Tag Archives: standards

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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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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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.

[1] http://www.opengroup.org/standards/unix

[2] http://www.opengroup.org/testing/testsuites/unix.html

[3] http://www.opengroup.org/subjectareas/platform/unix

[4] http://www.opengroup.org/testing/testsuites/vsx4over.htm

[5] http://www.opengroup.org/testing/testsuites/vsc5over.htm

[6] http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/softwareinsilicon/index.html

[7] https://www.oracle.com/solaris/solaris11/index.html

 

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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.

 

 

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

The UNIX® Evolution: An Innovative History

By The Open Group

The history of computing would not be complete without Ken Thompson[1] and the late Dennis Ritchie[2] who were visionaries during the early days of computing. Both men couldn’t have anticipated the impact of their (and others) contribution of the UNIX system (initially dubbed as UNICS[3]) to the world starting in 1969. Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others created a collaborative programing environment [4] that would promote, what now is commonly called “open development”.  In 1975, that vision became far more collaborative with the release of version 6 of the Bell Labs’ UNIX operating system, which was the first version made widely available outside of Bell Labs, and ultimately became the University of California Berkeley BSD UNIX[5]. The UNIX operating system is “now considered one of the most inspiring and influential pieces of software ever written.” [6]

What started out as a communal programing environment or even an early word processor[7], the UNIX system turned out to be a more durable technology than Thomson and Ritchie could have imagined. It’s not only a durable operating system, but it is adaptable, reliable, flexible, portable and scalable.  Ultimately, the UNIX OS would end up being supported across multiple systems, architectures, platform vendors, etc. and also spawn a number of look-alike compatibles. Lastly, UNIX technology would be the engine that drove innovation even beyond programming and data processing to markets and technologies beyond the realm of computer science.

The academic and commercial take-up of UNIX systems would help germinate the growth of many existing and new technologies. An example of that innovation would be in bioinformatics that was critical to advances in genetic engineering including the human genome project. Investigations of the physical world, whether it’s high energy physics, modeling proteins, designing Callaway’s Big Bertha Club, or simulating car crashes to improve passenger safety was part of the overall innovation enablement of UNIX. Moreover, UNIX systems contributed to more ethereal innovation being a driving force of the growth of ARPANET (to become the World Wide Web) and being the first World Wide Web server[8]. Examples of where science and business have been touched by UNIX innovation include assisting high-energy physics laboratories create standards to improve collaboration via HEPiX[9], NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) to maximize value while reducing cost[10], and the modern UNIX standard, which has helped vendors, developers and customers maximize their investment[11]. Even touching the world of entertainment in which computer generation visual effects have become ubiquitous[12]. There are few technologies and industries in which UNIX systems did not have an impact.

The UNIX legacy of Thompson and Ritchie is far from over with numerous UNIX systems being critical to both personal computing and enterprise computing. Apple, a truly iconic company, embraces UNIX technology as the core of the Mac OS X operating system, which is certified against the Single UNIX specification[13]. Major vendors such as HPE, IBM, Inspur, and Oracle offer UNIX products, which are also certified against the Single UNIX Specification; today’s UNIX systems provide solutions to most industries including driving current innovations around cloud computing, mobility, virtualization), etc. Most customers have come to depend on the enterprise grade, highly reliable, scalable, and secure UNIX systems that drive their daily business continuity, and the innovative solutions that help them scale their businesses to the next level.

Companies like Audi AG use certified UNIX systems as a robust, flexible, and high performance platform for managing its business operations using IBM AIX running a private cloud infrastructure[14]. Another example of innovation is Best Western, the hotel chain, which uses certified UNIX systems from HPE to deliver processing-intensive services providing their customers with real-time, 24X7 responsiveness[15]. Lastly, Toshiba has used certified UNIX systems from Oracle to reduce operational and maintenance costs by 50% creating a private cloud using virtualization technologies[16].

From the humble roots of Thompson’s and Ritchie’s original UNIX system to the current branded versions of the commercial UNIX systems, this OS continues to be at the core of the modern computing world driving innovation.

By The Open Group

Highlights from the Evolution of UNIX®
(Click the infographic to download the PDF)

For more information, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/unix

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Thompson

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Ritchie

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Unix

[4] Dennis M. Ritchie, The Evolution of the Unix Time-Sharing System. 1979.

