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Cloud Computing

Is it possible to move enterprise architecture to the cloud?

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A question that arose from last week's forum, How would you like to see the cloud improved? where Lori Mac Vittie stated, "Cloud computing needs to mature a bit more with respect to its ability to replicate enterprise architecture." So is it possible to move enterprise architecture to the cloud, and if so, how?

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  • It is possible to move the Enterprise to the Cloud(s). It may be called the Cloud Enterprise then (see http://www.bptrends.com/publicationfiles/TWO_04-09-ART-The_Cloud_Enterprise-Grigoriu_v1-final.pdf).
    Enterprise architecture is only the blueprint of it no matter where it resides.
    But a good SOA (rather than EA) design of the services to be moved to the Cloud, and a proper specification of the Cloud service to fulfill most customers' common requirements would definetely.

  • Errr!

    The Cloud is a physical and EA is , well, Architecure.

    You can't move Architecture to the cloud!?

    You could move a representation of the EA to the cloud but I don't think thats what you meant.

  • Cloud is an enabling technology, so you can surely move your EA deliverables and artifact outputs from your EA modeling tools to a Cloud, such as your Domain, UML, Process, and Canonical models, etc, etc. Many organizations already do something similar with Sharepoint for collaboration and content sharing.

    Also, EA needs to account for the Cloud-based applications, data, and portions of the business processes, but since most organizations are in a "hybrid Cloud" model, its not a necessarily a move, but we need to ensure we plan, architect, and solution for the aspects of the organization that are moving systems to the Cloud.

    One day, when everything is in the Cloud, yes, but that is many years away.

  • These type of questions are quite confusing for technical people yet alone those who are more business focused. Why? Because it merges an architecture, a concept of how things "talk" / "fit together" with how something is actually implemented...

    EA can be anything you chose it to be, so if you want to leverage SOA you can as part of a good EA. Likewise if you want to leverage the cloud, you can. The difference is to implement your EA in the cloud, you will need to implement it in a SOA fashion.

    The cloud will become a bigger part of IT for many businesses, so EA and enterprise wide solutions will start to work more in the cloud, embracing SOA, but also Apps that reside on the device, enabling greater inter app communication, integration and custimisation...

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    It is possible to move the Enterprise into the Cloud, not an architecture. However, if one has a cloud in the head, noting is impossible!

  • I'm sure I've probably already quoted Dr. Strangelove in this forum, but I'll do it again regardless - "It is not only possible, it is essential."

    Lori's original point was dead on...the cloud will never be adopted in the enterprise if there are no architectural patterns to apply or reuse in the enterprise. The fact that we are still defining this stuff as we go means that there is no pervasive cloud "architecture" in the true sense of the term, because there are still many moving pieces and many design patterns that have yet to mature to the point of being ready for enterprise adoption.

    To that point, however, we are seeing emergent patterns (or antipatterns, if you will) that will have to be taken into account as the cloud becomes an essential component of enterprise architecture:

    * Consumerization of IT - the days of IT controlling enterprise architecture down to the desktop are behind us, so enterprise systems need to be designed to support whatever browsers, operating systems, etc. system users choose to adopt, and the architecture has to take on a "principle of least knowledge" design pattern because it is impossible to account for the permutations of endpoint configurations. There is nothing more frustrating than designing a cloud based system only to fail QA or UAT because it was not designed for a specific, archaic browser like Internet Exploder 7.

    * Proliferation of mobile - while this may be inextricably linked with the consumerization of IT, I believe that the incorporation of mobile into enterprise architecture represents a cross-cutting concern rather than a separate layer. I myself approached mobile as simply another access point, but I have learned that the mobile experience transcends the network and platform implications and embodies its own architectural patterns that apply first and foremost to enabling the UX with capabilities that are made possible by the mobile architecture (location services, portability, etc), with the more traditional architectural aspects essentially being relegated to what equate to commodity services (seamless network access / switching, security, etc).

    * Everything-as-a-service - this is what most everyone refers to as "cloud architecture," and it is, of course, in direct contrast to the monolithic constructs that we had grown accustomed to in the enterprise space. This represents the greatest challenge to incorporating emerging cloud design patterns with established enterprise architecture standards, because it is so radically divergent - what we are seeing is the true manifestation of Service Oriented Architecture. SOA never found its place in traditional enterprise architecture because it represented a fundamental dichotomy, and vendors and IT organizations responded by boxing SOA up and trying to cram it into traditional stacks. Now the cloud has exploded the concept of "stacks," and what we're all trying to figure out is how to assemble the thousands, if not millions, of tiny pieces that are now distributed throughout the public Internet.

