Tag Archives: IBM

Flexibility, Agility and Open Standards

By Jose M. Sanchez Knaack, IBM

Flexibility and agility are terms used almost interchangeably these days as attributes of IT architectures designed to cope with rapidly changing business requirements. Did you ever wonder if they are actually the same? Don’t you have the feeling that these terms remain abstract and without a concrete link to the design of an IT architecture?

This post searches to provide clear definitions for both flexibility and agility, and explain how both relate to the design of IT architectures that exploit open standards. A ‘real-life’ example will help to understand these concepts and render them relevant to the Enterprise Architect’s daily job.

First, here is some context on why flexibility and agility are increasingly important for businesses. Today, the average smart phone has more computing power than the original Apollo mission to the moon. We live in times of exponential change; the new technological revolution seems to be always around the corner and is safe to state that the trend will continue as nicely visualized in this infographic by TIME Magazine.

The average lifetime of a company in the S&P 500 has fallen by 80 percent since 1937. In other words, companies need to adapt fast to capitalize on business opportunities created by new technologies at the price of loosing their leadership position.

Thus, flexibility and agility have become ever present business goals that need to be supported by the underlying IT architecture. But, what is the precise meaning of these two terms? The online Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the following definitions:

Flexible: characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.

Agile: marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.

To understand how these terms relate to IT architecture, let us explore an example based on an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) scenario.

An ESB can be seen as the foundation for a flexible IT architecture allowing companies to integrate applications (processes) written in different programming languages and running on different platforms within and outside the corporate firewall.

ESB products are normally equipped with a set of pre-built adapters that allow integrating 70-80 percent of applications ‘out-of-the-box’, without additional programming efforts. For the remaining 20-30 percent of integration requirements, it is possible to develop custom adapters so that any application can be integrated with any other if required.

In other words, an ESB covers requirements regarding integration flexibility, that is, it can cope with changing requirements in terms of integrating additional applications via adapters, ‘out-of-the-box’ or custom built. How does this integration flexibility correlate to integration agility?

Let’s think of a scenario where the IT team has been requested to integrate an old manufacturing application with a new business partner. The integration needs to be ready within one month; otherwise the targeted business opportunity will not apply anymore.

The picture below shows the underlying IT architecture for this integration scenario.

jose diagram

Although the ESB is able to integrate the old manufacturing application, it requires an adapter to be custom developed since the application does not support any of the communication protocols covered by the pre-built adapters. To custom develop, test and deploy an adapter in a corporate environment is likely going to take longer that a month and the business opportunity will be lost because the IT architecture was not agile enough.

This is the subtle difference between flexible and agile.

Notice that if the manufacturing application had been able to communicate via open standards, the corresponding pre-built adapter would have significantly shortened the time required to integrate this application. Applications that do not support open standards still exist in corporate IT landscapes, like the above scenario illustrates. Thus, the importance of incorporating open standards when road mapping your IT architecture.

The key takeaway is that your architecture principles need to favor information technology built on open standards, and for that, you can leverage The Open Group Architecture Principle 20 on Interoperability.

Name Interoperability
Statement Software and hardware should conform to defined standards that promote interoperability for data, applications, and technology.

In summary, the accelerating pace of change requires corporate IT architectures to support the business goals of flexibility and agility. Establishing architecture principles that favor open standards as part of your architecture governance framework is one proven approach (although not the only one) to road map your IT architecture in the pursuit of resiliency.

linkedin - CopyJose M. Sanchez Knaack is Senior Manager with IBM Global Business Services in Switzerland. Mr. Sanchez Knaack professional background covers business aligned IT architecture strategy and complex system integration at global technology enabled transformation initiatives.

 

 

 

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Viewpoint: Technology Supply Chain Security – Becoming a Trust-Worthy Provider

By Andras Szakal, IBM

Increasingly, the critical systems of the planet — telecommunications, banking, energy and others — depend on and benefit from the intelligence and interconnectedness enabled by existing and emerging technologies. As evidence, one need only look to the increase in enterprise mobile applications and BYOD strategies to support corporate and government employees.

Whether these systems are trusted by the societies they serve depends in part on whether the technologies incorporated into them are fit for the purpose they are intended to serve. Fit for purpose is manifested in two essential ways: first, does the product meet essential functional requirements; and second, has the product or component been produced by trustworthy provider. Of course, the leaders or owners of these systems have to do their part to achieve security and safety (e.g., to install, use and maintain technology appropriately, and to pay attention to people and process aspects such as insider threats). Cybersecurity considerations must be addressed in a sustainable way from the get-go, by design, and across the whole ecosystem — not after the fact, or in just one sector or another, or in reaction to crisis.

