Category Archives: Standards

UNIX®: The “Always On” OS

By The Open Group

“High availability”, in its simplest definition, “is a characteristic of a system, which aims to ensure an agreed level of operational performance for a higher than normal period.”[1] For computer systems high availability generally focuses on the technologies that maximize system uptime by building in fault tolerance to overcome application, operating system, and hardware failures. Uptime is often measured by the “number of 9s” of availability percentage with, for example 99% (two nines), meaning a system is down for 3.65 days a year for planned and unplanned downtime. Based on the 2015-2016 ITIC Reliability Report, 99% was a common expectation in the mid-90s, but of the 71% companies surveyed, there is an expectation of 99.99% (four 9s or 52.56 minutes per year) and 25% expect 99.999% (five 9s or 5.26 minutes of downtime).[2] For mission critical environments, 99.999% is a great example of high availability operational performance expectation.

The ITIC Report enumerates numerous reasons for lack of achieving high availability (Exhibit 2 in the report) with human error being a major contributor (49%) and several others revolving aspects of the operating systems/software (security flows, bugs in OS, integration/interoperability issues, lack of documentation, lack of training, etc.).

The UNIX Standard is intended to address many of those issues impacting system reliability and uptime by providing a robust foundation including standard/apis to make it easier to build reliable and interpolatable software, common utilities/commands to make it easier to learn and administer, supported by robust documentation (1700+ manual pages), and a fair degree of quality assurance with more than 45,000 functional tests. Collectively, all of these features and technical documentation creates a great foundation within a UNIX operating system, which then can compliment the software and hardware solutions focused on improving high availability.

By The Open Group

The UNIX standard and the compliant operating systems are only one piece of the high availability story since it is part of the broader ecosystem that companies have come to rely on for their high availability solutions across the globe in key vertical industries such as telecom, banking, stock trading, Pharma/medical, infrastructure, etc. The five-9s can support multi-millions of dollars in revenue; save lives; deliver astronauts safely into space; deliver a robust foundation in global defense, and much more.

“A solid foundation is built upon standards, because standards provide assurance. Hewlett Packard Enterprise UNIX standards develop and deliver consistency. As we look at this, we talk about consistent APIs, consistent command line, and consistent integration between users and applications. A deterministic behavior is critical to high availability, because when it’s non-deterministic, things go wrong,” said Jeff Kyle, Director, Mission Critical Solutions, HPE. The UNIX standard is evolving to nurture the ecosystem and deliver what the market demands in these mission critical environments. When continuous computing for workloads is vital to the enterprise, the UNIX operating system is the best solution. The result is a proven infrastructure that accelerates business value and lowers your risk for the “always on” mission critical environments.[3]

Watch the UNIX: Journey of Innovation video to learn more about the UNIX value and importance to the market.

© The Open Group 2016

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group. HP-UX is a registered trademark of HPE.


[2] ITIC 2015 – 2016 Global Server Hardware, Server OS Reliability Report —





Filed under HPE, Jeff Kyle, operating system, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

Ensuring Successful Enterprise Architecture by Following Kotter’s Eight Stage Journey

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM Solutions and The Open Group South Africa

These industry insights look at John Kotter’s eight stages of change management, and explore his timeless blueprint for effective change leadership. These change management principles can gel with an enterprise architecture (EA) roadmap to achieve business transformation.

The company’s EA practice is viewed as the engine room that powers the move towards transformation, and not the end-goal in itself. However, Kotter’s eight stages have a huge role to play in the development of an EA practice.

Stage 1 – Establishing urgency

The journey begins with breaking new ground, jolting people out of their comfort zones, and forcing them to deal with often uncomfortable realities. Change, in general, is something people tend to resist – and one of the first tasks for change agents is to overcome the powerful forces of tradition.

This stage requires executives to arrive at a brutally honest assessment of the company as it currently stands. It means exposing issues that may hinder growth and adaption in the future. It involves assessing the market realities, confronting macro, global forces – and identifying all the possible crises, barriers, sources of resistance, as well as potential opportunities.

Most importantly, it requires leaders and change agents to start removing the sources of complacency within the company. In other words, they must refute the reasons that some use to believe change isn’t necessary, or that the cost of change will be too great.

Establishing (or reinvigorating) the company’s EA practice is vital in making a successful start on the change journey.

EA rises to the fore as the primary toolset that will enable lasting positive change. It guides the company from a state of fragmented applications, organisational structures and processes – and builds an integrated and optimised environment.

In short, EA fuses the business model imperatives and the IT portfolio.