[5] https://www.albion.com/security/intro-2.html

[6] http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/the-strange-birth-and-long-life-of-unix/

[7] http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/taoup/html/ch02s01.html

[8] http://webfoundation.org/about/vision/history-of-the -web/

[9] http://cds.cern.ch/record/1732257/files/vol34-issue2-p018-e.pdf

[10] The NASA SEWP (Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement) began as a means for a NASA scientist to easily obtain his computer in 1992 and has grown to be one of the premier vehicles for the entre US Government to purchase Information Technology.  In the formative years of the SEWP program UNIX, and in particular the UNIX brand as trademarked and certified by The Open Group, was a keystone to ensuring a standardized set of solutions that met the needs of Government scientists and engineers.” – Joanne Woytek, NASA SEWP Program Manager, January 14, 2016

[11] http://www.unix.org/market_information/buscase.html

[12] http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Special-Effects-ILM-SGI-on-Top-3033788.php

[13] https://blog.opengroup.org/2015/10/02/mac-os-x-el-capitan-achieves-unix-certification/

[14] http://ibmdatamanagement.co/tag/audi

[15] http://h41361.www4.hp.com/best_western_success.pdf

[16] http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/customers/customersearch/toshiba-7-sparc-ss-2283278.html

 

 

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Filed under Enterprise Transformation, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

It’s All About the O(pen) – Open Standards and Open Source

By Dave Lounsbury, CTO, The Open Group

Recently, The Open Group received a query about whether a piece of software which was restricted to use with Open Source systems could be used on Apple’s OS X. The person had seen OS X on the Register of Certified UNIX®  Products and asked “so this means it’s open source, right?”

This confusion between open standards and open source is something you see frequently. While Apple’s OS X does conform to the UNIX Standard, it is sold as part of Apple’s product line – it is definitely not open source.

What’s the difference? An Open Standard is a specification for the interface, behavior or quality of something (an operating system in the case of UNIX®). There are various but similar definitions of what openness is, but most agree that open standards are developed through consensus processes that feature:

  • Openness
  • Balance of interest
  • Due process
  • An appeals process

Most also agree that open standards should be available at reasonable and non-discriminatory prices.

Open Source, on the other hand, refers to a software implementation that is made available using one of a variety of licenses and “with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose[1].” While many open source projects are developed through collaboration, some are not. Although typical open source initiatives encourage wide participation[2], the governance of what changes are or are not accepted is up to each individual project, particularly in smaller projects where the decision may be under control of a single individual.

So, what is the relation between these two similar sounding but fundamentally different approaches to openness? One of my mentors in the standards world told me that the best standards are like tires and highways. While there are limits on weight, size, etc., within those limits, people can build whatever kind of vehicle they best suits their needs.

Open standards and open source should have that kind of a complementary relationship. Open standards provide a stable foundation for innovation and increase buyer confidence in knowing what’s in a product, and open source allows people to get started quickly and economically, and to collaboratively create new capabilities. One or more open source implementations can also drive the widespread adoption of a standard, thus strengthening it – look at Apache and HTTP for a good example of this.

To bring this idea of alignment of open standards and open source back to the original query about UNIX and open source: are there examples of such alignment? The answer is yes: Inspur K-UX 3.0 is based on a Linux distribution, but is also certified as conformant to the UNIX standard – the same as Apple’s OS X, AIX, Solaris , HP-UX and others. There is plenty of room on the UNIX® highway – it would be great to have more open source vendors riding along.

  1. Wikipedia, “Open-source software”
  2. Open Source Initiative, “The Open Source Definition (Annotated)”

By Dave Lounsbury, CTO, The Open GroupDavid is Chief Technical Officer for The Open Group. As CTO, he ensures that the people and IT resources at The Open Group are effectively used to implement the organization’s strategy and mission, including The Open Group’s proven processes for collaboration and certification both within the organization and in support of third-party consortia.

David’s previous executive assignments at The Open Group and the Open Software Foundation (OSF) include VP Advanced Research and Innovation which fostered open systems technology through collaborative funding and development, including LDAP, ActiveX Core Technology, DCE 1.2, CDE-Next, and Complex Text Layout.

David holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is holder of three U.S. patents.

Connect with us via Twitter –  The Open Group @theopengroup and Dave @technodad

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Filed under open source, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, The Open Group, Uncategorized, UNIX

The New Generation IT Operating Model

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, President, Chief Architect, ArchiTech Group LLC

  1. Introduction

The New Generation IT Operating Model is mostly associated with the current trend of service orientation. A service-oriented IT operating model should be based on service-oriented IT architecture. More precisely, a service-oriented IT operating model should be part of service-oriented IT architecture, also as a part of enterprise architecture. We know that models are what architecture creates, which include static models for the descriptions of components, structures and relationships; and dynamic models for the descriptions of operations and processes, where the dynamic models are built and operated on top of the static models. This new generation IT operating model is part of the “new paradigm” or “paradigm shift” in modern enterprise and IT, which should be part of enterprise architecture as well.