In addressing the broader cybersecurity challenge, however, buyers of mission-critical technology naturally seek reassurance as to the quality and integrity of the products they procure. In our view, the fundamentals of the institutional response to that need are similar to those that have worked in prior eras and in other industries — like food.

For example:  Most of us are able to enjoy a meal of stir-fried shrimp and not give a second thought as to whether the shellfish is safe to eat.

Why is that? Because we are the beneficiaries of a system whose workings greatly increase the likelihood — in many parts of the world — that the shellfish served to end consumers is safe and uncontaminated. While tainted technology is not quite the same as tainted foods it’s a useful analogy.

Of course, a very high percentage of the seafood industry is extremely motivated to provide safe and delicious shellfish to the end consumer. So we start with the practical perspective that, much more likely than not in today’s hyper-informed and communicative world, the food supply system will provide reasonably safe and tasty products. Invisible though it may be to most of us, however, this generalized confidence rests on a worldwide system that is built on globally recognized standards and strong public-private collaboration.

This system is necessary because mistakes happen, expectations evolve and — worse — the occasional participant in the food supply chain may take a shortcut in their processing practices. Therefore, some kind of independent oversight and certification has proven useful to assure consumers that what they pay for — their desired size and quality grade and, always, safety — is what they will get. In many countries, close cooperation between industry and government results in industry-led development and implementation of food safety standards.[1]

Government’s role is limited but important. Clearly, government cannot look at and certify every piece of shellfish people buy. So its actions are focused on areas in which it can best contribute: to take action in the event of a reported issue; to help convene industry participants to create and update safety practices; to educate consumers on how to choose and prepare shellfish safely; and to recognize top performers.[2]

Is the system perfect? Of course not. But it works, and supports the most practical and affordable methods of conducting safe and global commerce.

Let’s apply this learning to another sphere: information technology. To wit:

  • We need to start with the realization that the overwhelming majority of technology suppliers are motivated to provide securely engineered products and services, and that competitive dynamics reward those who consistently perform well.
  • However, we also need to recognize that there is a gap in time between the corrective effect of the market’s Invisible Hand and the damage that can be done in any given incident. Mistakes will inevitably happen, and there are some bad actors. So some kind of oversight and governmental participation are important, to set the right incentives and expectations.
  • We need to acknowledge that third-party inspection and certification of every significant technology product at the “end of pipe” is not only impractical but also insufficient. It will not achieve trust across a wide variety of infrastructures and industries.  A much more effective approach is to gather the world’s experts and coalesce industry practices around the processes that the experts agree are best suited to produce desired end results.
  • Any proposed oversight or government involvement must not stymie innovation or endanger a provider’s intellectual capital by requiring exposure to 3rd party assessments or require overly burdensome escrow of source code.
  • Given the global and rapid manner in which technologies are invented, produced and sold, a global and agile approach to technology assurance is required to achieve scalable results.  The approach should be based on understood and transparently formulated standards that are, to the maximum extent possible, industry-led and global in their applicability.  Conformance to such standards once would then be recognized by multiple industry’s and geo-political regions.  Propagation of country or industry specific standards will result in economic fragmentation and slow the adoption of industry best practices.

The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF)[3] is a promising and complementary effort in this regard. Facilitated by The Open Group, the OTTF is working with governments and industry worldwide to create vendor-neutral open standards and best practices that can be implemented by anyone. Membership continues to grow and includes representation from manufacturers world-wide.

Governments and enterprises alike will benefit from OTTF’s work. Technology purchasers can use the Open Trusted Technology Provider (OTTP) Standard and OTTP Framework best practice recommendations to guide their strategies.  And a wide range of technology vendors can use OTTF approaches to build security and integrity into their end-to-end supply chains. The first version of the OTTPS is focused on mitigating the risk of tainted and counterfeit technology components or products. The OTTF is currently working a program that will accredit technology providers to the OTTP Standard. We expect to begin pilot testing of the program by the end of 2012.

Don’t misunderstand us: Market leaders like IBM have every incentive to engineer security and quality into our products and services. We continually encourage and support others to do the same.

But we realize that trusted technology — like food safety — can only be achieved if we collaborate with others in industry and in government.  That’s why IBM is pleased to be an active member of the Trusted Technology Forum, and looks forward to contributing to its continued success.

A version of this blog post was originally posted by the IBM Institute for Advanced Security.