Establishing a sense of urgency among key stakeholders (a process that is triggered by the company CEO) makes the formation of change leadership structures possible. From an architectural perspective, these are bodies like business architecture governance committees, architecture review boards, and IT steering committees.

Without adequate governance, enterprise architecture will remain a theoretical concept that will fail to deliver any transformational business benefits. This, in fact, moves the process neatly on to stage two…

Stage 2 – Creating the guiding coalition

Kotter shows that a strong, core team (the “guiding coalition”) lies at the heart of any good change strategy. From there, the message of change radiates outwards to stakeholders throughout the broader company and its extended ecosystem.

Importantly, this coalition must possess people with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Position of power… from executives, to line managers, to others with an influential stature in the enterprise, it is essential to enlist the support of decision-makers at an early stage.
  • Expertise… team members with diverse skill sets and points of view, and experience in many of the key areas of the enterprise.
  • Credibility… those involved in the coalition need to have strong reputations and the ability to sway the mindsets of others that are hesitant to buy in to the change strategy.
  • Leadership… it is essential for the team to include proven leaders who are capable of the kind of visionary, strategic thinking that the coalition will demand.

The team is pulled together by mutual trust, a shared vision for the future, and a passion to achieve these common goals. While at this stage the end-state of business transformation may not be in view, there is a shared recognition that the company needs to change the way it operates.

From an EA perspective, this guiding coalition sets the tone where EA starts to be viewed as a business entity of sorts. In a fully functioning EA practice, the company manages its ‘stock in trade’ (the corporate intellectual capital), and assembles the various components into EA products and services that address specific stakeholder requirements.

By starting to run the EA practice as if it was like a business in itself, even at these early stages, the coalition sets out on the right path – one that will eventually see the company formalising and packaging intellectual capital, and turning it into a corporate asset.

The business model will work if the various stakeholders within the company receive more value than their perceived cost of contribution. For example, HR may benefit from having a clear map of everyone’s role profile; internal audit may value the accurate view of weaknesses in the company’s internal processes. Something of a virtuous feedback loop develops.

Stage 3 – Developing a vision and strategy

In Kotter’s third stage – “developing a vision and strategy” – the guiding coalition sets to work on crafting the vision of change and transformation.

This typically runs as an iterative, sometimes even messy, process. Many different perspectives from the various stakeholders are considered, as different role-players provide a number of alternative ways to approach problems and reach goals.

As Kotter reiterates, this is a stage that encompasses both the head and the heart. It is a dynamic process that sees the value of strong teamwork rising to the fore – as the guiding coalition eventually settles on a unified approach..

A shared vision

Because of this complexity, the coalition can take weeks, even many months, to achieve a coordinated strategy for the future. Once established, a key contribution of the enterprise architecture (EA) practice is reducing the time taken to produce deliverables – such as the business capability map, for example.

Developing the vision requires the coalition spearhead a number of initial EA work-streams.

To begin with, a set of initial readiness assessments need to be conducted. These provide a clear barometer of where the organisation currently stands, in terms of the maturity and health of its existing EA practice, or its ability to easily embed a new EA framework. The assessments play a vital role in informing the vision for the future state.

Creating a library of definitions is an important early stage activity that ensures all the key stakeholders start from a common understanding of what EA, and a number of other important concepts and terminologies, really means.

Each of these needs to be considered across three dimensions: EA domains, the EA continuum and the EA architecture practice:

  • EA domains consist of business architecture, information architecture, data architecture, applications architecture, and technology architecture.
  • The EA continuum considers reference models at a group/enterprise level, an individual business or divisional level, as well as at product application and product focus level.
  • The EA architecture practice spans the areas of EA products and services, EA people, EA content (models, principles, standards, inventory, etc), as well as processes and tools.

Guiding principles are formulated across these three dimensions and serve as input to EA vision and strategy.

So, what exactly does the vision need to look like? While there is no singular approach to this, Kotter outlines a number of important characteristics inherent in any good vision that a guiding coalition composes.

He says it must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, and flexible. Finally, it must be simple to communicate (something I will look at more closely in my next Industry Insight).

A guiding coalition

As the vision starts to crystallise, the coalition segments it into different work-streams – and assigns champions to each of these. Having individuals accountable for every aspect of the vision creates a strong sense of ownership, and ensures essential aspects are never overlooked.

It is only by following this thorough approach to developing the vision that the company can address its core system challenges at a root cause level, and overcome the well-worn situation of endless ‘quick fixes’.

It must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, and flexible.

