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  • Software Architecture and Software Architecture Evaluation

    How many of us have worked at places where the concept of software architecture was ridiculed for wasting time and money? Even more ridiculous to them was the concept of evaluating software architecture. I think the next time that I am in this situation again, and I hope that I never am I will have to push for this methodology in the software development life cycle. I have spent way too many hours/days/months/years working poorly architected systems or systems that were just built ADHOC. This in software development must stop. I can understand why systems get like this due to overzealous sales staff, demanding management that wants everything yesterday, and project managers asking if things are done yet before the project has even started. But seriously, some time must be spent designing the applications that we write along with evaluating the architecture so that it will integrate will within the existing systems of an origination. If placed in this situation again, I will strive to gain buying from key players within the business, for example: Senior Software Engineers\Developers, Software Architects, Project Managers, Software Quality Assurance, Technical Services, Operations, and Finance in order for this idea to succeed with upper management. In order to convince these key players I will have to show them the benefits of architecture and even more benefits of evaluating software architecture on a system wide level. Benefits of Software Architecture Evaluation Places Stakeholders in the Same Room to Communicate Ensures Delivery of Detailed Quality Goals Prioritizes Conflicting Goals Requires Clear Explication Improves the Quality of Documentation Discovers Opportunities for Cross-Project Reuse Improves Architecture Practices Once I had key player buy in then and only then would I approach upper management about my plan regarding implementing the concept of software architecture and using evaluation to ensure that the software being designed is the proper architecture for the project. In addition to the benefits listed above I would also show upper management how much time is being wasted by not doing these evaluations. For example, if project X cost us Y amount, then why do we have several implementations in various forms of X and how much money and time could we have saved if we just reused the existing code base to give each system the same functionality that was already created? After this, I would mention what would happen if we had 50 instances of this situation? Then I would show them how the software architecture evaluation process would have prevented this and that the optimization could have leveraged its existing code base to increase the speed and quality of its development. References:Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (2011). Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method from http://www.sei.cmu.edu/architecture/tools/evaluate/atam.cfm

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  • Advantages of Client/Server Architecture over Mainframe Architecture

    Originally mainframe architectures relied on a centralized host server that processed data and returned it to be displayed on a dummy terminal. These dummy terminals did not have my processing power and could only display data that was sent from the mainframe. Application architecture completely changed with the advent of N-Tier architecture. The N-Tier architecture replaced the dummy terminals with standard PCs that could think and/or process for themselves. This allowed for applications to be decentralized. Further, this type of architecture also breaks up the roles found within a mainframe by extracting Web Interfaces, Application Logic and Data access in to 3 separate parts so that it can be extended and distributed as the demands of an application increases.

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  • The Application Architecture Domain

    - by Michael Glas
    I have been spending a lot of time thinking about Application Architecture in the context of EA. More specifically, as an Enterprise Architect, what do I need to consider when looking at/defining/designing the Application Architecture Domain?There are several definitions of Application Architecture. TOGAF says “The objective here [in Application Architecture] is to define the major kinds of application system necessary to process the data and support the business”. FEA says the Application Architecture “Defines the applications needed to manage the data and support the business functions”.I agree with these definitions. They reflect what the Application Architecture domain does. However, they need to be decomposed to be practical.I find it useful to define a set of views into the Application Architecture domain. These views reflect what an EA needs to consider when working with/in the Applications Architecture domain. These viewpoints are, at a high level:Capability View: This view reflects how applications alignment with business capabilities. It is a super set of the following views when viewed in aggregate. By looking at the Application Architecture domain in terms of the business capabilities it supports, you get a good perspective on how those applications are directly supporting the business.Technology View: The technology view reflects the underlying technology that makes up the applications. Based on the number of rationalization activities I have seen (more specifically application rationalization), the phrase “complexity equals cost” drives the importance of the technology view, especially when attempting to reduce that complexity through standardization type activities. Some of the technology components to be considered are: Software: The application itself as well as the software the application relies on to function (web servers, application servers). Infrastructure: The underlying hardware and network components required by the application and supporting application software. Development: How the application is created and maintained. This encompasses development components that are part of the application itself (i.e. customizable functions), as well as bolt on development through web services, API’s, etc. The maintenance process itself also falls under this view. Integration: The interfaces that the application provides for integration as well as the integrations to other applications and data sources the application requires to function. Type: Reflects the kind of application (mash-up, 3 tiered, etc). (Note: functional type [CRM, HCM, etc.] are reflected under the capability view). Organization View: Organizations are comprised of people and those people use applications to do their jobs. Trying to define the application architecture domain without taking the organization that will use/fund/change it into consideration is like trying to design a car without thinking about who will drive it (i.e. you may end up building a formula 1 car for a family of 5 that is really looking for a minivan). This view reflects the people aspect of the application. It includes: Ownership: Who ‘owns’ the application? This will usually reflect primary funding and utilization but not always. Funding: Who funds both the acquisition/creation as well as the on-going maintenance (funding to create/change/operate)? Change: Who can/does request changes to the application and what process to the follow? Utilization: Who uses the application, how often do they use it, and how do they use it? Support: Which organization is responsible for the on-going support of the application? Information View: Whether or not you subscribe to the view that “information drives the enterprise”, it is a fact that information is critical. The management, creation, and organization of that information are primary functions of enterprise applications. This view reflects how the applications are tied to information (or at a higher level – how the Application Architecture domain relates to the Information Architecture domain). It includes: Access: The application is the mechanism by which end users access information. This could be through a primary application (i.e. CRM application), or through an information access type application (a BI application as an example). Creation: Applications create data in order to provide information to end-users. (I.e. an application creates an order to be used by an end-user as part of the fulfillment process). Consumption: Describes the data required by applications to function (i.e. a product id is required by a purchasing application to create an order. Application Service View: Organizations today are striving to be more agile. As an EA, I need to provide an architecture that supports this agility. One of the primary ways to achieve the required agility in the application architecture domain is through the use of ‘services’ (think SOA, web services, etc.). Whether it is through building applications from the ground up utilizing services, service enabling an existing application, or buying applications that are already ‘service enabled’, compartmentalizing application functions for re-use helps enable flexibility in the use of those applications in support of the required business agility. The applications service view consists of: Services: Here, I refer to the generic definition of a service “a set of related software functionalities that can be reused for different purposes, together with the policies that should control its usage”. Functions: The activities within an application that are not available / applicable for re-use. This view is helpful when identifying duplication functions between applications that are not service enabled. Delivery Model View: It is hard to talk about EA today without hearing the terms ‘cloud’ or shared services.  Organizations are looking at the ways their applications are delivered for several reasons, to reduce cost (both CAPEX and OPEX), to improve agility (time to market as an example), etc.  From an EA perspective, where/how an application is deployed has impacts on the overall enterprise architecture. From integration concerns to SLA requirements to security and compliance issues, the Enterprise Architect needs to factor in how applications are delivered when designing the Enterprise Architecture. This view reflects how applications are delivered to end-users. The delivery model view consists of different types of delivery mechanisms/deployment options for applications: Traditional: Reflects non-cloud type delivery options. The most prevalent consists of an application running on dedicated hardware (usually specific to an environment) for a single consumer. Private Cloud: The application runs on infrastructure provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers. Public Cloud: The application runs on infrastructure provisioned for open use by the general public. Hybrid: The application is deployed on two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability. While by no means comprehensive, I find that applying these views to the application domain gives a good understanding of what an EA needs to consider when effecting changes to the Application Architecture domain.Finally, the application architecture domain is one of several architecture domains that an EA must consider when developing an overall Enterprise Architecture. The Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework defines four Primary domains: Business Architecture, Application Architecture, Information Architecture, and Technology Architecture. Each domain links to the others either directly or indirectly at some point. Oracle links them at a high level as follows:Business Capabilities and/or Business Processes (Business Architecture), links to the Applications that enable the capability/process (Applications Architecture – COTS, Custom), links to the Information Assets managed/maintained by the Applications (Information Architecture), links to the technology infrastructure upon which all this runs (Technology Architecture - integration, security, BI/DW, DB infrastructure, deployment model). There are however, times when the EA needs to narrow focus to a particular domain for some period of time. These views help me to do just that.

