) and learn more about its recent merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects. What’s more, we’ll get an assessment of the current maturity levels and overall professionalism drive of EA, and we’re going to learn more about what to expect from the EA field and these organizing groups over the next few years.

Here to help us delve into the current state of EA, please join me now in welcoming Steve Nunn, Chief Operating Officer of The Open Group and CEO of The Association of Open Group Enterprise Architects.

Welcome back, Steve.

Steve Nunn: Hi, Dana. Good to be back.

Gardner: We’re hearing an awful lot these days about EA being dead, outmoded, or somehow out of sync. I know there’s a lot more emphasis on the business issues, rather than just the technical or IT issues, but what’s going on with that? Are we at a point where this topic, this professional category, is in some danger?

Nunn: Absolutely not. EA is very much the thing of the moment, but it’s also something that’s going to be with us for the foreseeable future too. Both inside The Open Group and the AOGEA, we’re seeing significant growth and interest in the area of EA. In the association, it’s individuals becoming certified and wanting to join a professional body for their own purposes and to help the push to professionalize EA.

Within The Open Group, it’s entities and organizations. Whether they be commercial, governments, academic, they are regularly joining The Open Group Architecture Forum. So, it’s far from dead and in terms of the importance of business overall, EA being relevant to business.

Tomorrow’s plenary session here at the Conference is a good example. It’s about using EA for business transformation. It’s about using EA to tie IT into the business. There is no point in doing IT for IT’s sake. It’s there to support the business, and people are finding that one way of doing that is EA.

Gardner: I would think too, Steve, that some of the major trends around mobile, security, and cyber risk would augment the need for a more holistic governing role, and the architect seems to fit that bill quite nicely. So is there wind in your sails around some of these trends?

Central to the organization

Nunn: Absolutely. We’re seeing increasingly that you can’t just look at EA in some kind of silo. It’s more about how it fits. It’s so central to an organization and the way that organizations are built that it has all of the factors that you mentioned. Security is a good one, as well as cloud. They’re all impacted by EA. EA has a role to play in all of those.

Inside the Open Group, what’s happening is a lot of cross-functional working groups between the Architecture Forum, the Security Forum, and the Cloud Work Group, which is just recognition of that fact. But, the central tool of it is EA.

Gardner: In addition to recognizing that the function of the EA is important, you can’t just have people walking the door and say, well, I’m an enterprise architect. It’s hard to define the role, but it seems necessary. Tell me about the importance of certification, so that we really know what an enterprise architect is.

Nunn: That’s right. Everyone seems to want to be an enterprise architect or an IT architect right now. It’s that label to have on your business card. What we’re trying to do is separate the true architects from one of these, and certification is a key part of that.

If you’re an employer and you’re looking to take somebody on to help in the EA role, then it’s having some means to assess whether somebody really has any experience of EA, whether they know any frameworks, and what projects they’ve led that involve EA. All those things are obviously important to know.

There are various certification programs, particularly in The Open Group, that help with that. The TOGAF® Certification Program is focused on the TOGAF® framework. At the other end of the spectrum is the ITAC Program, which is a skills- and experience-based program that assesses by peer review an individual’s experience in EA.

There are those, there are others out there, and there are more coming. One of the great things we see is the general acceptance of certification as a means to telling the wood from the trees.

Gardner: So, we certainly have a need. We have some major trends that are requiring this role and we have the ability to begin certifying. Looking at this whole professionalism of EA, we also have these organizations. It was three years ago this very event that The AOGEA was officially launched. Maybe you could tell us what’s happened over the past three years and set the stage for what’s driving the momentum in the organization itself?

Nunn: Three years ago, we launched the association with 700 members. We were delighted to have that many at the start. As we sit here today, we have over 18,000 members. Over that period, we added members through more folks becoming certified through not only The Open Group programs, but with other programs. For example, we acknowledged the FIAC Certification Program as a valid path to full membership of the association.