Too often, budget and time constraints force companies to address only the surface symptoms – by implementing disjointed, piecemeal improvements that fail to address the underlying issues, and serve to undermine the company’s EA practice.

These kinds of vicious cycles start circling throughout the organisation. As its structures become increasingly dependent on ad hoc quick fixes, they are continually weakened. In today’s competitive market environments, this is something that businesses can ill afford to let happen.

But, by following the vigorous approach to strategy and vision creation, the guiding coalition ultimately arrives at a strategic plan that describes how the business will transition, what the end-state will look like, and where investments, energy and focus need to be directed.

As everyone buys into the vision, change agents foster a better understanding of the ‘customer’ (internal stakeholders within the enterprise), the ‘products’ (the capabilities made possible by the EA practice), and how these products will be structured and packaged to address particular business needs.

Stage 4 – Communicating the vision

From the outset, the guiding coalition is responsible for communicating the EA vision to a nucleus group of stakeholders. As the EA practice develops momentum, the communication emanates outwards, to an increasingly broad group of stakeholders within the business.

Clearly, in this phase, timing is everything.

Over time, the EA practice evolves from its fledgling state, to greater levels of maturity. As this happens, the nature of the messages will change.

John Kotter (who advises on the eight stages of change management) says the communication needs to contain the following characteristics:

  • Simplicity (eliminating jargon and verbosity)
  • Metaphor-rich (pictures are worth a thousand words)
  • Multiple forums (leadership sessions, team meetings, newsletters, Intranets, etc)
  • Repetition (to reinforce the key messages and ensure they ‘sink in’)
  • Leadership by example (conduct from leadership that aligns with the communications and messaging)
  • Explaining apparent inconsistencies (address everything that seems counterintuitive or illogical, to avoid the communication being undermined)
  • Two-way communication (involving a feedback loop wherever possible greatly increases engagement and empowerment levels)

Put simply, the goal of this phase is to ensure the right staff are provided with the right information, at the right time – and empowered to work constructively within the new EA framework.

The advantages of formalising corporate intellectual property and establishing an EA practice need to be clearly articulated – at both an individual level and a company-wide level. If the EA vision is not clearly understood, people will very quickly disengage. They will revert to old habits and frameworks of working, and the timelines for the EA practice to start delivering business value will increase.

Too often, the coalition becomes overly enamoured with EA as a discipline – too ‘inwardly-focused’ – and forgets about the importance of communicating regularly with key stakeholders, business owners, and decision-makers across the organisation.

In fact, there is a continuum, ranging on the one end from the purist that “sits in an Ivory Tower” and becomes too academic and removed from the business, to the other end of the spectrum, with an EA practice experienced in the realities of the company, knows its challenges (eg, political, technical, legacy-related), and takes a pragmatic approach to EA.

The latter is the approach most likely to succeed in generating a sustainable and value-adding EA practice.

Over time, the EA practice evolves from its fledgling state to greater levels of maturity.

Here I use the analogy of running the EA practice like a business in itself: through delivering value to stakeholders one builds a relationship where people willingly engage with the EA practice. In this ideal scenario, positive word of mouth is created – which becomes one of the most valuable forms of internal communication.

Another very impactful form of communicating the vision is when the coalition exemplifies the behaviour it is seeking to establish in others, and ‘leads by example’. By becoming a role model, the coalition is more likely to succeed in its quest to develop new ways of working within the broader company.

Stage 5 – Empowering action

But communication alone is not enough. Ensuring the broad-based empowerment of people involves doing the following:

  • Teams need to understand the vision for business transformation and the EA value proposition that will enable it. Individuals must internalise this, consider what it means to them, and truly buy into the vision. They, in turn, will become ‘marketers’ of the company’s EA practice – articulating the vision to other stakeholders.
  • Teams need to receive quality, comprehensive training on the EA disciplines and activities as they relate to the individual’s particular function within the company. They must be empowered with the architecture content that allows them to start harvesting information.
  • From there, teams need to populate all of this existing content (such as business strategies, IT strategies, existing applications portfolios, etc) into an integrated EA repository, fully embedded in the organisation.
  • An EA methodology – such as TOGAF – is customised and tailored to the company. This means aligning the EA process with the systems development life cycle, strategic planning, corporate governance, and business process improvement, for example.
  • Any barriers, at any stage, need to be swiftly removed, so individuals are unleashed to work and to add value within the new framework.

Stage 6 – Generating short-term wins

Quick wins, even on a small scale, become the catalyst to building momentum in enterprise architecture.