    In the end, none of us have the answers, but I think everyone on this thread gets where we're heading - enterprise architecture will evolve to incorporate elements of the cloud, but as for whether enterprise architecture "moves" to the cloud...I think it will be the cloud that moves to the enterprise, and we will see a gradual shift towards service-oriented / "cloud" architecture patterns as legacy patterns begin to face attrition and compelling patterns emerge and solidify as true creators of enterprise value.

  • Moving Enterprise Architecture to the Cloud is a meaningless question because Architecture is abstract (a model) and Cloud is physical. probably, Lori Mac Vittie referred to the Hardwawe and Software components represented in the Architecture.
    So is it possible to move Services and Infrastructure represented in enterprise architecture to the cloud, and if so, how?
    It is possible for SMBs and for Long Term for larger enterprises which are not regulated without strict Security requirements. Most of large enterprises will deploy a mixed model: mainly core applications in house and other applications in external Cloud.
    For more details read:
    Future applications: SaaS or traditional? http://avirosenthal.blogspot.com/2009/10/future-applications-saas-or-traditional.html

    ERP Past and Future
    Cloud Computing and the Security Paradox

  • The idea of "replicating an enterprise architecture" in the cloud is inconsistent with a full understanding of enterprise architecture (EA). Could one replicate - or more accurately - implement components of their enterprise architecture int he cloud?Absolutely.

    But an EA is not about the technology. Its the structure/elements/atoms of an enterprise. IT technology - specifically the TOGAFian components of the App and Tech architecture - are implementation details. The Business and Data architectures transcend any particular technology. When Sears started a century or so ago, their "persistent data store" was probably a journal book with a fountain pen. They still had business processes but they were implemented with people.

    So I have no problem "implementing" some of the technology components of an EA in the cloud. Its just an evolution of the technology (that started with paper).

    ps: hope I wasn't obsessing over the word "replicate" too much. Hopefully, my point came across.


  • I think the key is the ability to run application work loads where it is best to run them from a security or cost point of view to name a couple of factors. Whether this is appropriate for a public or private cloud will depend on the nature of the application work load. You may not want to have sensitive personal data in the public cloud but there may be other data that could sit there.

    Adopting a standards based approach to communicate between systems can help to provide this sort of flexibility with workloads. For example, if services are being offered using a Web Service, the consumer of this web service doesn't care where the service is hosted so it can be moved to a different platform or to the cloud as appropriate. Implementing integration in this way can provide a simply way to move an application to the Cloud or any other platform where it is beneficial to run the application work load.

  • As many posters point out the idea of replicating an enterprise architecture in the cloud doesn't really make sense. Nonetheless, I'll approach the question from a slightly different angle. In thinking about an approach to how to architect my enterprise solutions, it is true that a cloud-based approach makes many things easier -- but it also severely constrains some of the tools available to me due to the lack of standards and the proprietary nature of many cloud-based solutions. Consider reporting as an example. If I architect my enterprise application needs to be on premise, almost every application that makes up my enterprise suite sits on top of a relational database, and I have almost unlimited options available to me for the tools I use to achieve my reporting needs. In the cloud, I am generally constrained to the reporting solutions made available or built into the cloud-based apps.

    One approach to solving this problem in the near term is to replicate my cloud data down to a local database, which allows me to use my standard tried and tested tools. As cloud-based solutions evolve and standards coalesce, I expect this to become less of an issue going forward...but we've got a long way to go.

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    At its core EA serves as a blue print. But some of the architectural standards/decisions for example for the Infrastructure Architecture model (composed as part of Technical Architecture) in EA can be guided by the tenants of Cloud. No doubts about that.

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    >> "So is it possible to move enterprise architecture to the cloud, and if so, how?"

    IMHO, and as others have already hinted at or alluded to, it's inappropriate to think about "moving enterprise architecture to the Cloud".

    A more appropriate question would be: "Is it possible to move Enterprise Applications to the Cloud" (which I believe it what organizations really want to do) to which the only realistic and correct answer would be "Maybe", or "Sometimes".

    In most cases, at least some "application modernization" would likely have to take place to prepare an existing Enterprise Application for the Cloud -- but there are going to be many legacy applications that simply will not be viable candidates for modernization and have to spend the rest of their life on the ground.


  • While moving enterprise architecture, it is always good to choose private cloud for better safety and security of the data.


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