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  • Architecture for interfacing multiple applications

    - by Erwin
    Let's say you have a Master Database and a few External/Internal applications that use WebServices to interface data. What would be your preferred architecture to interface data from and to those applications? Would you put some sort of Enterprise Service Bus in between? Like BizTalk? Or something cheaper? We don't want to block applications while they are interfacing, but we do want to use return codes from the interfaces to determine if we need to take some actions in the originating application or not.

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  • Podcast Show Notes: William Ulrich and Neal McWhorter on Business Architecture

    - by Bob Rhubart
    The latest ArchBeat podcast program features a four-part conversation with William Ulrich and Neal McWhorter, the authors of Business Architecture: The Art and Practice of Business Transformation, available from Meghan-Kiffer Press. Listen to Part 1 Bill and Neal cover the basics and discuss the effects of the lack of business architecture on organizations. Listen to Part 2 (Jan 19) What really happens to the billions of dollars annually invested in IT. Listen to Part 3 (Jan 26) Why the IT and business sides of many organizations can’t play nice. Listen to Part 4 (Feb 2) How IT architects and business architects can work together to get the ship back on course and keep it there. Connect William Ulrich Website | LinkedIn | Business Architecture Guild Neal McWhorter Website | LinkedIn | Business Architecture Group on OMG Coming Soon Bob Hensle, Director, Oracle Enterprise Architecture Group, discusses the recently launched IT Solutions from Oracle (ITSO) library of documents. Excerpts from a recent OTN Architect Community Virtual Meet-up. Stay tuned: RSS del.icio.us Tags: business architecture,enterprise architecture,arch2arch,archbeat,podcast,business transformation,oracle,oracle technology network Technorati Tags: business architecture,enterprise architecture,arch2arch,archbeat,podcast,business transformation,oracle,oracle technology network

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  • No architecture vs architecture-specific binaries

    - by Aaron
    From what I understand, the noarch suffix means that it's architecture independent and should work universally. If this is the case, why should I install architecture-specific packages at all? Why not just go straight for the noarch? Are there optimizations in the x86 or x64 binaries that aren't found in the noarch binaries? What's best for high performance applications? [email protected] does this with their controller:

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  • Who should ‘own’ the Enterprise Architecture?

    - by Michael Glas
    I recently had a discussion around who should own an organization’s Enterprise Architecture. It was spawned by an article titled “Busting CIO Myths” in CIO magazine1 where the author interviewed Jeanne Ross, director of MIT's Center for Information Systems Research and co-author of books on enterprise architecture, governance and IT value.In the article Jeanne states that companies need to acknowledge that "architecture says everything about how the company is going to function, operate, and grow; the only person who can own that is the CEO". "If the CEO doesn't accept that role, there really can be no architecture."The first question that came up when talking about ownership was whether you are talking about a person, role, or organization (there are pros and cons to each, but in general, I like to assign accountability to as few people as possible). After much thought and discussion, I came to the conclusion that we were answering the wrong question. Instead of talking about ownership we were talking about responsibility and accountability, and the answer varies depending on the particular role of the organization’s Enterprise Architecture and the activities of the enterprise architect(s).Instead of looking at just who owns the architecture, think about what the person/role/organization should do. This is one possible scenario (thanks to Bob Covington): The CEO should own the Enterprise Strategy which guides the business architecture. The Business units should own the business processes and information which guide the business, application and information architectures. The CIO should own the technology, IT Governance and the management of the application and information architectures/implementations. The EA Governance Team owns the EA process.  If EA is done well, the governance team consists of both IT and the business. While there are many more roles and responsibilities than listed here, it starts to provide a clearer understanding of ‘ownership’. Now back to Jeanne’s statement that the CEO should own the architecture. If you agree with the statement about what the architecture is (and I do agree), then ultimately the CEO does need to own it. However, what we ended up with was not really ownership, but more statements around roles and responsibilities tied to aspects of the enterprise architecture. You can debate the semantics of ownership vs. responsibility and accountability, but in the end the important thing is to come to a clearer understanding that is easily communicated (and hopefully measured) around the question “Who owns the Enterprise Architecture”.The next logical step . . . create a RACI matrix that details the findings . . . but that is a step that each organization needs to do on their own as it will vary based on current EA maturity, company culture, and a variety of other factors. Who ‘owns’ the Enterprise Architecture in your organization? 1 CIO Magazine Article (Busting CIO Myths): http://www.cio.com/article/704943/Busting_CIO_Myths Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

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  • Software Architecture verses Software Design

    Recently, I was asked what the differences between software architecture and software design are. At a very superficial level both architecture and design seem to mean relatively the same thing. However, if we examine both of these terms further we will find that they are in fact very different due to the level of details they encompass. Software Architecture can be defined as the essence of an application because it deals with high level concepts that do not include any details as to how they will be implemented. To me this gives stakeholders a view of a system or application as if someone was viewing the earth from outer space. At this distance only very basic elements of the earth can be detected like land, weather and water. As the viewer comes closer to earth the details in this view start to become more defined. Details about the earth’s surface will start to actually take form as well as mane made structures will be detected. The process of transitioning a view from outer space to inside our earth’s atmosphere is similar to how an architectural concept is transformed to an architectural design. From this vantage point stakeholders can start to see buildings and other structures as if they were looking out of a small plane window. This distance is still high enough to see a large area of the earth’s surface while still being able to see some details about the surface. This viewing point is very similar to the actual design process of an application in that it takes the very high level architectural concept or concepts and applies concrete design details to form a software design that encompasses the actual implementation details in the form of responsibilities and functions. Examples of these details include: interfaces, components, data, and connections. In review, software architecture deals with high level concepts without regard to any implementation details. Software design on the other hand takes high level concepts and applies concrete details so that software can be implemented. As part of the transition between software architecture to the creation of software design an evaluation on the architecture is recommended. There are several benefits to including this step as part of the transition process. It allows for projects to ensure that they are on the correct path as to meeting the stakeholder’s requirement goals, identifies possible cost savings and can be used to find missing or nonspecific requirements that cause ambiguity in a design. In the book “Evaluating Software Architectures: Methods and Case Studies”, they define key benefits to adding an architectural review process to ensure that an architecture is ready to move on to the design phase. Benefits to evaluating software architecture: Gathers all stakeholders to communicate about the project Goals are clearly defined in regards to the creation or validation of specific requirements Goals are prioritized so that when conflicts occur decisions will be made based on goal priority Defines a clear expectation of the architecture so that all stakeholders have a keen understanding of the project Ensures high quality documentation of the architecture Enables discoveries of architectural reuse  Increases the quality of architecture practices. I can remember a few projects that I worked on that could have really used an architectural review prior to being passed on to developers. This project was to create some new advertising space on the company’s website in order to sell space based on the location and some other criteria. I was one of the developer selected to lead this project and I was given a high level design concept and a long list of ever changing requirements due to the fact that sales department had no clear direction as to what exactly the project was going to do or how they were going to bill the clients once they actually agreed to purchase the Ad space. In my personal opinion IT should have pushed back to have the requirements further articulated instead of forcing programmers to code blindly attempting to build such an ambiguous project.  Unfortunately, we had to suffer with this project for about 4 months when it should have only taken 1.5 to complete due to the constantly changing and unclear requirements. References  Clements, P., Kazman, R., & Klein, M. (2002). Evaluating Software Architectures. Westford, Massachusetts: Courier Westford. 

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  • Is there a Telecommunications Reference Architecture?