We also embraced the Global Enterprise Architecture Organization (GEAO), and those folks, relevant to your earlier question, really have a particular business focus. We’ve also embraced the Microsoft Certified Architect individuals. Microsoft stopped its own program about a year ago now, and one of the things they encouraged their individuals who were certified to do was to join the association. In fact, Microsoft would help them pay to be members of the association, which was good.

So, it reflects the growth and membership reflects the interest in the area of EA and the interest in individuals’ wanting to advance their own careers through being part of a profession.

Valuable resource

Enterprise architects are a highly valuable resource inside an organization, and so we are both promoting that message to the outside world. For our members as individuals what we’re focusing on is delivering to them latest thinking in EA moving towards best practices, whitepapers, and trying to give them, at this stage, a largely virtual community in which to deal with each other.

Where we have turned it in to real community is through local chapters. We now have about 20 local chapters around the world. The members have formed those. They meet at varying intervals, but the idea is to get face time with each other and talk about issues that concern enterprise architects and the advancement of profession. It’s all good stuff. It’s growing by the week, by the month, in terms of the number of folks who want to do that. We’re very happy with what has gone in three years.

Gardner: We’ve got a little bit of alphabet soup out there. There are several organizations, several communities, that have evolved around them, but now you are working to bring that somewhat together.

As I alluded to earlier, the AOGEA has just announced its merger with the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA). What’s the difference now? How does that shape up? Is this simply a melding of the two or is there something more to it?

Nunn: Well, it is certainly a melding of the two. The two organizations actually became one in late fall last year, and obviously we have the usual post merger integration things to take care of.

But, I think it’s not just a melding. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We have two different communities. We have the AOGEA folks who have come primarily through certification route, and we also have the AEA folks who haven’t been so, so focused on certification, but they bring to the table something very important. They have chapters in different areas than the AOGEA folks by and large.

Also, they have a very high respected quarterly publication called The Journal of Enterprise Architecture, along the lines of an academic journal, but with a leaning towards practitioners as well. That’s published on a quarterly basis. The great thing is that that’s now a membership benefit to the merged association membership of over 18,000, rather than the subscribed base before the merger.

As we develop, we’re getting closer to our goal of being able to really promote the profession of EA in a coherent way. There are other groups beyond that, and there are the early signs of co- operation and working together to try to achieve one voice for the profession going forward.

Gardner: And this also followed about a year ago, the GOAO merger with the AOGEA. So, it seems as if we’re getting the definitive global organization with variability in terms of how it can deal with communities, but also that common central organizing principle. Tell me about this new über organization, what are you going to call it and what is the reach? How big is it going to be?

Nunn: Well, the first part of that is the easy part. We have consulted the membership multiple times now actually, and we are going to name the merged organization, The Association of Enterprise Architects. So that will keep things nice and simple and that will be the name going forward. It does encompass so far GEAO, AOGEA and AEA. It’s fair to say that, as a membership organization, it is the leading organization for enterprise architects.

Role to play

There are other organizations in the ecosystem who are, for example, advocacy groups, training organizations, or certification groups, and they all have a role to play in the profession. But, where we’re going with AEA in the future is to make that the definitive professional association for enterprise architects. It’s a non-profit 501(c)(6) incorporated organization, which is there to act as the professional body for its members.

Gardner: You have been with The Open Group for well over 15 years now. You’ve seen a lot of the evolution and maturity. Let’s get back to the notion of the enterprise architect as an entity. As you said, we have now had a process where we recognize the need. We’ve got major trends and dynamics in the marketplace. We have organizations that are out there helping to corral people and manage the whole notion of EA better.

What is it about the maturity? Where are we in a spectrum, on a scale of 1 to 10? What does that mean for where there is left go? This isn’t cooked yet. You can’t take it out of the oven quite yet.

Nunn: No, absolutely no. There’s a long way to go, and I think to measure it on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d like to say higher, but it’s probably about 2 right now. Just because a lot of things that need to be done to create profession are partly done by one group or another, but not done in a unified way or with anything like one voice for the profession.