By this point in the process of business transformation, the company has established and communicated the vision for change, and then begun the process of empowering the right teams to start executing on that vision.

Now, as it starts to package some of the early-phase model content, it becomes crucial for the fledgling enterprise architecture (EA) practice to generate some quick wins. Demonstrating tangible business value, even on a small scale, helps to maintain the interest of key stakeholders, and ensures the momentum doesn’t start to wane.

In fact, a virtuous cycle should begin to emerge: as the EA practice develops the operational capability to satisfy some business needs, stakeholders begin to recognise the business value. This leads to positive word-of-mouth being spread throughout the company, which in turn stimulates increased levels of demand from various quarters.

Ultimately, this demand translates into increased willingness to invest in the EA journey. With greater levels of buy-in, the EA practice’s operational capabilities continue to expand, and the cycle continues.

Stage 7 – Success breeds success

Short-term wins become the catalyst to building momentum in EA. John Kotter says these early successes are vital for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Providing evidence that sacrifices are worth it: many staff within the coalition and other areas of the business have invested great time and energy in getting to this point.
  • Reward change agents with a pat on the back: adding business value is the biggest recognition of success.
  • Help fine-tune vision and strategies: insights learned from practically applying EA can be fed back into the strategic thinking.
  • Undermine cynics and self-serving resisters: tangible EA successes start to erode the credibility of naysayers.
  • Keep bosses on board: maintaining the support of line managers, executives, and other senior stakeholders happens naturally
  • Build momentum: more and more people are drawn into the developing EA practice, as people want to associate with a ‘success story’.

It goes without saying that these short-term wins need to be built on a sustainable and professional EA practice. The foundations must be strong – so the content can be easily accessed, and re-used for further process improvement in other areas of the business.

As the demand for business transformation increases, the EA practice needs to manage expectations and delivery. The EA team cannot take on ‘too much’ in the early stages, and be seen as the team that slows things down, or hampers innovation and change.

Essentially, the value that stakeholders derive from EA needs to continually exceed their perceived cost of contribution.

As the practice reaches out into the broader company, new opportunities emerge for specialists to contribute their unique insights. To keep the right people on the team, the company also needs to attend to human capital issues, like:

  • Ensuring key EA staff members have professional development paths and the opportunities to further their formal qualifications.
  • Providing mentoring (from within the organisation, or by pulling in outside mentors).
  • Performance management processes that ensure staff are accurately rewarded for their performance.

With the right team in place, the lead architect’s focus can shift from the everyday EA operations to higher-value activities. These include continually engaging with executives from across the business – to extend the scope of the EA practice and ensure it remains relevant and value-adding.

The value that stakeholders derive from EA needs to continually exceed their perceived cost of contribution.

The lead architect and the team can concentrate on understanding the potentially disruptive “nexus of forces” (cloud, mobility, big data and social), conducting impact assessments, scenario planning, and implementing new strategies.

The architecture team is then operating on all three levels – strategic, tactical and operational; and facilitating learning across the enterprise.

In this way, the chief architect and his EA team start to position themselves as trusted advisors and business partners to the company – becoming a crucial leadership support function. Ultimately, the true measure of the EA team’s worth is the extent to which the company engages with it, and the extent to which business transformation has been realised.

Stage 8 – Making it stick

Shifting from a state of architecture execution to architecture leadership is the next step in the EA journey.

Kotter’s final stage guides an organisation on the optimum ways that change can be embedded, anchored and matured. From an Enterprise Architecture (EA) perspective, these phases relate to the ‘professionalising’ of the EA practice.

Earlier, we looked at generating tangible “early wins” in the EA practice, and how they can echo throughout the organisation, as positive word-of-mouth spreads. The next step is to build on this momentum and to establish EA across every layer of processes, people, content, and tools, and products/services.

So, what are the hallmarks of a mature-state EA practice?

  • Entrenching the ethos of “running the EA practice like a business”… The foundation of the ‘business model’ includes five process areas: managing the business, enhancing market reputation, winning better business, delivering valued solutions, and growing the EA capability. In this way, resource allocation remains tightly synced with business need.
  • Innovation… EA essentially manages intellectual capital as an asset, translating tacit individual knowledge into organisational assets, in the form of models – which fuels constant innovation. Ideas are crowd-sourced from employees and partner ecosystems, and then analysed and prioritised according to business impact.
  • Strategic planning is dynamic and living… As intellectual capital becomes formalised as a corporate asset, the company can perform strategic planning at a higher level. This enables it to respond with agility to any changes in the external environment, as well as evolving business models within the company walls.
  • Business processes and capabilities become optimised… integrated business processes are naturally (willingly) enforced across the business. Process owners and system custodians focus on the right business capabilities and continually optimise processes.
  • Investment… The organisation targets its technology investment on IT assets that support identified and measurable business objectives, all within the framework of EA.

