New Sources for Enterprise Architecture Frameworks Emerge

Today´s content forms the third of six parts of the series called “Who is still interested in Enterprise Architecture in 2021?”. In this series, I provide my view on the footprint of today´s Enterprise Architecture, the potential death of the role of an Enterprise Architect, the big players, such as TOGAF from The Open Group, AWS, or Azure, as well as the role of EA tool providers and other related certificates and developments on the market.

In today´s part three, I take a broader look at organizations, frameworks, and models that are relevant for Enterprise Architecture. Specifically, we consider the cloud area, and conclude that a significant part of today´s EA best practices are developed by cloud organizations and providers. 

Regardless of whether you are reading this article or whether you are listening to the podcast version, make sure to also check out the other parts of the series as soon as they are available!

Who is still interested in Enterprise Architecture in 2021?
– Part 3 of 6

There are two different types of organizations that are relevant for Enterprise Architecture.

  1. Some organizations, such as The Open Group and Bizzdesign have a full focus on that topic.
  2. In addition, there are new market players that also develop Enterprise Architecture frameworks, but do not purely focus on this topic.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an Important Player

An example for the second category is the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It´s founding companies include Google, Docker, Red Hat, Twitter, and IBM. It has the objective to be a vendor-neutral home for many of the fastest-growing open-source projects, fostering collaboration between developers, end users, and vendors. Hence, their main goal is to provide a platform for open-source projects to collaborate and develop further. As part of this, however, they also continuously develop a suitable ecosystem.

Nowadays, CNCF also offers trainings and certifications for tools and technologies that help to manage whole landscapes of cloud native applications (e.g., microservices) easily and effectively (e.g., Service Mesh, Kubernetes). While there is no doubt that such solutions are a suitable expansion of their portfolio, they are located at the core of what Enterprise Architecture is about.

Hyperscalers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP are also Developing Best Practices

Like CNCF, the large cloud providers developed best practices that are becoming industry standards for how to manage cloud architectures. For instance, AWS first provided the AWS Well-Architected Framework in 2018, which includes five pillars as well as a set of design principles for designing and architecting cloud environments. End of 2020, MS Azure also released their version of a Well-Architected Framework. Both frameworks build on the same five pillars. This makes them very likely to become standard across the whole industry. Although those pillars mainly focus on IT Architecture, they also impact Enterprise Architecture activities.

Besides the Well-Architected Framework, the beforementioned cloud providers also offer a large set of reference architectures. They are similar, but more modern, compared to the boundaryless information flow or the integrated information infrastructure reference model from the TOGAF standard.

Finally, the MS Azure cloud adoption framework or similar models are likely to replace the Architecture Development Method from TOGAF. As cloud is continuously becoming more important and both frameworks follow a similar concept, I believe that this development will continue.

What is your opinion on the role of cloud organizations and providers for the development of Enterprise Architecture best practices? Do you agree or disagree with my reasoning? I am looking forward to your comments in the comments section below!

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