  1. Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture

First, I’d like to clarify the concept of Architecture and the Service Oriented Architecture in this context. The original definition of Architecture by Sir Henry Watton in The Elements of Architecture stated “In architecture as in all other operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building has three conditions: Commodity, Firmness and Delight”. This definition is applicable to our context as well, where the position of architecture for IT is similar to the position of architecture for a building construction. The purpose of IT architecture is for the effective and efficient operations of IT. IT architecture should serve all its relevant audience and stakeholders, should be understandable by them via various views (commodity). The architectural products has to be solid and practicable for implementation (firmness), and it has to be well accepted and appreciated (delight) to be adopted and be effective in guiding IT operation.

The core of architecture is its vision, insight, concepts presented, and implementation guidance. It is a practical art, a result of creation, which is not a result of engineering or process in a mechanical manner, but it guides engineering process for implementation. IT is evolving to be a line of business by itself. Therefore, IT architecture is in a complex domain of people, systems, and culture; and in a constantly changing environment. It has the similar composition of enterprise architecture in this sense, with IT being one segment in an enterprise. For such architecture development, it is important to balance discipline and control with flexibility and freedom for organic growth, due to the limitation of human capability in predicting the changes and in handling complex matters.

The shared service domain is actually a sub-domain inside IT. We cannot expect all functions in IT should be shared. Similar, the Service Oriented IT Architecture is in a sub-domain of IT architecture. The necessity of making a function to be a service only when it has potential to be shared and reused by multiple service consumers. The following figures illustrate the shared service domain inside IT domain and the service oriented IT architecture inside IT architecture domain.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLC

 

Figure 1. The shared service sub-domain in IT and the service oriented IT architecture sub-domain in IT architecture

  1. IT Operating Model with Service Orientation

The “Plan/Build/Run” is a typical and simple IT operating model, which is still valid if we apply lifecycle with it, and have service orientation content being embedded into all its operating stages. The lifecycle presented in ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) can be considered as its extension from IT service management prospective. ITIL has five stages instead of three: Service Strategy (plan), Service Design (build), Service Transition, Service Operation (run), Continual Service Improvement. We are going to discuss later here on ITIL as an integral part that fit into the Plan/Build/Run model, which focus on IT service portfolio management and IT service management lifecycle. The Broker/Integrate/Orchestrate model is one of the possibilities inside the content of Plan/Build/Run model, while there are other possibilities as well. A plan is still necessary, no matter the plan is to build something new or to act as a broker, to build something in-sourcing or out-sourcing, by brokerage or by integration. Usually, there are diversified elements based on circumstances. It usually needs more than just orchestration to run it. All these could be part of the “IT Operating Model”. It is dangerous to just assemble what services/products available in market without a future vision and a plan for long-term evolution. For a business to survive in a longer term, it has to know its own needs instead of being framed by what is available in market. It needs to create its unique product/service roadmap and pipeline, and not to be controlled by others.

In order to provide effective and efficient IT support and reduce complexity and cost, IT is evolving to provide commodity services that enable the separation of business functions from common shareable IT services. To operate IT as a service, it opens a new line of business, as identified in Federal Infrastructure Optimization Initiative. The IT Operation Reference Model illustrated in Figure 2 is based on such considerations. It provides a holistic view on what involved in operating IT as a line of business. IT is becoming one business segment inside an enterprise with its own mission and goals to achieve instead of being only in a supporting role as before. This Reference Model can help to organize and consolidate organizational core capabilities and to provide a simple and cohesive view.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 2. IT Operation Reference Model

  1. IT Operation Reference Model

The IT Operation Reference Model, illustrated in Figure 2, consists of four pillars: Plan, Build, Run, and Stakeholders. It is an extension to the Plan/Build/Run model, and is constructed with considerations in service orientation, modularity, simplicity, and communicability. It operates in a lifecycle as illustrated in Figure 3. Security, as illustrated in Figure 2, is not only a technical solution, but also an integral part across the board. A security life cycle and process should be designed and associated with each stage in an IT operation lifecycle, with starting from the planning stage. Also, governance should be applied across the complete IT operation lifecycle as well.

The Service Portfolio Management is part of IT Service Management (in Run pillar of Figure 2), which is addressed in ITIL V3. ITIL provides a best practice reference for IT service management and operation, with current enhancement (in V3) in service portfolio management. Applying ITIL within an IT Operating Model enhances IT Operation with a service lifecycle management discipline. However, the specific architectures, models, service design, and ITIL adoption for each IT operation have to be based on each individual case, and an operating model should be built accordingly.