These fundamentals represent a shift from a state of “EA execution” to what can be referred to as “architecture leadership”.

In this state of advanced EA maturity, EA should also be repositioned and de-coupled from the IT department. Ideally, EA practice leaders should be moved to the office of the CEO, reporting to a function such as transformation management.

One of the most important facets of successfully transitioning from isolated early wins to EA leadership, which is embedded throughout the company, is ensuring key people are retained. The departure of important individuals can have catastrophic consequences at this stage – meaning EA never becomes entrenched.

For this reason, successful business leaders place a high emphasis on training, mentoring and further developing the EA teams. As ambitions soar, and people develop a passion for EA, industry bodies like The Open Group provide a useful outlet for this energy.

By contributing to the industry standards that are developed by The Open Group, individuals enjoy a greater sense of purpose – a tangible feeling that they are working on ‘something bigger’. Added to this, new opportunities open up, to develop their careers and networks.

For the company, this represents something of a win-win situation. By retaining these key specialists, it ensures the EA programme does not suffer interruptions or collapses.

As the success of the EA practice continues and the solution base expands, a virtuous cycle develops momentum: more and more ‘customers’ within the company start benefiting from EA, and more and more people are willing to invest in it.

The change process speeds up and becomes smoother; the ambit of EA broadens, and starts to influence every aspect of the business – including things like strategy planning, risk management, business transformation, and even mergers and acquisitions.

The essence of EA – that of managing complexity and change – is never forgotten. This new world requires new ways of thinking to address challenges and grab opportunities. Simply put, firms that continue to perpetuate old practices, will be left in the dust.

I’ll leave you with one of the pioneers of EA, John Zachman, who succinctly describes this essential fact:

“Increasing flexibility and reducing time to market… will only happen with responsible and intellectual investment, in developing and maintaining Enterprise Architecture, to deliver quality information, to produce a quality enterprise.”

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRMStuart Macgregor is the CEO, Real IRM Solutions and  The Open Group South Africa. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.


Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF®. This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group. He participated in the COBIT 5 development workshop held in London in 2010.

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Filed under architecture, Business Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Standards, The Open Group, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

The Open Group London 2016 to Take Place April 25-28

By The Open Group

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting an event in London, April 25-28. Following on from the San Francisco event earlier this year, The Open Group London 2016 will focus on how Enterprise Architecture is enabling organizations to build better systems through architecting for digital business strategies.

The event will be held at Central Hall Westminster and key speakers include:

  • Steve Nunn,  President & CEO, The Open Group
  • Gunnar Menzel, VP, Chief Architect Officer, Capgemini Infrastructure
  • Shawn Mullen, Cloud Security Architect, IBM
  • Nemanja Kostic, Head of Application Architecture, Zurich Insurance
  • Gururaj Anjan, Enterprise Architect, Tata Consultancy Services

Full details on the range of speakers can be found here.

Monday’s keynote session, including presentations from both vendors and end-user organizations, will look at IT4IT™ and managing the business of IT. It will address how CIOs can go beyond current process-based approaches and equip their teams with the right information and tools to support new ecosystem collaborations, completely automate end-to-end workflows, and provide the business with the controls to govern IT.

The first UK/European TOGAF® User Group meeting will also take place on April 27. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with industry peers, expand their knowledge and collaborate to bring a strong user community.  The inaugural TOGAF User Group meeting in San Francisco earlier this year was very productive and engaging.

The London event will cover key themes relating to The Open Group industry forums including Healthcare, IT4IT, Open Platform 3.0™, and Risk, Dependability & Trusted Technology. Additional topics of discussion at the three-day event will include:

  • EA & Government – the increasing awareness of EA and the growing adoption of TOGAF® in India. Plenary presentations include a focus on the e-Pragati initiative of the state of Andhra Pradesh
  • ArchiMate® – New features and practical use cases
  • The Open Business Data Lake a reference architecture that demonstrates how to leverage more internal and external data, how to be more agile in creating insights for business value and how to improve the productivity of actually delivering it

Registration for The Open Group London event is open now, available to members and non-members, and can be found here.

