Group Releases New Standards for Enterprise Architecture


This week, there were two standard announcements, one involving enterprise architecture and the other Web services.


First, The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) updated The Open Group Launches TOGAF 9. TOGAF is a vendor- and technology-neutral standard for enterprise architecture. (For a look at how enterprise architecture ties into integration, check out my2007 interview with TOGAF's vice president and COO, Steve Nunn.) The last version, TOGAF 8, was released eight years ago, so this isn't something that happens very often, and, therefore, the release generated quite a bit of trade blog fodder this week.


Beth Gold-Bernstein of eBizQ wrote an excellent explanation of how and why the Open Group revamped the standard. She explains the design goals "were greater usability, closer alignment with the business, and more guidance on SOA," and then she explains how the revised standard tries to achieve these goals. Those involved with Zachman or ITIL will be particularly pleased to know that TOGAF 9 includes "hooks" to these frameworks, which Gold-Bernstein notes could help with some SOA implementations:

"This means that organizations looking to get a leg up on their SOA implementation by purchasing, for example, one of IBM's industry solutions, will then have a way to incorporate the framework into TOGAF and bring it under a consistent life-cycle management methodology. This will help organizations develop architectural competency and consistency -- both essential to long-term architectural agility and ROI."


The updated framework "includes a content meta-model that formalizes the definition of an enterprise architecture and sets links between business and IT objects," according to InfoWorld. I think most companies can agree either would be an appreciated edition to the IT toolbox. And as for integration, TOGAf in itself is dedicated to interoperability, but InfoWorld reports the new standard includes more guidelines on the "development of integrated hierarchies of architectures within organizations with design governance models."


You might also want to check out what Nick Malik, an enterprise architect at Microsoft, wrote about the standards. Malik doesn't throw punches on anything, and in his detailed assessment, he offers a list of possible improvements. But -- and this is the key point -- ultimately, he approves of the standard:


"...for the first time, I'm willing to say this: The TOGAF is enterprise-ready. If your organization does not have a framework, or if you are using Zachman with some home-grown methods, I recommend that you seriously consider TOGAF 9 for adoption."


For a take on how it relates to SOA, check out SOA consultant David Linthicum's post.


InfoWorld reports more than 60 percent of Fortune 50 and 80 percent of global Forbes 50 companies use TOGAF. Even if you're not a global organizaiton, for a mere $39.95, you can buy a copy of the standards to see whether they would be useful for your organization.


The second standards announcement this week came from OASIS, which adopted nine new Web services specifications falling into three families - the WS Reliable Exchange, the WS Transactions, and the WS Secure Exchange.


eWEEK focused on how the new standards will affect SOA. Laurent Liscia, executive director of OASIS, is quoted saying the new OASIS standards can be tailored to meet specific SOA requirements. Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz & Associates, explained the standards' signficance to eWeek this way:


"Working together, these standards provide a level of consistency across multiple services that is critical as customers move core business processes to SOA. WS-RX, WS-TX and WS-SX standards offer developers a sophisticated switchboard of services to support the complex interactions required by today's enterprise."