Much of the practice of enterprise architecture (EA) can be categorized into these three topics:
- Governance – Roles, Responsibilities, Processes, Tools, Standards, Metrics, Portfolio, Projects.
- Framework – Architecture Development Method; Business, Application, Information, Infrastructure & Security Architecture.
- Strategy – Reference Models, Landscapes, Current Architecture, and Architecture Strategy.
In the traditional IT shop, these topics of EA define the current organized IT environment, along with the future vision of what IT will transform to, in response to the business demands of IT (whatever they happen to be). In the traditional IT shop, these topics tend to be well defined to support the steady-state operations and the structured development of IT systems. EA Governance is continually referenced (but relatively static), EA framework changes slightly, EA strategy evolves with the business.
Deploying cloud systems with this relatively steady-state architecture practice of the traditional IT shop may be difficult, if not impossible. Consider these impacts:
- Cloud EA Governance – By definition, the cloud services must be standardized. Traditional IT services only recommend moving toward standardized services, but cloud services demand it. Customizing instances of deployment in the cloud is limited or prohibited, depending on the service. Roles and responsibilities for EA are geared toward service management, capacity, availability or finance while operations and deployment roles are minimized.
- Cloud EA Framework – The hundreds or thousands of applications, data models, infrastructure options, and security permutations of the traditional data center are reduced to that lean set of selections offered in the cloud service catalogue. The leaner EA practice is focused on new cloud service development rather than policing the consolidation and inefficiencies of manual operations and bloated IT portfolios.
- Cloud EA Strategy – This changes substantially. IT Strategy will develop the business case for private, public or hybrid cloud deployments, and the EA Strategy must transform to accommodate the new models. EA transformations will tend to be more radical to transform to the cloud services, then less so as EA evolves to support the steady-state operations of the cloud services. Initiatives such as Service Oriented Architecture become a mandate instead of a best practice recommendation. Reducing the cost for each specific service becomes a key driver, rather than the common, ubiquitous and vague goal of total IT cost and overhead reduction.
I don’t want to leave the impression that IT has a single choice of traditional IT services vs. cloud services, since hybrid computing models will incorporate both. To that point, EA needs to accommodate the hybrid models as well, and supporting both indeed adds complexity to the EA practice.
Creating the cloud environment for success is one benefit of an enterprise architecture based strategy. It is tied to business architecture, application architecture, information architecture, and security and infrastructure architecture through governance, requirements and vision. HP Strategic IT Advisory Services (SITAS) is prepared to assist you with enterprise architecture planning and design as well as appropriate cloud services.