Get event updates via Twitter – @theopengroup #ogLON

Sponsors and exhibitors include: avolution, BiZZdesign, Good e-Learning, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Troux by Planview, Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), Orbus, Van Haren Publishing, itSMF UK

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Filed under ArchiMate, ArchiMate®, architecture, Association of Enterprise Architects, digital business, EA, enterprise architecture, Healthcare, Internet of Things, Interoperability, IT4IT, OTTF, Security Architecture, Standards, Steve Nunn, The Open Group, The Open Group London 2016, TOGAF®, Uncategorized


By The Open Group

Security is at the forefront of the IT industry today. Customers are looking for secure solutions that solve their IT challenges. Permissions and privacy are just a few of the security features that are highly sought after.

The latest UNIX® standard has evolved to meet industry demands with the addition of the Authorization Role Managed On RBAC, also known as O-ARMOR, an Open Group standard. While access controls through users, group IDs, and permissions have long been a requirement of the standard, the increasing demands of enterprise customers drove adoption with UNIX software and systems vendors. The days of using chmod 777 are no longer a viable way to share files, executable, or just giving every user root permissions. Moreover, even sharing the root password with administrators is not a good security practice.

Multi-user operating systems must innovate in today’s threat landscape. An IT governance and best practice necessitates giving the right people the right access at the right time. Look at the case of Edward Snowden, who had what most would say was unfettered access to data, which later was leaked in an embarrassing and damaging way . Enter role-based access control (RBAC), which is a policy neutral access control mechanism defined around roles and privileges with components such as role-permissions, user-role and role-role relationships. With RBAC, storage administrators can now have access to data and commands to do their job. On UNIX systems, Human Resources personnel can be given access to confidential information that general users would not.

The O-ARMOR standard defines a set of administrative roles consistent with generally accepted tasks assigned to system administrators. These roles can be customized to include the appropriate applications for each compliant UNIX system. The standard also provides an application programming interface (API) through which privileged applications can grant access to authorized users and roles. The strength of O-ARMOR is that the roll-based access controls can be consistently implemented and executed on systems running the same compliant operating system and even across heterogeneous operating systems that are compliant.

Being “armored” means better access control resulting in better security simplifying management of those access controls across the data center.

If you care about security, or ease of security management, ask your system vendor if their operating systems are UNIX certified with RBAC and complies with the O-ARMOR standard.

By The Open Group

Learn more about the UNIX operating system by watching The Journey of Innovation video.


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What Hoverboards Tell Us About Compatibility and the Need for Standards

By Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group

Every holiday season, there is always one gift everyone just has to have. This past year, that honor went to the hoverboard, a self-balancing scooter reminiscent of the skateboards many of us rode as kids, but with an electric motor and only two wheels—and even harder to master!

But, just as quickly as the hoverboards were flying off the shelves in December, sales for the scooters plummeted by mid-January when questions arose regarding the safety of the electrical components that make up the scooters’ drive train system. The toys became linked to a number of fires across the U.S. and, just between December and mid-February, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported receiving complaints about more than 52 hoverboard-related fires in 24 states, resulting in not only $2M in property damage, but the destruction of two homes and an automobile. In addition, many of the major retailers that had been carrying the product-–including Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart, have currently discontinued sales of the product over the fire concerns.

The self-balancing scooter industry is clearly hurting these days. How can a product that was the darling of the moment—featured on many Instagram, Vine and YouTube accounts, that gained the attention of celebrities from Jamie Foxx to Justin Bieber—so quickly turn into a pariah?

In short—a lack of compatible standards.

Although many hoverboards actually carry the UL seal and claim to conform to safety standards set by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), an independent product testing company that sets safety standards, what has come to light since the product fires is that, while many of the individual components being used in self-balancing scooters are indeed safety compliant, they are not certified to be used together, making the entire product potentially unsafe. One radio announcer may have said it best when he likened the issue to having a car that was safety approved, and a surfboard that was safety approved, but when you put the surfboard on top of the car, it doesn’t mean the car will float.

The hoverboard controversy serves as a painful lesson for makers and manufacturers about component compatibility, and the need for standards that address not just individual product components but also the product as a whole. The sad thing is that could have been avoided had makers taken the time to test the components together, or create a standard that certifies the components can work together safely.

By contrast, The Open Group certification of products that conforms to the UNIX® standard has taken this “components working together” approach for more than 20 years. The Single UNIX Specification was created, in part, to take care of just this type of problem. In 1993, when the standard was created, there were so many UNIX APIs being used in various segments of the technology industry.  The three leading standards bodies that were creating UNIX standards decided to come together to design one standard that would be comprised of a superset of the most widely used UNIX APIs. Even then, there were a large number of APIs that made up the first version of the standard. In fact, the original standard, SPEC 1170, was named thus because it included a set of 1,170 compatible UNIX APIs.