    - by raul.goycoolea
    @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Abstract   Reference architecture provides needed architectural information that can be provided in advance to an enterprise to enable consistent architectural best practices. Enterprise Reference Architecture helps business owners to actualize their strategies, vision, objectives, and principles. It evaluates the IT systems, based on Reference Architecture goals, principles, and standards. It helps to reduce IT costs by increasing functionality, availability, scalability, etc. Telecom Reference Architecture provides customers with the flexibility to view bundled service bills online with the provision of multiple services. It provides real-time, flexible billing and charging systems, to handle complex promotions, discounts, and settlements with multiple parties. This paper attempts to describe the Reference Architecture for the Telecom Enterprises. It lays the foundation for a Telecom Reference Architecture by articulating the requirements, drivers, and pitfalls for telecom service providers. It describes generic reference architecture for telecom enterprises and moves on to explain how to achieve Enterprise Reference Architecture by using SOA.   Introduction   A Reference Architecture provides a methodology, set of practices, template, and standards based on a set of successful solutions implemented earlier. These solutions have been generalized and structured for the depiction of both a logical and a physical architecture, based on the harvesting of a set of patterns that describe observations in a number of successful implementations. It helps as a reference for the various architectures that an enterprise can implement to solve various problems. It can be used as the starting point or the point of comparisons for various departments/business entities of a company, or for the various companies for an enterprise. It provides multiple views for multiple stakeholders.   Major artifacts of the Enterprise Reference Architecture are methodologies, standards, metadata, documents, design patterns, etc.   Purpose of Reference Architecture   In most cases, architects spend a lot of time researching, investigating, defining, and re-arguing architectural decisions. It is like reinventing the wheel as their peers in other organizations or even the same organization have already spent a lot of time and effort defining their own architectural practices. This prevents an organization from learning from its own experiences and applying that knowledge for increased effectiveness.   Reference architecture provides missing architectural information that can be provided in advance to project team members to enable consistent architectural best practices.   Enterprise Reference Architecture helps an enterprise to achieve the following at the abstract level:   ·       Reference architecture is more of a communication channel to an enterprise ·       Helps the business owners to accommodate to their strategies, vision, objectives, and principles. ·       Evaluates the IT systems based on Reference Architecture Principles ·       Reduces IT spending through increasing functionality, availability, scalability, etc ·       A Real-time Integration Model helps to reduce the latency of the data updates Is used to define a single source of Information ·       Provides a clear view on how to manage information and security ·       Defines the policy around the data ownership, product boundaries, etc. ·       Helps with cost optimization across project and solution portfolios by eliminating unused or duplicate investments and assets ·       Has a shorter implementation time and cost   Once the reference architecture is in place, the set of architectural principles, standards, reference models, and best practices ensure that the aligned investments have the greatest possible likelihood of success in both the near term and the long term (TCO).     Common pitfalls for Telecom Service Providers   Telecom Reference Architecture serves as the first step towards maturity for a telecom service provider. During the course of our assignments/experiences with telecom players, we have come across the following observations – Some of these indicate a lack of maturity of the telecom service provider:   ·       In markets that are growing and not so mature, it has been observed that telcos have a significant amount of in-house or home-grown applications. In some of these markets, the growth has been so rapid that IT has been unable to cope with business demands. Telcos have shown a tendency to come up with workarounds in their IT applications so as to meet business needs. ·       Even for core functions like provisioning or mediation, some telcos have tried to manage with home-grown applications. ·       Most of the applications do not have the required scalability or maintainability to sustain growth in volumes or functionality. ·       Applications face interoperability issues with other applications in the operator's landscape. Integrating a new application or network element requires considerable effort on the part of the other applications. ·       Application boundaries are not clear, and functionality that is not in the initial scope of that application gets pushed onto it. This results in the development of the multiple, small applications without proper boundaries. ·       Usage of Legacy OSS/BSS systems, poor Integration across Multiple COTS Products and Internal Systems. Most of the Integrations are developed on ad-hoc basis and Point-to-Point Integration. ·       Redundancy of the business functions in different applications • Fragmented data across the different applications and no integrated view of the strategic data • Lot of performance Issues due to the usage of the complex integration across OSS and BSS systems   However, this is where the maturity of the telecom industry as a whole can be of help. The collaborative efforts of telcos to overcome some of these problems have resulted in bodies like the TM Forum. They have come up with frameworks for business processes, data, applications, and technology for telecom service providers. These could be a good starting point for telcos to clean up their enterprise landscape.   Industry Trends in Telecom Reference Architecture   Telecom reference architectures are evolving rapidly because telcos are facing business and IT challenges.   “The reality is that there probably is no killer application, no silver bullet that the telcos can latch onto to carry them into a 21st Century.... Instead, there are probably hundreds – perhaps thousands – of niche applications.... And the only way to find which of these works for you is to try out lots of them, ramp up the ones that work, and discontinue the ones that fail.” – Martin Creaner President & CTO TM Forum.   The following trends have been observed in telecom reference architecture:   ·       Transformation of business structures to align with customer requirements ·       Adoption of more Internet-like technical architectures. The Web 2.0 concept is increasingly being used. ·       Virtualization of the traditional operations support system (OSS) ·       Adoption of SOA to support development of IP-based services ·       Adoption of frameworks like Service Delivery Platforms (SDPs) and IP Multimedia Subsystem ·       (IMS) to enable seamless deployment of various services over fixed and mobile networks ·       Replacement of in-house, customized, and stove-piped OSS/BSS with standards-based COTS products ·       Compliance with industry standards and frameworks like eTOM, SID, and TAM to enable seamless integration with other standards-based products   Drivers of Reference Architecture   The drivers of the Reference Architecture are Reference Architecture Goals, Principles, and Enterprise Vision and Telecom Transformation. The details are depicted below diagram. @font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoCaption, li.MsoCaption, div.MsoCaption { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: rgb(79, 129, 189); font-weight: bold; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Figure 1. Drivers for Reference Architecture @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Today’s telecom reference architectures should seamlessly integrate traditional legacy-based applications and transition to next-generation network technologies (e.g., IP multimedia subsystems). This has resulted in new requirements for flexible, real-time billing and OSS/BSS systems and implications on the service provider’s organizational requirements and structure.   Telecom reference architectures are today expected to:   ·       Integrate voice, messaging, email and other VAS over fixed and mobile networks, back end systems ·       Be able to provision multiple services and service bundles • Deliver converged voice, video and data services ·       Leverage the existing Network Infrastructure ·       Provide real-time, flexible billing and charging systems to handle complex promotions, discounts, and settlements with multiple parties. ·       Support charging of advanced data services such as VoIP, On-Demand, Services (e.g.  Video), IMS/SIP Services, Mobile Money, Content Services and IPTV. ·       Help in faster deployment of new services • Serve as an effective platform for collaboration between network IT and business organizations ·       Harness the potential of converging technology, networks, devices and content to develop multimedia services and solutions of ever-increasing sophistication on a single Internet Protocol (IP) ·       Ensure better service delivery and zero revenue leakage through real-time balance and credit management ·       Lower operating costs to drive profitability   Enterprise Reference Architecture   The Enterprise Reference Architecture (RA) fills the gap between the concepts and vocabulary defined by the reference model and the implementation. Reference architecture provides detailed architectural information in a common format such that solutions can be repeatedly designed and deployed in a consistent, high-quality, supportable fashion. This paper attempts to describe the Reference Architecture for the Telecom Application Usage and how to achieve the Enterprise Level Reference Architecture using SOA.   • Telecom Reference Architecture • Enterprise SOA based Reference Architecture   Telecom Reference Architecture   Tele Management Forum’s New Generation Operations Systems and Software (NGOSS) is an architectural framework for organizing, integrating, and implementing telecom systems. NGOSS is a component-based framework consisting of the following elements:   ·       The enhanced Telecom Operations Map (eTOM) is a business process framework. ·       The Shared Information Data (SID) model provides a comprehensive information framework that may be specialized for the needs of a particular organization. ·       The Telecom Application Map (TAM) is an application framework to depict the functional footprint of applications, relative to the horizontal processes within eTOM. ·       The Technology Neutral Architecture (TNA) is an integrated framework. TNA is an architecture that is sustainable through technology changes.   NGOSS Architecture Standards are:   ·       Centralized data ·       Loosely coupled distributed systems ·       Application components/re-use  ·       A technology-neutral system framework with technology specific implementations ·       Interoperability to service provider data/processes ·       Allows more re-use of business components across multiple business scenarios ·       Workflow automation   The traditional operator systems architecture consists of four layers,   ·       Business Support System (BSS) layer, with focus toward customers and business partners. Manages order, subscriber, pricing, rating, and billing information. ·       Operations Support System (OSS) layer, built around product, service, and resource inventories. ·       Networks layer – consists of Network elements and 3rd Party Systems. ·       Integration Layer – to maximize application communication and overall solution flexibility.   Reference architecture for telecom enterprises is depicted below. @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoCaption, li.MsoCaption, div.MsoCaption { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: rgb(79, 129, 189); font-weight: bold; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Figure 2. Telecom Reference Architecture   The major building blocks of any Telecom Service Provider architecture are as follows:   1. Customer Relationship Management   CRM encompasses the end-to-end lifecycle of the customer: customer initiation/acquisition, sales, ordering, and service activation, customer care and support, proactive campaigns, cross sell/up sell, and retention/loyalty.   CRM also includes the collection of customer information and its application to personalize, customize, and integrate delivery of service to a customer, as well as to identify opportunities for increasing the value of the customer to the enterprise.   The key functionalities related to Customer Relationship Management are   ·       Manage the end-to-end lifecycle of a customer request for products. ·       Create and manage customer profiles. ·       Manage all interactions with customers – inquiries, requests, and responses. ·       Provide updates to Billing and other south bound systems on customer/account related updates such as customer/ account creation, deletion, modification, request bills, final bill, duplicate bills, credit limits through Middleware. ·       Work with Order Management System, Product, and Service Management components within CRM. ·       Manage customer preferences – Involve all the touch points and channels to the customer, including contact center, retail stores, dealers, self service, and field service, as well as via any media (phone, face to face, web, mobile device, chat, email, SMS, mail, the customer's bill, etc.). ·       Support single interface for customer contact details, preferences, account details, offers, customer premise equipment, bill details, bill cycle details, and customer interactions.   