It’s interesting. We did some research on how long we might expect to take to achieve the status of a profession. Certainly, in the US at least, the shortest period of time taken so far was 26 years by librarians, but typically it was closer to 100 years and, in fact, the longest was 170-odd years. So, we’re doing pretty well. We’re going pretty quickly compared to those organizations.

We’re trying to do it on a global basis, which to my knowledge is the first time that’s been done for any profession. If anything, that will obviously make things a little more complicated, but I think there is a lot of will in the EA world to make this happen, a lot of support from all sorts of groups. Press and analysts are keen to see it happen from the talks that we’ve had and the articles we’ve read. So, where there is a will there is a way. There’s a long way to go, but we’ve made good progress in a short numbers of years, really.

Gardner: So, there’s a great deal of opportunity coming up. We’ve talked about how this is relevant to the individual. This is something good for their career. They recognize a path where they can be beneficial, appreciated, and valued. But, what’s in it for the enterprise, for the organizations that are trying to run their businesses dealing with a lot of change already? What does a group like the AEA do for them?

Nunn: It’s down to giving them the confidence that the folks that they are hiring or the folks that they are developing to do EA work within their enterprise are qualified to do that, knowledgeable to do that, or on a path to becoming true professionals in EA.

Certainly if you were hiring into your organization an accountant or a lawyer, you’d be looking to hire one that was a member of the relevant professional body with the appropriate certifications. That’s really what we’re promoting for EA. That’s the role that the association can play.

Confidence building

When we achieve success with the association is when folks are hiring enterprise architects, they will only look at folks who are members of the association, because to do anything else would be like hiring an unqualified lawyer or accountant. It’s about risk minimization and confidence building in your staff.

Gardner: Now, you wear two hats. You’re the Chief Operating Officer at The Open Group and you’re the CEO of the AEA. How do these two groups relate? You’re in the best position to tell us what’s the relationship or the context that the listeners should appreciate in terms of how these shakeouts?

Nunn: That’s a good point. It’s something that I do get asked periodically. The fact is that the association, whilst a separately incorporated body, was started by The Open Group. With these things, somebody has to start them and The Open Group’s Membership was all you needed for this to happen. So, very much the association has its roots in The Open Group and today still it works very closely with The Open Group in terms of how it operates and certain infrastructure things for the association are provided by The Open Group.

The support is still there, but increasingly the association is becoming a separate body. I mentioned the journal that’s published in the association’s name that has its own websites, its own membership.

So, little by little, there will be more separation between the two, but the aims of the two or the interests of the two are both served by EA becoming recognized as profession. It just couldn’t have happened without The Open Group, and we intend to pay a lot of attention to what goes on inside The Open Group in EA. It’s one of the leading organizations in the EA space and a group that the association would be foolish not to pay attention to, in terms of the direction of certifications and what the members, who are enterprise architects, are saying, experiencing, and what they’re needing for the future.

Gardner: So, I suppose we should expect an ongoing partnership between them for quite some time.

Nunn: Absolutely. A very close partnership and along with partnerships with other groups. The association is not looking to take anyone’s turf or tread on anyone’s toes, but to partner with the other groups that are in the ecosystem. Because if we work together, we’ll get to this profession status a lot quicker, but certainly a key partner will be The Open Group.

Gardner: Well, very good. We have been looking at the current state of EA as profession, learning about the organizing groups around that effort and the certification process that they support. We’ve been talking with Steve Nunn, the Chief Operating Officer at The Open Group and also the CEO of the newly named Association of Enterprise Architects. Thank you so much, Steve.

Nunn: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast coming to you in conjunction with the Open Group Conference here in San Diego, the week of the February 7, 2011. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for joining, and come back next time.

Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

Dana Gardner is the Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which identifies and interprets the trends in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and enterprise software infrastructure markets. Interarbor Solutions creates in-depth Web content and distributes it via BriefingsDirectblogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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World-class EA

By Mick Adams, Capgemini UK

World-class Enterprise Architecture is all about creating definitive collateral that defines how the architecture delivers value for societal value.