Andras Szakal is the Chief Architect and a Senior Certified Software IT Architect for IBM’s Federal Software Sales business unit. His responsibilities include developing e-Government software architectures using IBM middleware and managing the IBM federal government software IT architect team. Szakal is a proponent of service oriented and web services based enterprise architectures and participates in open standards and open source product development initiatives within IBM.

 

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How the Operating System Got Graphical

By Dave Lounsbury, The Open Group

The Open Group is a strong believer in open standards and our members strive to help businesses achieve objectives through open standards. In 1995, under the auspices of The Open Group, the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) was developed and licensed for use by HP, IBM, Novell and Sunsoft to make open systems desktop computers as easy to use as PCs.

CDE is a single, standard graphical user interface for managing data, files, and applications on an operating system. Both application developers and users embraced the technology and approach because it provided a simple and common approach to accessing data and applications on network. With a click of a mouse, users could easily navigate through the operating system – similar to how we work on PCs and Macs today.

It was the first successful attempt to standardize on a desktop GUI on multiple, competing platforms. In many ways, CDE is responsible for the look, feel, and functionality of many of the popular operating systems used today, and brings distributed computing capabilities to the end user’s desktop.

The Open Group is now passing the torch to a new CDE community, led by CDE suppliers and users such as Peter Howkins and Jon Trulson.

“I am grateful that The Open Group decided to open source the CDE codebase,” said Jon Trulson. “This technology still has its fans and is very fast and lightweight compared to the prevailing UNIX desktop environments commonly in use today. I look forward to seeing it grow.”

The CDE group is also releasing OpenMotif, which is the industry standard graphical interface that standardizes application presentation on open source operating systems such as Linux. OpenMotif is also the base graphical user interface toolkit for the CDE.

The Open Group thanks these founders of the new CDE community for their dedication and contribution to carrying this technology forward. We are delighted this community is moving forward with this project and look forward to the continued growth in adoption of this important technology.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the CDE project and would like to get involved, please see http://sourceforge.net/projects/cdesktopenv.

Dave LounsburyDave Lounsbury is The Open Group‘s Chief Technology Officer, previously VP of Collaboration Services.  Dave holds three U.S. patents and is based in the U.S.

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#ogChat Summary – The Future of BYOD

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

With over 400 tweets flying back and forth, last week’s BYOD Tweet Jam (#ogChat) saw a fast-paced, lively discussion on the future of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and its implications in the enterprise. In case you missed the conversation, here’s a recap of last week’s #ogChat!

There were a total of 29 participants including:

Here is a high-level a snapshot of yesterday’s #ogChat:

Q1 What are the quantifiable benefits of BYOD? What are the major risks of #BYOD, and do these risks outweigh the benefits? #ogChat

Participants generally agreed that the main risk of BYOD is data security and benefits include cost and convenience.

  • @MobileGalen Data policy is core because that’s where the real value is in business. Affects access and intrusion/hacking of course secondarily #ogChat
  • @technodad Q1 #BYOD transcends time/space boundaries – necessary for a global business. #ogChat
  • @AWildCSO Q1 Risks: Risk to integrity and availability of corporate IT systems – malware into enterprise from employee owned devices #ogChat

Q2 What are the current security issues with #BYOD, and how should organizations go about securing those devices? #ogChat

The most prominent issue discussed was who owns the responsibility of security. Many couldn’t agree on whether responsibility fell on the user or the organization.

  • @AWildCSO Q2: Main issue is the confidentiality of data. Not a new issue, has been around a while, especially since the advent of networking. #ogChat
  • @cebess .@ MobileGalen Right — it’s about the data not the device. #ogChat
  • @AppsTechNews Q2 Not knowing who’s responsible? Recent ITIC/KnowBe4 survey: 37% say corporation responsible for #BYOD security; 39% say end user #ogChat
  • @802dotchris @MobileGalen there’s definitiely a “golden ratio” of fucntionality to security and controls @IDGTechTalk #ogChat
  • @MobileGalen #ogChat Be careful about looking for mobile mgmt tools as your fix. Most are about disablement not enablement. Start w enable, then protect.

Q3 How can an organization manage corporate data on employee owned devices, while not interfering with data owned by an employee? #ogChat

Most participants agreed that securing corporate data is a priority but were stumped when it came to maintaining personal data privacy. Some suggested that organizations will have no choice but to interfere with personal data, but all agreed that no matter what the policy, it needs to be clearly communicated to employees.