This level of compatibility has always been a critical part of the UNIX standard. Since many vendors across the industry have created their own APIs and flavors of UNIX over the years, compatibility across those systems has been the key to interoperability for UNIX systems throughout the industry. Whenever a product is certified under the Single UNIX specification, it is guaranteed to both conform to the standard, and also be interoperable with any other certified products and any of the APIs contained under the umbrella of the single specification.

Today, there are more than 2,000 separate APIs contained in the UNIX standard—all compatible with each other. To reach this level of compatibility, The Open Group, which administers the Single UNIX Specification, performs extensive testing on any product submitted for certification under the UNIX standards. Any system that is UNIX certified has gone through more than 40,000 tests to assure their compatibility and conformance to the standard.

Among the more unique attributes of the Single UNIX Specification is that the standard also contains a three-pronged guarantee for interoperability. Not only does UNIX certification guarantee a certified product conforms to the standard, but every vendor that certifies a product to the standard also agrees that its product will continue to conform to the standard while certified.  The vendor also guarantees to fix any problems with the product’s conformance within a prescribed amount of time, should the product fall out of compliance.

This type of warranty and level of rigor within the standard further guarantee that all the components are compatible and will work together. The high level of testing around the standard has worked extremely well throughout the years. In the entire history of UNIX certification by The Open Group, there has only been one challenge to a product’s conformance to the standard—and it was a very obscure calculation that was taken very seriously, and quickly fixed by, the vendor. Because every vendor who participates in the program relies on a guarantee that every other vendor’s products all conform to the standard, the system takes care of itself.

Of course, non-compliance to the Single UNIX Specification is unlikely to lead to house fires or spontaneously combusting skateboards. But there are a great many technologies that businesses and consumers rely on everyday that work together because of the compatibility that UNIX offers. If there were bugs in those systems, our desktops, mobile phones, our Internet-enabled devices—even the Internet itself—might not work together. Without the guaranteed component compatibility offered by common standards like the Single UNIX Specification, one thing is for sure—we would all be a lot less productive.

UL has announced that they are in the process of developing a standard for hoverboards. The new certification, UL 2272, will focus on the safety of the combined electrical drive train system, battery and charger combination for self-balancing scooters. It is not yet known when the standard will be available.

By Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group

Steve Nunn is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards. He is also President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

Steve joined The Open Group in 1993, spending the majority of his time as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.   He was also CEO of the AEA from 2010 until 2015.

Steve is a lawyer by training, has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practicing certificate.  Having spent most of his life in the UK, Steve has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2007. He enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing golf, 80s music, and is a lifelong West Ham United fan.




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Filed under Association of Enterprise Architects, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, Steve Nunn, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

UNIX®: Allowing Engineers to Engineer

By Darrell May, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Oracle®

Oracle® Solaris innovation is due in part to the UNIX® standard,[1] the test suites,[2] and the certification.[3] By conforming to the standard, using the test suites[4] and driving to certification, Oracle® Solaris software engineers can rely on stable interfaces an assurance that any regressions will be found quickly given more than 50,000 test cases.[5] The old analogy was to build a good building in which you must have a strong foundation applies here. UNIX creates that foundation through stable and reliable interfaces where functional behaviors are predictable for both systems and userland development.

Developers (and users) benefit by not having to relearn command line interface semantics helps focus energy on innovation. UNIX is the “foundation” of Oracle® Solaris but also it helps Oracle® Solaris to be a foundation for other system or userland software engineering. Enterprise developers can be confident that the foundation won’t change out from under them from release to release.

An often-overlooked aspect of standards and the UNIX standard in particular is that they do not restrict the underlying implementation. This is important particularly because it allows innovation “under the hood”. As long as the semantics and behavior of a system call are preserved, you can implement any way you want. Operating systems developers can come up with better algorithms, improved performance, tie into hardware offload (see Oracle’s Software in Silicon innovation[6]) etc., to improve the efficiency of the call. Even better is that application developers get those benefits without having change the application source code to take advantage of it. As a system software developer it is a great feeling to deliver the benefit of improved features, security performance, scalability, stability, etc.,[7] while not having a negative impact on application developers using Oracle® Solaris.