I know that’s a big, bold claim, but there’re enough dreamers and doers that are making this happen right now. World-class EA tackles big industry issues and offers big, brave solutions. The Open Group has already published several whitepapers at on this… banking, anyone? no problem… public services? Absolutely. World-class EA tackles these industry verticals and a bunch of others to describe a truly holistic model that unlocks value. Take a look at the World Class EA White Paper available in The Open Group’s online bookstore. Highlights of the whitepaper include:

  • Selection of industry drivers and potential architecture response
  • Suggested maturity model to calibrate organizations
  • Example of applying a maturity rating
  • Set of templates and suggested diagrams to provision TOGAF® 9 content

The work is ongoing; it’s not definitive yet. We are looking for more problem definitions and solutions to drive a collective global mindset forward to ensure that IT delivers benefits across the entire value chain. If we agree on what the problems are, prioritize and work on them in a wholly collegiate manner, the industry is in a better place as a consequence. My view is that The Open Group is the only viable platform to provision BIG IT to industry and society.

The Open Group India is running an event soon that I’m hoping will further refine world-class EA. The IT industry in India is flying red hot, and thriving at the moment. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the boldest and most innovative entrepreneurial people in the world that happen to come from India. There is an absolute passion for learning and contribution on the sub continent like no other. At The Open Group India event, we will discuss:

  • Defining the BIG IT topics for today
  • Insights about IT and EA
  • Providing/provisioning demonstrable value to make a difference

The countdown has begun to The Open Group India Conference. If you want to know what’s happening in architecture right now, or want to influence what could happen to our industry in India or globally, come along.

World-class EA will be a topic 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 and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

As a member of Capgemini global architecture leadership, Mick Adams has been involved in the development of some of the world’s largest enterprise architectures and has managed Capgemini contributions to The Open Group Architecture Forum for over two years. He has wide industry experience but his architecture work is currently focused on Central Government(s) and oil super-majors.

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The golden thread of interoperability

By Dr. Chris Harding, The Open Group

There are so many things going on at every Conference by The Open Group that it is impossible to keep track of all of them, and this week’s Conference in San Diego, California, is no exception. The main themes are Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, SOA and Cloud Computing. Additional topics range from Real-Time and Embedded Systems to Quantum Lifecycle Management. But there are a number of common threads running through all of those themes, relating to value delivered to IT customers through open systems. One of those threads is Interoperability.

Interoperability Panel Session

The interoperability thread showed strongly in several sessions on the opening day of the conference, Monday Feb. 7, starting with a panel session on Interoperability Challenges for 2011 that I was fortunate to have been invited to moderate.

The panelists were Arnold van Overeem of Capgemini, chair of the Architecture Forum’s Interoperability project, Ron Schuldt, the founder of UDEF-IT and chair of the Semantic Interoperability Work Group’s UDEF project, TJ Virdi of Boeing, co-chair of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group, and Bob Weisman of Build-the-Vision, chair of The Open Group Architecture Forum’s Information Architecture project. The audience was drawn from many companies, both members and non-members of The Open Group, and made a strong contribution to the debate.

What is interoperability? The panel described several essential characteristics:

  • Systems with different owners and governance models work together;
  • They exchange and understand data automatically;
  • They form an information-sharing environment in which business information is available in the right context, to the right person, and at the right time; and
  • This environment enables processes, as well as information, to be shared.

Interoperability is not just about the IT systems. It is also about the ecosystem of user organizations, and their cultural and legislative context.

Semantics is an important component of interoperability. It is estimated that 65% of data warehouse projects fail because of their inability to cope with a huge number of data elements, differently defined.

There is a constant battle for interoperability. Systems that lock customers in by refusing to interoperate with those of other vendors can deliver strong commercial profit. This strategy is locally optimal but globally disastrous; it gives benefits to both vendors and customers in the short term, but leads in the longer term to small markets and siloed systems.  The front line is shifting constantly. There are occasional resounding victories – as with the introduction of the Internet – but the normal state is trench warfare with small and painful gains and losses.