Plan: IT still needs strategy and plan to run even in service oriented IT operation paradigm, where the business model, service model, cost/funding model, implementation model, and operating model suitable for service orientation should be incorporated accordingly. In another words, the difference is in the content. The plan for new generation IT operation should be driven by business domain requirements, e.g. the external and internal drivers, so that to support business improvement goals and objectives. Architectures should be created accordingly. Also, a performance measurement model should be created to provide measurement guidance. The plan should well consider adaptability to changes in both business requirements and technology advancement, and be maintained as a live document with continuous improvement along IT operation Lifecycle.

Build: Business requirements drive technology decisions; and at the meantime, the new technologies will inspire business envisions and provide various possibilities for business being operated in a more effective and efficient way. It’s true that the IT product ownership implies slow change due to the cost associated with. The resource sharing and operated by some specialized service providers enable faster change due to cost sharing in nature. Also, the performance from such service providers can be enhanced by competition. The implementation mechanisms should be flexible enough for new services and devices to plug-in or to update. However, not everything can be handed out to others to operate. Enterprise data are likely still being managed inside enterprise for security reasons, with enterprise internal stewardship and ownership, though it can participate in shared services internally and externally. In this reference model, services and systems to be built are described in layers: business services, application and data services, infrastructure services, and physical services.

Run: This includes IT system and service management and operation during continuous performance and change. The system operation management includes the management of IT service systems, system hardware and software, as well as networks and data centers, either in-sourcing or out-sourcing. It also includes the management of applications and data that are resided and running on these systems. For IT service management, ITIL is a handy best practice reference to start with.

Stakeholders: The stakeholders should be identified across the three pillars or the three operating stages in a lifecycle. Clearly roles and responsibilities should be identified, and be aligned with the operation structure. The operation model, structure, and architecture should be defined independent of individual stakeholder, so that people changes will not affect organization structure, process, and operation. Typically, the stakeholders can include business decision makers, resource owners, service providers, service consumers, governance and regulatory bodies, industry associations and standards groups, etc.

  1. The Relationship of the IT Operation Reference Model with ITIL

As a best practice reference, ITIL provides guidance on how to manage IT operation with service lifecycle. The relationship of ITIL Lifecycle with IT Operation Reference Model is illustrated in Figure 3. The IT service management lifecycle and its associated best practice reference based on ITIL v3 is the core for running an IT operation, as illustrated in the IT Operation Reference Model in Figure 2. The different focuses of the two can be summarized as:

  • Objective: The IT Operation Reference Model intends to provide a simple and cohesive view on IT operation domain structure, components and relationships; while ITIL focuses on providing guidance and reference details for IT service management and operation.
  • Components: The IT Operation Reference Model focuses on IT functional components; while ITIL focuses on IT operational components.
  • Structure: The IT Operation Reference Model is structured into categorized and layered components in each stage of IT operation; while ITIL is structured around IT service management and operation lifecycle to provide its associated best practice references.

In Figure 3, the middle section illustrates the relationships among the four pillars in the IT Operation Reference Model. The stakeholders play the central operating roles. They should be the driving force and active players in IT operation lifecycle. The stages of ITIL service lifecycle can be linked to the stages in Plan/Build/Run IT operation lifecycle. The lifecycles of both reflect iterative processes during IT operation. A well architected service lifecycle and management processes can maximize operational efficiency and productivity, as well as reduce the costs.

 

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 3. Apply ITIL to the IT Operating Model based on the IT Operation Reference Framework

In conclusion: A Service Oriented IT Operating Model should be rooted on a Service Oriented IT Architecture, which has to be custom built for each individual IT organization based on its service requirements, responsibilities, and operating environment, though best practice reference can be helpful. Each IT operation is forming an ecosystem of its own, which needs insight, creativity, and systematic discipline to figure out the best operating model and to clear the way for its execution.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCDr. Yan Zhao, President, ArchiTech Group LLC, is an enterprise level chief architect, strategist, thought leader, and innovator; was also an executive for Fortune 500 companies and a professor. She has over 20 years work experience across academia, corporate research, software industry, and consulting service, where she demonstrated strength in insight, vision, creativity, and discipline. She is a positive thinker and a motivational leader with experience in leading R&D, capability and intellectual property development, and consulting practice. She received a Ph.D in computer science and a master in mathematics from Arizona State University, has 6 patents granted, 4 patents pending, a number of invention disclosures and publications.

yan.zhao@architechllc.com

@theopengroup

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