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The Open Group upgrades enterprise architecture

The Open Group upgrades enterprise architecture

The Open Group, a technology consortium focused on interoperability and "boundary-less information flow," on Monday is launching version 9 of TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework), which provides a framework and method for enterprise architecture available to any organization.

Version 9, which follows the introduction of TOGAF 8 by six years, adds detail and clarity beyond previous versions of the specification, The Open Group said. More than 60 percent of Fortune 50 and 80 percent of global Forbes 50 companies use TOGAF to reduce time, costs, and risks associated with developing enterprise architecture and improve business agility, according to The Open Group.

Featured in version 9 is a more modular structure to boost usability, encourage incremental adoption, and support evolutionary release management, The Open Group said. Version 9 includes materials to show how the TOGAF Architecture Development Method can be applied to such situations as SOA and security architecture.

A new architecture content framework in TOGAF 9 includes a content meta-model that formalizes the definition of an enterprise architecture and sets links between business and IT objects. Guidance is provided on structuring architecture repositories that hold architecture artifacts.

Also featured is an extended set of concepts and guidelines to enable development of integrated hierarchies of architectures within organizations with design governance models.

TOGAF is generic rather than industry-specific, said Paul van der Merwe, a consulting manager at Real RIM and a trainer for The Open Group South African franchise. "You can implement any type of architecture with it," such as a SOA solution or security architecture, he said.

The specification is a customer initiative rooted in best practices and is complementary to other enterprise frameworks. It was originally based on the TAFIM (Technical Architecture for Information Management) from the U.S. Department of Defense.

"This is very much built by end user organizations for their own benefit," said Allen Brown, CEO for The Open Group.

(SOA recently had an obituary of sorts written for it by analyst Anne Thomas Manes.)

TOGAF differs from architectures such as Zachman, said Tony Baer, senior analyst at of Ovum. "It's a lot more process-driven," he said. Version 9 "gives you a way to essentially codify architectural patterns," Baer added.

Enterprise architectures enable users to choose technologies in a consistent fashion, Baer said. But their usage tends to be limited to Global 200-size companies, Baer said. "Those organizations will have deep enough IT budgets where it can be justified that [they] need an essential enterprise architectural activity," said Baer.

It has been suggested that SOA will become another architectural pattern that is part of enterprise architecture, Baer said. SOA governance should be coordinated with enterprise architecture, he added.

To date, more than 90,000 copies of the TOGAF framework have been downloaded from The Open Group Web site. More than 20,000 hard copies of the TOGAF series have been sold, according to The Open Group.

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