CRM applications interact with customers through customer touch points like portals, point-of-sale terminals, interactive voice response systems, etc. The requests by customers are sent via fulfillment/provisioning to billing system for ordering processing.   2. Billing and Revenue Management   Billing and Revenue Management handles the collection of appropriate usage records and production of timely and accurate bills – for providing pre-bill usage information and billing to customers; for processing their payments; and for performing payment collections. In addition, it handles customer inquiries about bills, provides billing inquiry status, and is responsible for resolving billing problems to the customer's satisfaction in a timely manner. This process grouping also supports prepayment for services.   The key functionalities provided by these applications are   ·       To ensure that enterprise revenue is billed and invoices delivered appropriately to customers. ·       To manage customers’ billing accounts, process their payments, perform payment collections, and monitor the status of the account balance. ·       To ensure the timely and effective fulfillment of all customer bill inquiries and complaints. ·       Collect the usage records from mediation and ensure appropriate rating and discounting of all usage and pricing. ·       Support revenue sharing; split charging where usage is guided to an account different from the service consumer. ·       Support prepaid and post-paid rating. ·       Send notification on approach / exceeding the usage thresholds as enforced by the subscribed offer, and / or as setup by the customer. ·       Support prepaid, post paid, and hybrid (where some services are prepaid and the rest of the services post paid) customers and conversion from post paid to prepaid, and vice versa. ·       Support different billing function requirements like charge prorating, promotion, discount, adjustment, waiver, write-off, account receivable, GL Interface, late payment fee, credit control, dunning, account or service suspension, re-activation, expiry, termination, contract violation penalty, etc. ·       Initiate direct debit to collect payment against an invoice outstanding. ·       Send notification to Middleware on different events; for example, payment receipt, pre-suspension, threshold exceed, etc.   Billing systems typically get usage data from mediation systems for rating and billing. They get provisioning requests from order management systems and inquiries from CRM systems. Convergent and real-time billing systems can directly get usage details from network elements.   3. Mediation   Mediation systems transform/translate the Raw or Native Usage Data Records into a general format that is acceptable to billing for their rating purposes.   The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Mediation system in the end-to-end solution.   ·       Collect Usage Data Records from different data sources – like network elements, routers, servers – via different protocol and interfaces. ·       Process Usage Data Records – Mediation will process Usage Data Records as per the source format. ·       Validate Usage Data Records from each source. ·       Segregates Usage Data Records coming from each source to multiple, based on the segregation requirement of end Application. ·       Aggregates Usage Data Records based on the aggregation rule if any from different sources. ·       Consolidates multiple Usage Data Records from each source. ·       Delivers formatted Usage Data Records to different end application like Billing, Interconnect, Fraud Management, etc. ·       Generates audit trail for incoming Usage Data Records and keeps track of all the Usage Data Records at various stages of mediation process. ·       Checks duplicate Usage Data Records across files for a given time window.   4. Fulfillment   This area is responsible for providing customers with their requested products in a timely and correct manner. It translates the customer's business or personal need into a solution that can be delivered using the specific products in the enterprise's portfolio. This process informs the customers of the status of their purchase order, and ensures completion on time, as well as ensuring a delighted customer. These processes are responsible for accepting and issuing orders. They deal with pre-order feasibility determination, credit authorization, order issuance, order status and tracking, customer update on customer order activities, and customer notification on order completion. Order management and provisioning applications fall into this category.   The key functionalities provided by these applications are   ·       Issuing new customer orders, modifying open customer orders, or canceling open customer orders; ·       Verifying whether specific non-standard offerings sought by customers are feasible and supportable; ·       Checking the credit worthiness of customers as part of the customer order process; ·       Testing the completed offering to ensure it is working correctly; ·       Updating of the Customer Inventory Database to reflect that the specific product offering has been allocated, modified, or cancelled; ·       Assigning and tracking customer provisioning activities; ·       Managing customer provisioning jeopardy conditions; and ·       Reporting progress on customer orders and other processes to customer.   These applications typically get orders from CRM systems. They interact with network elements and billing systems for fulfillment of orders.   5. Enterprise Management   This process area includes those processes that manage enterprise-wide activities and needs, or have application within the enterprise as a whole. They encompass all business management processes that   ·       Are necessary to support the whole of the enterprise, including processes for financial management, legal management, regulatory management, process, cost, and quality management, etc.;   ·       Are responsible for setting corporate policies, strategies, and directions, and for providing guidelines and targets for the whole of the business, including strategy development and planning for areas, such as Enterprise Architecture, that are integral to the direction and development of the business;   ·       Occur throughout the enterprise, including processes for project management, performance assessments, cost assessments, etc.     (i) Enterprise Risk Management:   Enterprise Risk Management focuses on assuring that risks and threats to the enterprise value and/or reputation are identified, and appropriate controls are in place to minimize or eliminate the identified risks. The identified risks may be physical or logical/virtual. Successful risk management ensures that the enterprise can support its mission critical operations, processes, applications, and communications in the face of serious incidents such as security threats/violations and fraud attempts. Two key areas covered in Risk Management by telecom operators are:   ·       Revenue Assurance: Revenue assurance system will be responsible for identifying revenue loss scenarios across components/systems, and will help in rectifying the problems. The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Revenue Assurance system in the end-to-end solution. o   Identify all usage information dropped when networks are being upgraded. o   Interconnect bill verification. o   Identify where services are routinely provisioned but never billed. o   Identify poor sales policies that are intensifying collections problems. o   Find leakage where usage is sent to error bucket and never billed for. o   Find leakage where field service, CRM, and network build-out are not optimized.   ·       Fraud Management: Involves collecting data from different systems to identify abnormalities in traffic patterns, usage patterns, and subscription patterns to report suspicious activity that might suggest fraudulent usage of resources, resulting in revenue losses to the operator.   The key roles and responsibilities of the system component are as follows:   o   Fraud management system will capture and monitor high usage (over a certain threshold) in terms of duration, value, and number of calls for each subscriber. The threshold for each subscriber is decided by the system and fixed automatically. o   Fraud management will be able to detect the unauthorized access to services for certain subscribers. These subscribers may have been provided unauthorized services by employees. The component will raise the alert to the operator the very first time of such illegal calls or calls which are not billed. o   The solution will be to have an alarm management system that will deliver alarms to the operator/provider whenever it detects a fraud, thus minimizing fraud by catching it the first time it occurs. o   The Fraud Management system will be capable of interfacing with switches, mediation systems, and billing systems   (ii) Knowledge Management   This process focuses on knowledge management, technology research within the enterprise, and the evaluation of potential technology acquisitions.   Key responsibilities of knowledge base management are to   ·       Maintain knowledge base – Creation and updating of knowledge base on ongoing basis. ·       Search knowledge base – Search of knowledge base on keywords or category browse ·       Maintain metadata – Management of metadata on knowledge base to ensure effective management and search. ·       Run report generator. ·       Provide content – Add content to the knowledge base, e.g., user guides, operational manual, etc.   (iii) Document Management   It focuses on maintaining a repository of all electronic documents or images of paper documents relevant to the enterprise using a system.   (iv) Data Management   It manages data as a valuable resource for any enterprise. For telecom enterprises, the typical areas covered are Master Data Management, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence. It is also responsible for data governance, security, quality, and database management.   Key responsibilities of Data Management are   ·       Using ETL, extract the data from CRM, Billing, web content, ERP, campaign management, financial, network operations, asset management info, customer contact data, customer measures, benchmarks, process data, e.g., process inputs, outputs, and measures, into Enterprise Data Warehouse. ·       Management of data traceability with source, data related business rules/decisions, data quality, data cleansing data reconciliation, competitors data – storage for all the enterprise data (customer profiles, products, offers, revenues, etc.) ·       Get online update through night time replication or physical backup process at regular frequency. ·       Provide the data access to business intelligence and other systems for their analysis, report generation, and use.   (v) Business Intelligence   It uses the Enterprise Data to provide the various analysis and reports that contain prospects and analytics for customer retention, acquisition of new customers due to the offers, and SLAs. It will generate right and optimized plans – bolt-ons for the customers.   The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Business Intelligence system at the Enterprise Level:   ·       It will do Pattern analysis and reports problem. ·       It will do Data Analysis – Statistical analysis, data profiling, affinity analysis of data, customer segment wise usage patterns on offers, products, service and revenue generation against services and customer segments. ·       It will do Performance (business, system, and forecast) analysis, churn propensity, response time, and SLAs analysis. ·       It will support for online and offline analysis, and report drill down capability. ·       It will collect, store, and report various SLA data. ·       It will provide the necessary intelligence for marketing and working on campaigns, etc., with cost benefit analysis and predictions.   It will advise on customer promotions with additional services based on loyalty and credit history of customer   ·       It will Interface with Enterprise Data Management system for data to run reports and analysis tasks. It will interface with the campaign schedules, based on historical success evidence.   (vi) Stakeholder and External Relations Management   It manages the enterprise's relationship with stakeholders and outside entities. Stakeholders include shareholders, employee organizations, etc. Outside entities include regulators, local community, and unions. Some of the processes within this grouping are Shareholder Relations, External Affairs, Labor Relations, and Public Relations.   (vii) Enterprise Resource Planning   It is used to manage internal and external resources, including tangible assets, financial resources, materials, and human resources. Its purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the enterprise and manage the connections to outside stakeholders. ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise wide system environment.   The key roles and responsibilities for Enterprise System are given below:   ·        It will handle responsibilities such as core accounting, financial, and management reporting. ·       It will interface with CRM for capturing customer account and details. ·       It will interface with billing to capture the billing revenue and other financial data. ·       It will be responsible for executing the dunning process. Billing will send the required feed to ERP for execution of dunning. ·       It will interface with the CRM and Billing through batch interfaces. Enterprise management systems are like horizontals in the enterprise and typically interact with all major telecom systems. E.g., an ERP system interacts with CRM, Fulfillment, and Billing systems for different kinds of data exchanges.   6. External Interfaces/Touch Points   The typical external parties are customers, suppliers/partners, employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders. External interactions from/to a Service Provider to other parties can be achieved by a variety of mechanisms, including:   ·       Exchange of emails or faxes ·       Call Centers ·       Web Portals ·       Business-to-Business (B2B) automated transactions   These applications provide an Internet technology driven interface to external parties to undertake a variety of business functions directly for themselves. These can provide fully or partially automated service to external parties through various touch points.   