  • @802dotchris @jim_hietala in our research, we’re seeing more companies demand app-by-app wipe or other selective methods as MDM table stakes #ogChat
  • @AppsTechNews Q3 Manage the device, manage & control apps running on it, and manage data within those apps – best #BYOD solutions address all 3 #ogChat
  • @JonMoger @theopengroup #security #ogChat #BYOD is a catalyst for a bigger trend driven by cultural shift that affects HR, legal, finance, LOB.
  • @bobegan I am a big believer in people, and i think most employees feel that they own a piece of corporate policy #ogChat
  • @mobilityofficer @theopengroup Q3: Sometimes you have no choice but to interfere with private data but you must communicate that to employees #ogChat

Q4 How does #BYOD contribute to the creation or use of #BigData in the enterprise? What role does #BYOD play in #BigData strategy? #ogChat

Participants exchanged opinions on the relationship between BYOD and Big Data, leaving much room for future discussion.

  • @technodad Q4 #bigdata created by mobile, geotgged, realtime apps is gold dust for business analytics & marketing. Smart orgs will embrace it. #ogChat
  • @cebess .@ technodad Context is king. The device in the field has quite a bit of contextual info. #ogChat
  • @bobegan @cebess Right, a mobile strategy, including BYOD is really about information supply chain managment. Must include many audiences #ogChat

Q5 What best practices can orgs implement to provide #BYOD flexibility and also maintain control and governance over corporate data? #ogChat

When discussing best practices, it became clear that no matter what, organizations must educate employees and be consistent with business priorities. Furthermore, if data is precious, treat it that way.

  • @AWildCSO Q5: Establish policies and processes for the classification, ownership and custodianship of information assets. #ogChat
  • @MobileGalen #ogChat: The more precious your info, the less avail it should be, BYOD or not. Use containered apps for sensitive, local access for secret
  • @JonMoger @theopengroup #BYOD #ogChat 1. Get the right team to own 2. Educate mgmt on risks & opps 3. Set business priorities 4. Define policies

Q6 How will organizations embrace or reject #BYOD moving forward? Will they have a choice or will employees dictate use? #ogChat

While understanding the security risks, most participants embraced BYOD as a big trend that will eventually become the standard moving forward.

A big thank you to all the participants who made this such a great discussion!

Patricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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Conference Highlight: Exhibitors

By The Open Group Conference Team

The Open Group conferences bring together leading minds in technology and government to network discuss current issues and processes related to Enterprise Architecture, Cloud and security. In addition to hosting more than 65 session and world-class speakers, we also offer the opportunity for attendees to network with exhibiting companies and consulting firms. During The Open Group Conference in Washington, D.C. there will a number of innovative companies exhibiting that are well worth checking out:

Exhibitors List

Architecting the Enterprise

Architecting the Enterprise has been at the forefront of the move from IT to Enterprise Architectures, and provides training and consultancy in Enterprise Architecture methods and standards. The founder, Judith Jones, is a key member of the Open Group Architecture Forum and has been heavily involved in the current TOGAF® 9 framework.

Armstrong Process Group

Armstrong Process Group provides consulting, customized classroom training and professional development products to align information technology and systems engineering capabilities with business strategy.

BiZZdesign

BiZZdesign offers complete and integrated solutions to design and improve businesses. These integrated solutions consist of proven and easy to use tools, best practice models and methods, training and business consultancy. BiZZdesign also embraces open standards, and actively participates in The Open Group (TOGAF®, ArchiMate®), the BPM-Forum, NAF, and other organizations.

Build the Vision

Build the Vision specializes in consulting, training and mentoring to help clients achieve innovative competitive advantage by leveraging the power of information through the alignment of culture, process and technology. Build The Vision is also an accredited The Open Group Architecture Framework Version 9 (TOGAF® 9.1) Course Provider.

Conexiam

Conexiam is an enterprise transformation consulting firm that helps organizations solve their complex business problems so they can operate more effectively and efficiently.

EA Principals

EA Principals is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that services major U.S. government agencies and large corporations to accelerate and simplify the services procurement process.

IBM

IBM is a global technology and innovation company, with approximately 427,000 employees serving clients in 170 countries. Utilizing its business consulting, technology and R&D expertise, IBM helps clients become “smarter” as the planet becomes more digitally interconnected. This includes working with organizations and governments to build systems that improve traffic congestion, availability of clean water, and the health and safety of populations.