By Darrell May, Senior Principle Software Engineer, OracleDarrell May is a Senior Principle Software Engineer for Oracle® Solaris with his current focus on serviceability, manageability and observability. He has a long history navigating the system stack from firmware to drivers to kernel to userspace identifying, designing and delivering solutions for the most difficult challenges. He is particularly passionate about enabling engineers to do engineering, facilitating customers’ business and driving innovation in the products that he works on.

UNIX® is a registered trademark of The Open Group.  Oracle® and Oracle® Solaris are registered trademarks of Oracle Corporation.









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Filed under Certifications, Oracle, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

Inaugural User Group Meeting Draws Out New Ways of Seeing TOGAF®

By The Open Group

The Open Group hosted the first TOGAF® User Group meeting on January 25, 2016 in San Francisco. With over 50,000 certified users in more than 120 countries, the intent of the TOGAF User Group was to better serve and reach the entire TOGAF user community, allowing them to network with other users, interact with TOGAF subject matter experts, brainstorm solutions for challenging situations and build an active user community.

According to Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group and consultant for Enterprise Wise, LLC, who facilitated the meeting, the goal for the inaugural event was to provide a venue were users could easily Share, get Enlightened and Express (SEE TOGAF) their needs as users. Blevins says those in attendance were engaged throughout the day and that users “found a useful balance between the three dimensions” of SEEing. In addition, the overall response to the event was positive, he says, with many attendees expressing a desire to hold additional events moving forward.

The User Group format consisted primarily of a full day of managed breakout sessions, each focused on trends that are affecting the use of Enterprise Architecture within organizations today. Facilitators led discussions with users on a variety of critical topics including:

  • TOGAF for Digital Transformation
  • TOGAF Business Scenarios
  • Security within TOGAF
  • The Role of People within TOGAF
  • TOGAF for eGovernment
  • TOGAF Hot Topics

During the session, TOGAF users provided significant viewpoints regarding potential enhancements that could be made to the standard throughout the day. Chief among them was the desire to have more concrete, practical use cases for TOGAF—particularly within specific industries. With many industries currently undergoing some radical shifts as they move toward greater digitalization, users are looking for increased guidance around how to use Architecture frameworks within industry verticals. Blevins states there was some expectation of this going into the User Meeting, but to have that validation directly from users was very important.

“The exciting thing was that we really thought that was going to happen—folks are asking for this and ready to use TOGAF across vertical industries,” he says.

Not only are users looking for more vertical industry examples, but they also expressed a need for additional horizontal use cases that can be used cross-functionally within organizations. Users would like to be able to use TOGAF, an Open Group standard, as a framework for making change within different departments and service parts of organizations such as HR, Finance or Operations. Current work in The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum is actually a perfect example of how the framework can be put to use across service functions, with the IT department leading the way in the form of the IT4IT Reference Architecture.

Guidance around how to do business or digital transformation was also mentioned as a potential enhancement. Blevins believes that with all the requests for templates, case studies and practical examples, there is an opportunity for developing a substantial series of “How to” articles and white papers that can be used in conjunction with TOGAF to provide users greater direction for specific use cases and examples.

“A lot of people really want to use TOGAF,” says Blevins. “They just need some help in applying it.”

Users also expressed a need for assistance in how to get buy-in for TOGAF and architecture from C-level executives within their organizations. This has long been a problem within the Architecture community and architects continue to struggle with how to better sell and market both themselves and what they can do.

Blevins says one suggestion that was made during the User Meeting was that Enterprise Architects stop trying to sell Architecture and instead focus on selling the outcomes or solutions they provide. It was suggested that perhaps architects spend too much time trying to sell their methods and frameworks and the “how” behind their work rather than just talking about solving the problem and how architecture will improve the business. Ultimately, the focus should be on that, not on how to apply Enterprise Architecture, he says.

Users in attendance were also struggling with how to integrate their Architecture efforts with Agile development trends and the need to bring increased innovation and speed to their projects. The need to develop more service- and customer-oriented delivery models to help transform businesses was also mentioned, as well as the need to include more guidance around Risk Management and Security within TOGAF.

The User Group meeting was very productive and provided excellent input on the standard. All feedback from the User Group is being delivered to The Open Group Architecture Forum for consideration in helping to enhance the standard and to provide feedback for TOGAF and trainers, as well to continue developing content that supports the standard and best practices for its use.

Please join us in London on April 27, 2016 for our upcoming TOGAF User Group meeting. The entire agenda for The Open Group London 2016 can be found here.




Filed under Digital Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, IT4IT, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group London 2016, TOGAF®, Uncategorized