Archive for March, 2011

muSOAing for 3/24/11 – The Vertically Integrated Architect II

March 24, 2011

So what are the other qualities. Being able to provide thought leadership and the willingness to evangelize and put forth your thoughts and ideas in various fora such as personal blogs, articles, whitepapers and even downloadable code artifacts. All these make for a well rounded architect aka a Vertically integrated one.

An Architect should be able to see the big picture, the so called 1000 foot view, as well as be able to roll up his/her sleeves and be able to build reusable artifacts. If you do not code then you are not the master of your own domain and you cannot be a true Architect.

Being able to take a problem however nebulous and be able to turn that into a solution, that is the ultimate challenge, being able to bring true value and be able to solve real world problems and at the same time be able to address all the key business drivers such as ROI, value proposition etc. In a sense, I would not be wrong if I said that the end here truly drive the means. The end goal is a well architected system and the means is to bring to bear your full complete set of Architectural firepower.

muSOAing for 3/16/11 – The Vertically Integrated Architect I

March 16, 2011

There are a few yardsticks by which a truly Vertically Integragted Architect should be measured. First and foremost is the passion you have for Architecture and how it manifests. The technology landscape is so fluid and has undergone such radical changes that it looks vastly different from what it was from even last year. Anyone who says that I only focus on this or that field is so 2010. Thinking out of the box and being able to adopt the changes and apply them to solve key business problems is one key element.

In order to do that, one has to do a variety of tasks including copious reading, tinkering in the form of downloading products and toolsets and being able to configure them and build artifacts. Being hands on is the key, anyone who says he does not code and is not willing to cannot be an Architect. This is one of the most basic requirement but there are other manifestations in addition to these key ones.

muSOAing for 3/3/11 – The Vertically Integrated Architect?

March 3, 2011

I am posed with this question frequently, do you consider yourself an Architect or an Enterprise Architect? Or what qualities are expected of a person in this role. I always assume that the questioners are either trying to measure you against their own pre-established yardsticks or they are sincerely seeking an answer to clear out their own confusions.

There are of course the stock answers to such questions. An Architect must see the broader picture, the 1000 ft view. Should be solutions oriented, view the landscape holistically etc. But of late, I have begun to pose this question to myself. Looking at the current landscape where everything is a constant moving target, the grass can tend to grow under your feet even if you rest for that brief moment. So after some intense evaluations, I have come up with this axiom. An effective SOA or Enterprise Architect is one who is the most Vertically Integrated.

Now what does that mean. To answer this, let me take an example. Let us say, of the myriad questions that can be posed to you in a meeting with “C” level execs and fellow Architects, this one is thrown at you. We have been accumulating a mountain of data and are having problems storing and analyzing it. The current architecture just does not cut it and we need something radically different.

Of course, an answer cannot be arrived at in that room, you can only come up with some rough suggestions but let us say you move on to the next steps such as Discovery, findings, roadmap etc. Now it is time for the rubber to meet the road and you have settled on BigData oriented solution. So you plod on with the other steps, POC, Demo and finally implementation. So far you have played the role of Architect to a “T” but the question is, how did you go about doing it. Apart from the role you played, what did you exactly do besides interacting and having face time with all the stakeholders.

muSOAing for 3/2/11 – Are you Vertically Integrated?

March 2, 2011

And you thought this term was long passé well think again. While Ford Motor Co was the epitome of VI, it even owned the rubber plantations that made the tires, manufacturers were only too glad to bury this concept after outsourcing to cheap offshore destinations became all the rage and the term rust belt entered our lexicon.

Fast forward a few decades and VI has be re-habilitated and resurrected by the High-tech industry. Apple Inc has taken the mantle from Ford and believe in controlling all aspects of every product they bring out. One may argue that this is not true VI since the factories that the products are made in are located elsewhere in China but if you think about it, the factories are purpose built for building Apple products and wouldn’t exist otherwise. Oracle is another example with it’s exadata data warehousing appliance. With the acquisition of Sun, it controls all aspects of that product offering.

The reason I started this thread is not to talk about traditional VI but how this applies to you personally and specifically as an Architect or an Enterprise Architect. I feel that, to be an effective Architect you have to be a Vertically Integrated person. What do I exactly mean by that. Watch this space for updates on this.