Blame for lack of interoperability is often put on the vendors, but this is not really fair. Vendors must work within what is commercially possible. Customer organizations can help the growth of interoperability by applying pressure and insisting on support for standards. This is in their interests; integration required by lack of interoperability is currently estimated to account for over 25% of IT spend.

SOA has proved a positive force for interoperability. By embracing SOA, a customer organization can define its data model and service interfaces, and tender for competing solutions that conform to its interfaces and meet its requirements. Services can be shared processing units forming part of the ecosystem environment.

The latest IT phenomenon is Cloud Computing. This is in some ways reinforcing SOA as an interoperability enabler. Shared services can be available on the Cloud, and the ease of provisioning services in a Cloud environment speeds up the competitive tendering process.

But there is one significant area in which Cloud computing gives cause for concern: lack of interoperability between virtualization products. Virtualization is a core enabling technology for Cloud Computing, and virtualization products form the basis for most private Cloud solutions. These products are generally vendor-specific and without interoperable interfaces, so that it is difficult for a customer organization to combine different virtualization products in a private Cloud, and easy for it to become locked in to a single vendor.

There is a need for an overall interoperability framework within which standards can be positioned, to help customers express their interoperability requirements effectively. This framework should address cultural and legal aspects, and architectural maturity, as well as purely technical aspects. Semantics will be a crucial element.

Such a framework could assist the development of interoperable ecosystems, involving multiple organizations. But it will also help the development of architectures for interoperability within individual organizations – and this is perhaps of more immediate concern.

The Open Group can play an important role in the development of this framework, and in establishing it with customers and vendors.

SOA/TOGAF Practical Guide

SOA is an interoperability enabler, but establishing SOA within an enterprise is not easy to do. There are many stakeholders involved, with particular concerns to be addressed. This presents a significant task for enterprise architects.

TOGAF® has long been established as a pragmatic framework that helps enterprise architects deliver better solutions. The Open Group is developing a practical guide to using TOGAF® for SOA, as a joint project of its SOA Work Group and The Open Group Architecture Forum.

This work is now nearing completion. Ed Harrington of Architecting-the-Enterprise had overcome the considerable difficulty of assembling and adding to the material created by the project to form a solid draft. This was discussed in detail by a small group, with some participants joining by teleconference. As well as Ed, this group included Mats Gejnevall of Capgemini and Steve Bennett of Oracle, and it was led by project co-chairs Dave Hornford of Integritas and Awel Dico of the Bank of Montreal.

The discussion resolved all the issues, enabling the preparation of a draft for review by The Open Group, and we can expect to see this valuable guide published at the conclusion of the review process.

UDEF Deployment Workshop

The importance of semantics for interoperability was an important theme of the interoperability panel discussion. The Open Group is working on a specific standard that is potentially a key enabler for semantic interoperability: the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF).

It had been decided at the previous conference, in Amsterdam, that the next stage of UDEF development should be a deployment workshop. This was discussed by a small group, under the leadership of UDEF project chair Ron Schuldt, again with some participation by teleconference.

The group included Arnold van Overeem of Capgemini, Jayson Durham of the US Navy, and Brand Niemann of the Semantic Community. Jayson is a key player in the Enterprise Lexicon Services (ELS) initiative, which aims to provide critical information interoperability capabilities through common lexicon and vocabulary services. Brand is a major enthusiast for semantic interoperability with connections to many US semantic initiatives, and currently to the Air Force OneSource project in particular, which is evolving a data analysis tool used internally by the USAF Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC) Vocabulary Services Team, and made available to general data management community.  The participation of Jayson and Brand provided an important connection between the UDEF and other semantic projects.

As a result of the discussions, Ron will draft an interoperability scenario that can be the basis of a practical workshop session at the next conference, which is in London.