Typical characteristics of these touch points are   ·       Pre-integrated self-service system, including stand-alone web framework or integration front end with a portal engine ·       Self services layer exposing atomic web services/APIs for reuse by multiple systems across the architectural environment ·       Portlets driven connectivity exposing data and services interoperability through a portal engine or web application   These touch points mostly interact with the CRM systems for requests, inquiries, and responses.   7. Middleware   The component will be primarily responsible for integrating the different systems components under a common platform. It should provide a Standards-Based Platform for building Service Oriented Architecture and Composite Applications. The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Middleware component in the end-to-end solution.   ·       As an integration framework, covering to and fro interfaces ·       Provide a web service framework with service registry. ·       Support SOA framework with SOA service registry. ·       Each of the interfaces from / to Middleware to other components would handle data transformation, translation, and mapping of data points. ·       Receive data from the caller / activate and/or forward the data to the recipient system in XML format. ·       Use standard XML for data exchange. ·       Provide the response back to the service/call initiator. ·       Provide a tracking until the response completion. ·       Keep a store transitional data against each call/transaction. ·       Interface through Middleware to get any information that is possible and allowed from the existing systems to enterprise systems; e.g., customer profile and customer history, etc. ·       Provide the data in a common unified format to the SOA calls across systems, and follow the Enterprise Architecture directive. ·       Provide an audit trail for all transactions being handled by the component.   8. Network Elements   The term Network Element means a facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service. Such terms also includes features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such facility or equipment, including subscriber numbers, databases, signaling systems, and information sufficient for billing and collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other provision of a telecommunications service.   Typical network elements in a GSM network are Home Location Register (HLR), Intelligent Network (IN), Mobile Switching Center (MSC), SMS Center (SMSC), and network elements for other value added services like Push-to-talk (PTT), Ring Back Tone (RBT), etc.   Network elements are invoked when subscribers use their telecom devices for any kind of usage. These elements generate usage data and pass it on to downstream systems like mediation and billing system for rating and billing. They also integrate with provisioning systems for order/service fulfillment.   9. 3rd Party Applications   3rd Party systems are applications like content providers, payment gateways, point of sale terminals, and databases/applications maintained by the Government.   Depending on applicability and the type of functionality provided by 3rd party applications, the integration with different telecom systems like CRM, provisioning, and billing will be done.   10. Service Delivery Platform   A service delivery platform (SDP) provides the architecture for the rapid deployment, provisioning, execution, management, and billing of value added telecom services. SDPs are based on the concept of SOA and layered architecture. They support the delivery of voice, data services, and content in network and device-independent fashion. They allow application developers to aggregate network capabilities, services, and sources of content. SDPs typically contain layers for web services exposure, service application development, and network abstraction.   SOA Reference Architecture   SOA concept is based on the principle of developing reusable business service and building applications by composing those services, instead of building monolithic applications in silos. It’s about bridging the gap between business and IT through a set of business-aligned IT services, using a set of design principles, patterns, and techniques.   In an SOA, resources are made available to participants in a value net, enterprise, line of business (typically spanning multiple applications within an enterprise or across multiple enterprises). It consists of a set of business-aligned IT services that collectively fulfill an organization’s business processes and goals. We can choreograph these services into composite applications and invoke them through standard protocols. SOA, apart from agility and reusability, enables:   ·       The business to specify processes as orchestrations of reusable services ·       Technology agnostic business design, with technology hidden behind service interface ·       A contractual-like interaction between business and IT, based on service SLAs ·       Accountability and governance, better aligned to business services ·       Applications interconnections untangling by allowing access only through service interfaces, reducing the daunting side effects of change ·       Reduced pressure to replace legacy and extended lifetime for legacy applications, through encapsulation in services   ·       A Cloud Computing paradigm, using web services technologies, that makes possible service outsourcing on an on-demand, utility-like, pay-per-usage basis   The following section represents the Reference Architecture of logical view for the Telecom Solution. The new custom built application needs to align with this logical architecture in the long run to achieve EA benefits.   Packaged implementation applications, such as ERP billing applications, need to expose their functions as service providers (as other applications consume) and interact with other applications as service consumers.   COT applications need to expose services through wrappers such as adapters to utilize existing resources and at the same time achieve Enterprise Architecture goal and objectives.   The following are the various layers for Enterprise level deployment of SOA. This diagram captures the abstract view of Enterprise SOA layers and important components of each layer. Layered architecture means decomposition of services such that most interactions occur between adjacent layers. However, there is no strict rule that top layers should not directly communicate with bottom layers.   The diagram below represents the important logical pieces that would result from overall SOA transformation. @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoCaption, li.MsoCaption, div.MsoCaption { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: rgb(79, 129, 189); font-weight: bold; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Figure 3. Enterprise SOA Reference Architecture 1.          Operational System Layer: This layer consists of all packaged applications like CRM, ERP, custom built applications, COTS based applications like Billing, Revenue Management, Fulfilment, and the Enterprise databases that are essential and contribute directly or indirectly to the Enterprise OSS/BSS Transformation.   ERP holds the data of Asset Lifecycle Management, Supply Chain, and Advanced Procurement and Human Capital Management, etc.   CRM holds the data related to Order, Sales, and Marketing, Customer Care, Partner Relationship Management, Loyalty, etc.   Content Management handles Enterprise Search and Query. Billing application consists of the following components:   ·       Collections Management, Customer Billing Management, Invoices, Real-Time Rating, Discounting, and Applying of Charges ·       Enterprise databases will hold both the application and service data, whether structured or unstructured.   MDM - Master data majorly consists of Customer, Order, Product, and Service Data.     2.          Enterprise Component Layer:   This layer consists of the Application Services and Common Services that are responsible for realizing the functionality and maintaining the QoS of the exposed services. This layer uses container-based technologies such as application servers to implement the components, workload management, high availability, and load balancing.   Application Services: This Service Layer enables application, technology, and database abstraction so that the complex accessing logic is hidden from the other service layers. This is a basic service layer, which exposes application functionalities and data as reusable services. The three types of the Application access services are:   ·       Application Access Service: This Service Layer exposes application level functionalities as a reusable service between BSS to BSS and BSS to OSS integration. This layer is enabled using disparate technology such as Web Service, Integration Servers, and Adaptors, etc.   ·       Data Access Service: This Service Layer exposes application data services as a reusable reference data service. This is done via direct interaction with application data. and provides the federated query.   ·       Network Access Service: This Service Layer exposes provisioning layer as a reusable service from OSS to OSS integration. This integration service emphasizes the need for high performance, stateless process flows, and distributed design.   Common Services encompasses management of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data such as information services, portal services, interaction services, infrastructure services, and security services, etc.   3.          Integration Layer:   This consists of service infrastructure components like service bus, service gateway for partner integration, service registry, service repository, and BPEL processor. Service bus will carry the service invocation payloads/messages between consumers and providers. The other important functions expected from it are itinerary based routing, distributed caching of routing information, transformations, and all qualities of service for messaging-like reliability, scalability, and availability, etc. Service registry will hold all contracts (wsdl) of services, and it helps developers to locate or discover service during design time or runtime.   • BPEL processor would be useful in orchestrating the services to compose a complex business scenario or process. • Workflow and business rules management are also required to support manual triggering of certain activities within business process. based on the rules setup and also the state machine information. Application, data, and service mediation layer typically forms the overall composite application development framework or SOA Framework.   4.          Business Process Layer: These are typically the intermediate services layer and represent Shared Business Process Services. At Enterprise Level, these services are from Customer Management, Order Management, Billing, Finance, and Asset Management application domains.   5.          Access Layer: This layer consists of portals for Enterprise and provides a single view of Enterprise information management and dashboard services.   6.          Channel Layer: This consists of various devices; applications that form part of extended enterprise; browsers through which users access the applications.   7.          Client Layer: This designates the different types of users accessing the enterprise applications. The type of user typically would be an important factor in determining the level of access to applications.   8.          Vertical pieces like management, monitoring, security, and development cut across all horizontal layers Management and monitoring involves all aspects of SOA-like services, SLAs, and other QoS lifecycle processes for both applications and services surrounding SOA governance.     9.          EA Governance, Reference Architecture, Roadmap, Principles, and Best Practices:   EA Governance is important in terms of providing the overall direction to SOA implementation within the enterprise. This involves board-level involvement, in addition to business and IT executives. At a high level, this involves managing the SOA projects implementation, managing SOA infrastructure, and controlling the entire effort through all fine-tuned IT processes in accordance with COBIT (Control Objectives for Information Technology).   Devising tools and techniques to promote reuse culture, and the SOA way of doing things needs competency centers to be established in addition to training the workforce to take up new roles that are suited to SOA journey.   Conclusions   Reference Architectures can serve as the basis for disparate architecture efforts throughout the organization, even if they use different tools and technologies. Reference architectures provide best practices and approaches in the independent way a vendor deals with technology and standards. Reference Architectures model the abstract architectural elements for an enterprise independent of the technologies, protocols, and products that are used to implement an SOA. Telecom enterprises today are facing significant business and technology challenges due to growing competition, a multitude of services, and convergence. Adopting architectural best practices could go a long way in meeting these challenges. The use of SOA-based architecture for communication to each of the external systems like Billing, CRM, etc., in OSS/BSS system has made the architecture very loosely coupled, with greater flexibility. Any change in the external systems would be absorbed at the Integration Layer without affecting the rest of the ecosystem. The use of a Business Process Management (BPM) tool makes the management and maintenance of the business processes easy, with better performance in terms of lead time, quality, and cost. Since the Architecture is based on standards, it will lower the cost of deploying and managing OSS/BSS applications over their lifecycles.