Metaplexity Associates

Metaplexity Associates helps organizations work through the process of defining and implementing their Enterprise Architectures. The company’s services are founded in a curriculum of education and training services that enable architecture personnel and other participants to climb the learning curve quickly and develop a tailored architecture framework for their organization. Metaplexity also provide consultancy and assessment services that provide specialized skills and knowledge that enable an organization to assess their current architecture and envision a target state.

QR Systems

QR Systems helps IT Organizations transform their position in the Enterprise by leveraging industry best practices and adapted them to meet the needs of its customers, partners and employees.

If you are attending the conference, please stop by the various exhibitor booths to learn more about each company’s services, and for more information The Open Group Conference in Washington, D.C., please visit: www.opengroup.org/dc2012.

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And the Winner Is… A Full List of Winners of The Open Cannes Awards

By The Open Group Conference Team

The Open Group hosted the Open Cannes Awards 2012 at the Cannes Conference last week. Much like the Festival de Cannes recognizes achievement in film, The Open Cannes Awards recognized 10 individuals and organizations that made key contributions to The Open Group over the past year. Categories included:

  • Best Newcomer – The “I Think I Cannes” Award
  • Outstanding Achievement in Acting in a Supporting Role – The “Cannes Opener” Award
  • Outstanding Achievement in Screenplay – Adapted from Original Material – The “Multiple Cannes-tributions” Award
  • Best Ensemble – The “Multiple Cannes-tributions” Award
  • Outstanding Achievement in Film – Internationals – The “Un-Cannes-y” Award
  • Best Producer – The “Grand Cannes-yon” Award
  • Outstanding Achievement in Direction – The “In-Cannes-descent” Award
  • Outstanding Achievement in Film – The “Cannes-esblanca” Award
  • Outstanding Achievement in Acting in a Leading Role – The “Cannes-ed Ham” Award
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award – The Open D’or

Each award winner received some great hardware (no, not that kind) that was presented at the Gala Dinner:

Without further ado, here is the list of award winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Acting in a Supporting Role – Ernst & Young (Peter Haviland accepting the award on behalf of  Ernst & Young)

Best Newcomer – BIZZdesign (Henry Franken accepting the award on behalf of BIZZdesign)

Outstanding Achievement in Screenplay – Adapted from Original Material – Capgemini (Mark Skilton accepting the award on behalf of Capgemini)

Best Ensemble – Cloud Computing for Business (Mark Skilton, Capgemini and TJ Virdi, The Boeing Company accepted the award on behalf of the Cloud Work Group)

Outstanding Achievement in Film – International – Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise

Best Producer – U.S. Navy for the FACE™ Consortium, a consortium of The Open Group (Dennis Taylor, NASA presenting the award to Judy Cerenzia who accepted it on behalf of the U.S. Navy)

Outstanding Achievement in Direction – Heather Kreger, IBM (Terry Blevins announcing Heather Kreger as the winner; Heather was not present)

Outstanding Achievement in Film – Oracle for the UNIX Certification of Oracle Solaris V.11 (Bob Chu, Kingdee International Software Group presenting the award to Michael Cavanaugh who accepted it on behalf of Oracle)

Outstanding Achievement in Acting in a Leading Role – Andras Szakal, IBM

The Lifetime Achievement Award – Mike Lambert, former chief technology officer of The Open Group and X/Open Company Limited (Mike is pictured with his wife, Sue, in this photo)

 We hope that you enjoyed the conference (and if you weren’t able to attend, the coverage via the blog, Facebook and Twitter). Until next time, au revoir!

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The SOA RA Provides a Way to Assess or Design your SOA

By Dr. Ali Arsanjani, IBM

The Standard in Summary

The SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA) published by The Open Group provides a prescriptive means of assessment or creation of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) solution, including the architecture for Cloud-based solutions. It does so by grouping the capabilities required of an SOA into a set of layers, each containing a set of Architectural Building Blocks (ABBs) that can serve as a checklist for an implementation of an SOA, depending on the level of maturity required by an organization. The SOA RA is intended to support organizations adopting SOA, product vendors building SOA infrastructure components, integrators engaged in the building of SOA solutions and standards bodies engaged in the specifications for SOA.

The SOA RA provides a vendor-neutral product-agnostic perspective on the logical architecture that supports the service eco-system of providers, consumers and brokers bound together by services, their interfaces and contracts.

A high level description of the SOA RA can be found above. The layers shown in figure 1 above provide a starting point for the separation of concerns required to build or assess an SOA. Each group of the separated concerns is represented by a “layer” of their own.

