TOGAF: Architecture Continuum

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Foundation Architecture

A Foundation Architecture consists of generic components, inter-relationships, principles, and guidelines that provide a foundation on which more specific architectures can be built. The TOGAF ADM is a process that would support specialization of such Foundation Architectures in order to create organization-specific models.

The TOGAF TRM describes a fundamental architecture upon which other, more specific architectures can be based. See 43. Foundation Architecture: Technical Reference Model for more details.

Common Systems Architectures

Common Systems Architectures guide the selection and integration of specific services from the Foundation Architecture to create an architecture useful for building common (i.e., highly re-usable) solutions across a wide number of relevant domains.

Examples of Common Systems Architectures include: a security architecture, a management architecture, a network architecture, an operations architecture, etc. Each is incomplete in terms of overall system functionality, but is complete in terms of a particular problem domain (security, manageability, networking, operations, etc.), so that solutions implementing the architecture constitute re-usable building blocks for the creation of functionally complete operating states of the enterprise.

Other characteristics of Common Systems Architectures include:

  • Reflects requirements specific to a generic problem domain
  • Defines building blocks specific to a generic problem domain
  • Defines business, data, application, or technology standards for implementing these building blocks
  • Provides building blocks for easy re-use and lower costs

The TOGAF Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model (III-RM) - see Part VI, 44. Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model - is a reference model that supports describing Common Systems Architecture in the Application Domain that focuses on the requirements, building blocks, and standards relating to the vision of Boundaryless Information Flow.

Industry Architectures

Industry Architectures guide the integration of common systems components with industry-specific components, and guide the creation of industry solutions for targeted customer problems within a particular industry.

A typical example of an industry-specific component is a data model representing the business functions and processes specific to a particular vertical industry, such as the Retail industry's "Active Store" architecture, or an Industry Architecture that incorporates the Energistics Data Model (refer to

Other characteristics of Industry Architectures include:

  • Reflects requirements and standards specific to a vertical industry
  • Defines building blocks specific to a generic problem domain
  • Contains industry-specific logical data and process models
  • Contains industry-specific applications and process models, as well as industry-specific business rules
  • Provides guidelines for testing collections of systems
  • Encourages levels of interoperability throughout the industry

Organization-Specific Architectures

Organization-Specific Architectures describe and guide the final deployment of solution components for a particular enterprise or extended network of connected enterprises.

There may be a variety of Organization-Specific Architectures that are needed to effectively cover the organization's requirements by defining the architectures in increasing levels of detail. Alternatively, this might result in several more detailed Organization-Specific Architectures for specific entities within the global enterprise. Breaking down Organization-Specific Architectures into constituent pieces is addressed in 40. Architecture Partitioning.

The Organization-Specific Architecture guides the final customization of the solution, and has the following characteristics:

  • Provides a means to communicate and manage business operations across all four architectural domains
  • Reflects requirements specific to a particular enterprise
  • Defines building blocks specific to a particular enterprise
  • Contains organization-specific business models, data, applications, and technologies
  • Provides a means to encourage implementation of appropriate solutions to meet business needs
  • Provides the criteria to measure and select appropriate products, solutions, and services
  • Provides an evolutionary path to support growth and new business needs