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  • References about Game Engine Architecture in AAA Games

    - by sharethis
    Last weeks I focused on game engine architecture and learned a lot about different approaches like component based, data driven, and so on. I used them in test applications and understand their intention but none of them looks like the holy grail. So I wonder how major games in the industry ("AAA Games") solve different architecture problems. But I noticed that there are barely references about game engine architecture out there. Do you know any resources of game engine architecture of major game titles like Battlefield, Call of Duty, Crysis, Skyrim, and so on? Doesn't matter if it is an article of a game developer or a wiki page or an entire book. I read this related popular question: Good resources for learning about game architecture? But it is focused on learning books rather than approaches in the industry. Hopefully the breadth of our community can carry together certain useful informations! Thanks a lot! Edit: This question is focused but not restricted to first person games.

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  • Scalable Architecture for modern Web Development [on hold]

    - by Jhilke Dai
    I am doing research about Scalable architecture for Web Development, the research is solely to support Modern Web Development with flexible architecture which can scale up/down according to the needs without losing any core functionality. By Modern Web I mean to support all the Devices used to access websites, but the loading mechanism for all devices would be different. My quest of architecture is: For PC: Accessing web in PC is faster but it also depends on the Geo-location, so, the application would check by default the capacity of Internet/Browser and load the page according to it. For Mobile: Most of the mobile design these days either hide information or use different version of same application. eg: facebook uses m.facebook.com which is completely different than PC version. Hiding the things from Mobile using JavaScript or CSS is not a solution as it'll consume the bandwidth and make the application slow. So, my architecture research is about Serving one Application, which has different stack. When the application receives the request it'd send the Packaged Stack to the received request. This way the load time for end users would be faster and maintenance of application for developers would be easier. I am researching about for 4-tier(layered) architecture like: Presentation Layer Application Logic Layer -- The main Logic layer which stores the Presentation Stack Business Logic Layer Data Layer Main Question: Have you come across of similar architecture? If so, then can you list the links here, I'm very much interested to learn about those implementations specially in real world scenario. Have you thought about similar architectures and tried your own ideas, or if you have any ideas regarding this, then I urge to share. I am open to any discussions regarding this, so, please feel free to comment/answer.