Starting with a robust and complete set of building blocks provided by the standard is a key enabler for the achievement of the value propositions of an SOA, such as business agility, cost-reduction, faster time to market enabled by a flexible IT infrastructure. It does so in part by providing insights, patterns and the building blocks for integrating fundamental elements of an SOA into a solution or Enterprise Architecture. 

Background

In recent years, the decoupling of interface from implementation at the programming level has been elevated to an architectural level by loosely coupling the interface of a service consumed by a service consumer from its implementation by a service provider and by decoupling the implementation from its binding. This concept is reflected in a layer in the architecture corresponding to each of these notions: i.e., a layer for services and a layer for the runtime operational systems.

This style of architecture has come to be known as SOA, where rather than the implementations of components being exposed and known, only the services provided are published and consumers are insulated from the details of the underlying implementation by a provider.

Thus, an SOA enables business and IT convergence through agreement on a (contract consisting of a) set of business-aligned IT services that collectively support an organization’s business processes and business goals. Not only does it provide flexible decoupled functionality that can be reused, but it also provides the mechanisms to externalize variations of quality of service in declarative specifications such as WS-Policy and related standards.

The SOA RA can be used as a template to be used in defining capabilities and building blocks for SOA-based solutions. This is provided by the standard as a checklist of key elements that must be considered when an SOA solution is being evaluated or architected. The SOA RA provides this through a definition of layers and architectural building blocks within those layers. The elements underlying the SOA RA is based on a meta-model defined in figure 2:

The main SOA RA abstractions, represented in figure 2 above, collectively provide a logical design of an SOA and the inter-relationships between a set of architectural building blocks residing in its layers. During Architectural Assessments or the design of a solution or Enterprise Architecture, the SOA RA provides enterprise architects with a set of architectural building blocks and their associations in each layer, the available options, and architectural and design decisions that need to be made at each layer. This allows organizations to gradually mature into the implementation of more intricate SOA designs in a gradual fashion.

In the next blog post I will describe the details behind each of the layers.

Here is a brief description of those layers as an introduction.

Brief Description of Layers

The layers that are defined in the SOA RA each provide a set of capabilities that are then realized through the use of the architectural building blocks. Note that there are five functional layers providing direct business functional value in SOA solutions. An additional four layers (Integration, Information, QoS and Governance) provide cross-cutting capabilities expected of SOA and Cloud –based solutions. A brief description of these layers is provided below:

  • Operational Systems Layer – captures the new and existing organization infrastructure and is needed to support the SOA solution at design, deploy and run time.
  • Service Component Layer – contains software components, each of which provide the implementation or “realization” for a service, or operation on a service. The layer also contains the functional and technical components that facilitate a Service Component to realize one or more services.
  • Services Layer – consists of all the services defined within the SOA. The service layer can be thought of as containing the service descriptions for business capabilities, services and IT manifestation used/created during design time as well as runtime service contracts and descriptions that used at runtime.
  • Business Process Layer – covers the process representation, composition methods and building blocks for aggregating loosely coupled services as a sequencing process aligned with business goals.
  • Consumer Layer – where consumers interact with the SOA. It enables a SOA solution to support a client-independent, channel agnostic set of functionality, which is separately consumed and rendered through one or more channels (client platforms and devices).
  • Integration Layer – enables and provides the capability to mediate, which includes transformation, routing and protocol conversion to transport service requests from the service requester to the correct service provider.
  • Quality of Service Layer – supports non functional requirement (NFR) related issues as a primary feature/concern of SOA and provides a focal point for dealing with them in any given solution.
  • Information Architecture Layer – is responsible for manifesting a unified representation of the information aspect of an organization as provided by its IT services, applications, and systems enabling business needs and processes and aligned with the business vocabulary – glossary and terms. This enables the SOA to support data consistency, and consistency in data quality.
  • Governance Layer – contains the registries, repositories, and other capabilities required to support the governance of your SOA within the SOA ecosystem and is adapted to match and support the target SOA goals of the organization.

Conclusion

The SOA RA is an excellent tool in the toolbox forEnterpriseand Application Architects.  It maps out the path for enterprise architects to assess their current SOA implementations against an industry agreed upon standard and define and customize their own internal implementations and product mappings against it.  The SOA RA provides the tools necessary to allow architects to speak in a standard, consistent vocabulary to the business line executives when designing solutions for the enterprise.  As the industry moves more towards the Cloud, the SOA RA ensures a strong foundation to pave the way towards Cloud Computing, helping businesses leverage the investments they have made in SOA services that will keep them on solid ground while moving towards the Cloud Computing Model.  Lastly, the SOA RA defines the architecture for all kinds of services based solutions, where Cloud extends and leverages services into the infrastructure in a virtualized, elastic and monitored model of pooled resources on a grander scale.