Complex Cloud Environments

Cloud Computing is the latest hot technology, and its adoption is having some interesting interoperability implications, as came out clearly in the Interoperability panel session. In many cases, an enterprise will use, not a single Cloud, but multiple services in multiple Clouds. These services must interoperate to deliver value to the enterprise. The Complex Cloud Environments conference stream included two very interesting presentations on this.

The first, by Mark Skilton and Vladimir Baranek of Capgemini, explained how new notations for Cloud can help explain and create better understanding and adoption of new Cloud-enabled services and the impact of social and business networks. As Cloud environments become increasingly complex, the need to explain them clearly grows. Consumers and vendors of Cloud services must be able to communicate. Stakeholders in consumer organizations must be able to discuss their concerns about the Cloud environment. The work presented by Mark and Vladimir grew from discussions in a CloudCamp that was held at a previous Conference by The Open Group. We hope that it can now be developed by The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group to become a powerful and sophisticated language to address this communication need.

The second presentation, from Soobaek Jang of IBM, addressed the issue of managing and coordinating across a large number of instances in a Cloud Computing environment. He explained an architecture for “Multi-Node Management Services” that acts as a framework for auto-scaling in a SaaS lifecycle, putting structure around self-service activity, and providing a simple and powerful web service orientation that allows providers to manage and orchestrate deployments in logical groups.

SOA Conference Stream

The principal presentation in this stream picked up on one of the key points from the Interoperability panel session in a very interesting way. It showed how a formal ontology can be a practical basis for common operation of SOA repositories. Semantic interoperability is at the cutting edge of interoperability, and is more often the subject of talk than of action. The presentation included a demonstration, and it was great to see the ideas put to real use.

The presentation was given jointly by Heather Kreger, SOA Work Group Co-chair, and Vince Brunssen, Co-chair of SOA Repository Artifact Model and Protocol (S-RAMP) at OASIS. Both presenters are from IBM. S-Ramp is an emerging standard from OASIS that enables interoperability between tools and repositories for SOA. It uses the formal SOA Ontology that was developed by The Open Group, with extensions to enable a common service model as well as an interoperability protocol.

This presentation illustrated how S-RAMP and the SOA Ontology work in concert with The Open Group SOA Governance Framework to enable governance across vendors. It contained a demonstration that included defining new service models with the S-RAMP extensions in one SOA repository and communicating with another repository to augment its service model.

To conclude the session, I gave a brief presentation on SOA in the Cloud – the Next Challenge for Enterprise Architects. This discussed how the SOA architectural style is widely accepted as the style for enterprise architecture, and how Cloud Computing is a technical possibility that can be used in enterprise architecture. Architectures using Cloud computing should be service-oriented, but this poses some key questions for the architect. Architecture governance must change in the context of Cloud-based ecosystems. It may take some effort to keep to the principles of the SOA style – but it will be important to do this. And the organization of the infrastructure – which may migrate from the enterprise to the Cloud – will present an interesting challenge.

Enabling Semantic Interoperability Through Next Generation UDEF

The day was rounded off by an evening meeting, held jointly with the local chapter of the IEEE, on semantic interoperability. The meeting featured a presentation by Ron Schuldt, UDEF Project Chair, on the history, current state, and future goals of the UDEF.

The importance of semantics as a component of interoperability was clear in the morning’s panel discussion. In this evening session, Ron explained how the UDEF can enable semantic interoperability, and described the plans of the UDEF Project Team to expand the framework to meet the evolving needs of enterprises today and in the future.

This meeting was arranged through the good offices of Jayson Durham, and it was great that local IEEE members could join conference participants for an excellent session.

Cloud is a topic of discussion at The Open Group Conference, San Diego, which is currently underway.

Dr Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. Before joining The Open Group, he was a consultant, and a designer and development manager of communications software. With a PhD in mathematical logic, he welcomes the current upsurge of interest in semantic technology, and the opportunity to apply logical theory to practical use. He has presented at Open Group and other conferences on a range of topics, and contributes articles to on-line journals. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE, and the AOGEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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