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  • Software Architecture: Quality Attributes

    Quality is what all software engineers should strive for when building a new system or adding new functionality. Dictonary.com ambiguously defines quality as a grade of excellence. Unfortunately, quality must be defined within the context of a situation in that each engineer must extract quality attributes from a project’s requirements. Because quality is defined by project requirements the meaning of quality is constantly changing base on the project. Software architecture factors that indicate the relevance and effectiveness The relevance and effectiveness of architecture can vary based on the context in which it was conceived and the quality attributes that are required to meet. Typically when evaluating architecture for a specific system regarding relevance and effectiveness the following questions should be asked.   Architectural relevance and effectiveness questions: Does the architectural concept meet the needs of the system for which it was designed? Out of the competing architectures for a system, which one is the most suitable? If we look at the first question regarding meeting the needs of a system for which it was designed. A system that answers yes to this question must meet all of its quality goals. This means that it consistently meets or exceeds performance goals for the system. In addition, the system meets all the other required system attributers based on the systems requirements. The suitability of a system is based on several factors. In order for a project to be suitable the necessary resources must be available to complete the task. Standard Project Resources: Money Trained Staff Time Life cycle factors that affect the system and design The development life cycle used on a project can drastically affect how a system’s architecture is created as well as influence its design. In the case of using the software development life cycle (SDLC) each phase must be completed before the next can begin.  This waterfall approach does not allow for changes in a system’s architecture after that phase is completed. This can lead to major system issues when the architecture for the system is not as optimal because of missed quality attributes. This can occur when a project has poor requirements and makes misguided architectural decisions to name a few examples. Once the architectural phase is complete the concepts established in this phase must move on to the design phase that is bound to use the concepts and guidelines defined in the previous phase regardless of any missing quality attributes needed for the project. If any issues arise during this phase regarding the selected architectural concepts they cannot be corrected during the current project. This directly has an effect on the design of a system because the proper qualities required for the project where not used when the architectural concepts were approved. When this is identified nothing can be done to fix the architectural issues and system design must use the existing architectural concepts regardless of its missing quality properties because the architectural concepts for the project cannot be altered. The decisions made in the design phase then preceded to fall down to the implementation phase where the actual system is coded based on the approved architectural concepts established in the architecture phase regardless of its architectural quality. Conversely projects using more of an iterative or agile methodology to implement a system has more flexibility to correct architectural decisions based on missing quality attributes. This is due to each phase of the SDLC is executed more than once so any issues identified in architecture of a system can be corrected in the next architectural phase. Subsequently the corresponding changes will then be adjusted in the following design phase so that when the project is completed the optimal architectural and design decision are applied to the solution. Architecture factors that indicate functional suitability Systems that have function shortcomings do not have the proper functionality based on the project’s driving quality attributes. What this means in English is that the system does not live up to what is required of it by the stakeholders as identified by the missing quality attributes and requirements. One way to prevent functional shortcomings is to test the project’s architecture, design, and implementation against the project’s driving quality attributes to ensure that none of the attributes were missed in any of the phases. Another way to ensure a system has functional suitability is to certify that all its requirements are fully articulated so that there is no chance for misconceptions or misinterpretations by all stakeholders. This will help prevent any issues regarding interpreting the system requirements during the initial architectural concept phase, design phase and implementation phase. Consider the applicability of other architectural models When considering an architectural model for a project is also important to consider other alternative architectural models to ensure that the model that is selected will meet the systems required functionality and high quality attributes. Recently I can remember talking about a project that I was working on and a coworker suggested a different architectural approach that I had never considered. This new model will allow for the same functionally that is offered by the existing model but will allow for a higher quality project because it fulfills more quality attributes. It is always important to seek alternatives prior to committing to an architectural model. Factors used to identify high-risk components A high risk component can be defined as a component that fulfills 2 or more quality attributes for a system. An example of this can be seen in a web application that utilizes a remote database. One high-risk component in this system is the TCIP component because it allows for HTTP connections to handle by a web server and as well as allows for the server to also connect to a remote database server so that it can import data into the system. This component allows for the assurance of data quality attribute and the accessibility quality attribute because the system is available on the network. If for some reason the TCIP component was to fail the web application would fail on two quality attributes accessibility and data assurance in that the web site is not accessible and data cannot be update as needed. Summary As stated previously, quality is what all software engineers should strive for when building a new system or adding new functionality. The quality of a system can be directly determined by how closely it is implemented when compared to its desired quality attributes. One way to insure a higher quality system is to enforce that all project requirements are fully articulated so that no assumptions or misunderstandings can be made by any of the stakeholders. By doing this a system has a better chance of becoming a high quality system based on its quality attributes

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  • Architecture guidelines for a "single page web-app"

    - by Matt Roberts
    I'm going to start a side project to build a "single page" web application. The application needs to be real-time, sending updates to the clients as changes happen. Are there any good resources for best-practice approaches wrt the architecture for these kinds of applications. The best resource I've found so far is the trello architecture article here: http://blog.fogcreek.com/the-trello-tech-stack/ To me, this architecture, although very sexy, is probably over-engineered for my specific needs - although I do have similar requirements. I'm wondering if I need to bother with a sub/pub at the server side, could I not just push updates from the server when something happens (e.g. when the client sends an update to the server, write the update to the db, and then send an update to the clients). Tech-wise, I'm probably looking to build this out in Node.JS or maybe Ruby, although the architecture guidelines should to some extent apply to any underlying server technologies.

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  • Good Software Architecture book or material?

    - by Inder Kumar Rathore
    I am a programmer and there is always a word going around about the architecture of the application/software. I want to gain some knowledge about how to develop good architecture. I know it is something that comes with the experience but I need some start so that I can practice it and get some good experience. So Please refer a good book for architecture. I know "Head first design patterns" is there, should I go for it or is there some good books also. Thanks

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  • Architecture/pattern resources for small applications and tools

    - by s73v3r
    I was wondering if anyone had any resources or advice related to using architecture patterns like MVVM/MVC/MVP/etc on small applications and tools, as opposed to large, enterprisy ones. EDIT: Most of the information I see on application architecture is directed at large, enterprise applications. I'm just writing small programs and tools. As far as using these architecture patterns, is it generally worthwhile to go through the overhead of using an MVC/MVVM framework? Or would I be better off keeping it simple?

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  • When to use Aspect Oriented Architecture (AOA/AOD)

    When is it appropriate to use aspect oriented architecture? I think the only honest answer to this question is that it depends on the context for which the question is being asked. There really are no hard and fast rules regarding the selection of an architectural model(s) for a project because each model provides good and bad benefits. Every system is built with a unique requirements and constraints. This context will dictate when to use one type of architecture over another or in conjunction with others. To me aspect oriented architecture models should be a sub-phase in the architectural modeling and design process especially when creating enterprise level models. Personally, I like to use this approach to create a base architectural model that is defined by non-functional requirements and system quality attributes.   This general model can then be used as a starting point for additional models because it is targets all of the business key quality attributes required by the system.Aspect oriented architecture is a method for modeling non-functional requirements and quality attributes of a system known as aspects. These models do not deal directly with specific functionality. They do categorize functionality of the system. This approach allows a system to be created with a strong emphasis on separating system concerns into individual components. These cross cutting components enables a systems to create with compartmentalization in regards to non-functional requirements or quality attributes.  This allows for the reduction in code because an each component maintains an aspect of a system that can be called by other aspects. This approach also allows for a much cleaner and smaller code base during the implementation and support of a system. Additionally, enabling developers to develop systems based on aspect-oriented design projects will be completed faster and will be more reliable because existing components can be shared across a system; thus, the time needed to create and test the functionality is reduced.   Example of an effective use of Aspect Oriented ArchitectureIn my experiences, aspect oriented architecture can be very effective with large or more complex systems. Typically, these types of systems have a large number of concerns so the act of defining them is very beneficial for reducing the system’s complexity because components can be developed to address each concern while exposing functionality to the other system components. The benefits to using the aspect oriented approach as the starting point for a system is that it promotes communication between IT and the business due to the fact that the aspect oriented models are quality attributes focused so not much technical understanding is needed to understand the model.An example of this can be in developing a new intranet website. Common Intranet Concerns: Error Handling Security Logging Notifications Database connectivity Example of a not as effective use of Aspect Oriented ArchitectureAgain in my experiences, aspect oriented architecture is not as effective with small or less complex systems in comparison.  There is no need to model concerns for a system that has a limited amount of them because the added overhead would not be justified for the actual benefits of creating the aspect oriented architecture model.  Furthermore, these types of projects typically have a reduced time schedule and a limited budget.  The creation of the Aspect oriented models would increase the overhead of a project and thus increase the time needed to implement the system. An example of this is seen by creating a small application to poll a network share for new files and then FTP them to a new location.  The two primary concerns for this project is to monitor a network drive and FTP files to a new location.  There is no need to create an aspect model for this system because there will never be a need to share functionality amongst either of these concerns.  To add to my point, this system is so small that it could be created with just a few classes so the added layer of componentizing the concerns would be complete overkill for this situation. References:Brichau, Johan; D'Hondt, Theo. (2006) Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) - An Introduction. Retreived from: http://www.info.ucl.ac.be/~jbrichau/courses/introductionToAOSD.pdf