Dr. Ali Arsanjani is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for SOA, BPM & Emerging Technologies within IBM Global Services where he leads a team responsible for developing worldwide competency in SOA/ BPM and increasing delivery excellence of SOA solutions using IBM and non-IBM tools and SOA offerings. Dr. Arsanjani represents IBM in standards bodies such as The Open Group and is responsible for co-chairing the SOA Reference Architecture, SOA Maturity Model, Cloud Computing Reference Architecture standards within that body.

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San Francisco Conference Observations: Enterprise Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, SOA and a Splash of Cloud Computing

By Chris Harding, The Open Group 

This week I have been at The Open Group conference in San Francisco. The theme was Enterprise Transformation which, in simple terms means changing how your business works to take advantage of the latest developments in IT.

Evidence of these developments is all around. I took a break and went for coffee and a sandwich, to a little cafe down on Pine and Leavenworth that seemed to be run by and for the Millennium generation. True to type, my server pulled out a cellphone with a device attached through which I swiped my credit card; an app read my screen-scrawled signature and the transaction was complete.

Then dinner. We spoke to the hotel concierge, she tapped a few keys on her terminal and, hey presto, we had a window table at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf. No lengthy phone negotiations with the Maitre d’. We were just connected with the resource that we needed, quickly and efficiently.

The power of ubiquitous technology to transform the enterprise was the theme of the inspirational plenary presentation given by Andy Mulholland, Global CTO at Capgemini. Mobility, the Cloud, and big data are the three powerful technical forces that must be harnessed by the architect to move the business to smarter operation and new markets.

Jeanne Ross of the MIT Sloan School of Management shared her recipe for architecting business success, with examples drawn from several major companies. Indomitable and inimitable, she always challenges her audience to think through the issues. This time we responded with, “Don’t small companies need architecture too?” Of course they do, was the answer, but the architecture of a big corporation is very different from that of a corner cafe.

Corporations don’t come much bigger than Nissan. Celso Guiotoko, Corporate VP and CIO at the Nissan Motor Company, told us how Nissan are using enterprise architecture for business transformation. Highlights included the concept of information capitalization, the rationalization of the application portfolio through SOA and reusable services, and the delivery of technology resource through a private cloud platform.

The set of stimulating plenary presentations on the first day of the conference was completed by Lauren States, VP and CTO Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives at IBM. Everyone now expects business results from technical change, and there is huge pressure on the people involved to deliver results that meet these expectations. IT enablement is one part of the answer, but it must be matched by business process excellence and values-based culture for real productivity and growth.

My role in The Open Group is to support our work on Cloud Computing and SOA, and these activities took all my attention after the initial plenary. If you had, thought five years ago, that no technical trend could possibly generate more interest and excitement than SOA, Cloud Computing would now be proving you wrong.

But interest in SOA continues, and we had a SOA stream including presentations of forward thinking on how to use SOA to deliver agility, and on SOA governance, as well as presentations describing and explaining the use of key Open Group SOA standards and guides: the Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM), the SOA Reference Architecture, and the Guide to using TOGAF for SOA.

We then moved into the Cloud, with a presentation by Mike Walker of Microsoft on why Enterprise Architecture must lead Cloud strategy and planning. The “why” was followed by the “how”: Zapthink’s Jason Bloomberg described Representational State Transfer (REST), which many now see as a key foundational principle for Cloud architecture. But perhaps it is not the only principle; a later presentation suggested a three-tier approach with the client tier, including mobile devices, accessing RESTful information resources through a middle tier of agents that compose resources and carry out transactions (ACT).

In the evening we had a CloudCamp, hosted by The Open Group and conducted as a separate event by the CloudCamp organization. The original CloudCamp concept was of an “unconference” where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. Its founder, Dave Nielsen, is now planning to set up a demo center where those adopters can experiment with setting up private clouds. This transition from idea to experiment reflects the changing status of mainstream cloud adoption.

The public conference streams were followed by a meeting of the Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group. This is currently pursuing nine separate projects to develop standards and guidance for architects using cloud computing. The meeting in San Francisco focused on one of these – the Cloud Computing Reference Architecture. It compared submissions from five companies, also taking into account ongoing work at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with the aim of creating a base from which to create an Open Group reference architecture for Cloud Computing. This gave a productive finish to a busy week of information gathering and discussion.

Ralph Hitz of Visana, a health insurance company based in Switzerland, made an interesting comment on our reference architecture discussion. He remarked that we were not seeking to change or evolve the NIST service and deployment models. This may seem boring, but it is true, and it is right. Cloud Computing is now where the automobile was in 1920. We are pretty much agreed that it will have four wheels and be powered by gasoline. The business and economic impact is yet to come.

So now I’m on my way to the airport for the flight home. I checked in online, and my boarding pass is on my cellphone. Big companies, as well as small ones, now routinely use mobile technology, and my airline has a frequent-flyer app. It’s just a shame that they can’t manage a decent cup of coffee.

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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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Service Oriented Architecture, Standards

The Open Group San Francisco Conference: Day 1 Highlights

By The Open Group Conference Team

With the end of the first day of the conference, here are a few key takeaways from Monday’s key note sessions:

The Enterprise Architect: Architecting Business Success

Jeanne Ross, Director & Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research

Ms. Ross began the plenary discussing the impact of enterprise architecture on the whole enterprise. According to Ross “we live in a digital economy, and in order to succeed, we need to excel in enterprise architecture.” She went on to say that the current “plan, build, use” model has led to a lot of application silos. Ms. Ross also mentioned that enablement doesn’t work well; while capabilities are being built, they are grossly underutilized within most organizations.

Enterprise architects need to think about what capabilities their firms will exploit – both in the short- and long-terms. Ms. Ross went on to present case studies from Aetna, Protection 1, USAA, Pepsi America and Commonwealth of Australia. In each of these examples, architects provided the following business value:

  • Helped senior executives clarify business goals
  • Identified architectural capability that can be readily exploited
  • Presented Option and their implications for business goals
  • Built Capabilities incrementally

A well-received quote from Ms. Ross during the Q&A portion of the session was, “Someday, CIOs will report to EA – that’s the way it ought to be!”

How Enterprise Architecture is Helping Nissan IT Transformation

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and CIO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Mr. Guiotoko presented the steps that Nissan took to improve the efficiency of its information systems. The company adapted BEST – an IT mid-term plan that helped led enterprise transformation within the organization. BEST was comprised of the following components:

  • Business Alignment
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Selective Sourcing
  • Technology Simplification

Guided by BEST and led by strong Enterprise Architecture, Nissan saw the following results:

  • Reduced cost per user from 1.09 to 0.63
  • 230,000 return with 404 applications reduced
  • Improved solution deployment time
  • Significantly reduced hardware costs

Nissan recently created the next IT mid-term plan called “VITESSE,” which stands for value information, technology, simplification and service excellence. Mr. Guiotoko said that VITESSE will help the company achieve its IT and business goals as it moves toward the production of zero-emissions vehicles.

The Transformed Enterprise

Andy Mulholland, Global CTO, Capgemini

Mr. Mulholland began the presentation by discussing what parts of technology comprise today’s enterprise and asking the question, “What needs to be done to integrate these together?” Enterprise technology is changing rapidly and  the consumerization of IT only increasing. Mr. Mulholland presented a statistic from Gartner predicting that up to 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures will be managed outside of the IT department’s budget by 2015. He then referenced the PC revolution when enterprises were too slow to adapt to employees needs and adoption of technology.

There are three core technology clusters and standards that are emerging today in the form of Cloud, mobility and big data, but there are no business process standards to govern them. In order to not repeat the same mistakes of the PC revolution, organizations need to move from an inside-out model to an outside-in model – looking at the activities and problems within the enterprise then looking outward versus looking at those problems from the outside in. Outside-in, Mulholland argued, will increase productivity and lead to innovative business models, ultimately enabling your enterprise to keep up the current technology trends.

Making Business Drive IT Transformation through Enterprise Architecture

Lauren States, VP & CTO of Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives, IBM Corp.

Ms. States began her presentation by describing today’s enterprise – flat, transparent and collaborative. In order to empower this emerging type of enterprise, she argued that CEOs need to consider data a strategic initiative.

Giving the example of the CMO within the enterprise to reflect how changing technologies affect their role, she stated, “CMOS are overwhelming underprepared for the data explosion and recognize a need to invest in and integrate technology and analytics.” CIOs and architects need to use business goals and strategy to set the expectation of IT. Ms. States also said that organizations need to focus on enabling growth, productivity and cultural change – factors are all related and lead to enterprise transformation.

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The conference will continue tomorrow with overarching themes that include enterprise transformation, security and SOA. For more information about the conference, please go here: http://www3.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2012

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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Data management, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Semantic Interoperability, Standards