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  • Simple Architecture Verification

    - by Jean Carlos Suárez Marranzini
    I just made an architecture for an application with the function of scoring, saving and loading tennis games. The architecture has 2 kinds of elements: components & layers. Components: Standalone elements that can be consumed by other components or by layers. They might also consume functionality from the model/bottom layer. Layers: Software components whose functionality rests on previous layers (except for the model layer). -Layers: -Models: Data and it's behavior. -Controllers: A layer that allows interaction between the views and the models. -Views: The presentation layer for interacting with the user. -Components: -Persistence: Makes sure the game data can be stored away for later retrieval. -Time Machine: Records changes in the game through time so it's possible to navigate the game back and forth. -Settings: Contains the settings that determine how some of the game logic will apply. -Game Engine: Contains all the game logic, which it applies to the game data to determine the path the game should take. This is an image of the architecture (I don't have enough rep to post images): http://i49.tinypic.com/35lt5a9.png The requierements which this architecture should satisfy are the following: Save & load games. Move through game history and see how the scoreboard changes as the game evolves. Tie-breaks must be properly managed. Games must be classified by hit-type. Every point can be modified. Match name and player names must be stored. Game logic must be configurable by the user. I would really appreciate any kind of advice or comments on this architecture. To see if it is well built and makes sense as a whole. I took the idea from this link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model%E2%80%93view%E2%80%93controller

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  • 3-tier architecture v. 3-server architecture

    - by kawai
    I'm building a traditional .NET MVC site, so I've got a natural 3-tier software architecture setup (presentation in the form of Views, business layer in the controller, and data layer in the models and data access layer). When I've deployed such sites, it usually goes either on one server (where the web site and db live), or two servers (a web server and a separate db server). How does one go about a 3-server architecture (WEB, APP, and DB)? Would the web server just have the presentation (e.g. the physical View/aspx pages), the app server would hold the config file and bin folder, and the db server would remain as is? My question is essentially, can you simply move the /bin and all app logic onto a separate server from the presentation views? If so, how do you configure the servers to know where to look? If there's a good primer somewhere or someone can give me the lowdown, I'd be forever indebted.

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  • "cloud architecture" concepts in a system architecture diagrams

    - by markus
    If you design a distributed application for easy scale-out, or you just want to make use of any of the new “cloud computing” offerings by Amazon, Google or Microsoft, there are some typical concepts or components you usually end up using: distributed blob storage (aka S3) asynchronous, durable message queues (aka SQS) non-Relational-/non-transactional databases (like SimpleDB, Google BigTable, Azure SQL Services) distributed background worker pool load-balanced, edge-service processes handling user requests (often virtualized) distributed caches (like memcached) CDN (content delivery network like Akamai) Now when it comes to design and sketch an architecture that makes use of such patterns, are there any commonly used symbols I could use? Or even a download with some cool Visio stencils? :) It doesn’t have to be a formal system like UML but I think it would be great if there were symbols that everyone knows and understands, like we have commonly used shapes for databases or a documents, for example. I think it would be important to not mix it up with traditional concepts like a normal file system (local or network server/SAN), or a relational database. Simply speaking, I want to be able to draw some conclusions about an application’s scalability or data consistency issues by just looking at the system architecture overview diagram. Update: Thank you very much for your answers. I like the idea of putting a small "cloud symbol" on the traditional symbols. However I leave this thread open just in case someone will find specific symbols (maybe in a book or so) - or uploaded some pimped up Visio stencils ;)

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  • Relationship between TDD and Software Architecture/Design

    - by Christopher Francisco
    I'm new to TDD and have been reading the theory since applying it is more complicated than it sounds when you're learning by yourself. As far as I know, the objective is to write test cases for each requirement and run the test so it fails (to prevent a false positive). Afterward, you should write the minimum amount of code that can pass the test and move to the next one. That being said, is it true that you get a fast development, but what about the code itself? this theory makes me think you are not considering things like abstraction, delegation of responsibilities, design patterns, architecture and others since you're just writing "the minimum amount of code that can pass the test". I know I'm probably wrong because if this were true, we'd have a lot of crappy developers with poor software architecture and documentation so I'm asking for a guide here, what's the relationship between TDD and Software Architecture/Design?

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  • Carpool logical architecture

    - by enrmarc
    I'm designing a carpool system (drivers can publish their routes and passengers can subscribe to them) with WebServices(axis2) and Android clients (ksoap2). I have been having problems with the logical architecture of the system and I wondered if this architecture is fine. And another question: for that architecture (if it is ok), how would be the packages structure? I suppose something like that: (In android) package org.carpool.presentation *All the activities here (and maybe mvc pattern) (In the server) package org.carpool.services *Public interfaces (for example: register(User user), publishRoute(Route route) ) package org.carpool.domain *Pojos (for example: User.java, Route.java, etc) package org.carpool.persistence *Dao Interface and implementation (jdbc or hibernate)

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  • Model Driven Architecture Approach in programming / modelling

    - by yak
    I know the basics of the model driven architecture: it is all about model the system which I want to create and create the core code afterwards. I used CORBA a while ago. First thing that I needed to do was to create an abstract interface (some kind of model of the system I want to build) and generate core code later. But I have a different question: is model driven architecture a broad approach or not? I mean, let's say, that I have the language (modelling language) in which I want to model EXISTING system (opposite to the system I want to CREATE), and then analyze the model of the created system and different facts about that modeled abstraction. In this case, can the process I described above be considered the model driven architecture approach? I mean, I have the model, but this is the model of the existing system, not the system to be created.

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  • Automated architecture validation

    - by P.Brian.Mackey
    I am aware of the fact that TFS 2010 ultimate edition can create and validate architecture diagrams. For example, I can create a new modeling project add Layer Diagram Add Layer called View Add BL Layer Add DL layer. Then I can validate this architecture as part of the build process when someone tries to check code into TFS. In other words, if the View references the DL then the compilation process will fail and the checkin will not be allowed. For those without an MSDN ultimate license, can FxCop or some 3rd party utility be used to validate architecture in an automated fashion? I prefer a TFS install-able plugin, but a local VS plugin will do.

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  • Help me classify this type of software architecture

    - by Alex Burtsev
    I read some books about software architecture as we are using it in our project but I can't classify the architecture properly. It's some kind of Enterprise Architecture, but what exactly... SOA, ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), Message Bus, Event Driven SOA, there are so many terms in Enterprise software.... The system is based on custom XML messages exchanges between services. (it's not SOAP, nor any other XML based standard, just plain XML). These messages represent notifications (state changes) that are applied to the Domain model, (it's not like CRUD when you serialize the whole domain object, and pass it to service for persistence). The system is centralized, and system participants use different programming languages and frameworks (c++, c#, java). Also, messages are not processed at the moment they are received as they are stored first and the treatment begins on demand. It's called SOA+EDA -:)

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  • S#arp Architecture 1.5 released

    - by AlecWhittington
    The past two weeks have been wonderful for me, spending 12 days on Oahu, Hawaii. Then followed up with the S#arp Architecture 1.5 release. It has been a short 4 months since taking over as the project lead and this is my first major milestone. With this release, we advance S# even more forward with the ASP.NET MVC 2 enhancements. What's is S#? Pronounced "Sharp Architecture," this is a solid architectural foundation for rapidly building maintainable web applications leveraging the ASP.NET MVC framework...(read more)

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