My teenage son sometimes wonders about what I do in the office to make my living....
Let me try to define the phrase "Solution Architecture". To do so, I got to first define the words that constitute the phrase in the correct context.
A SYSTEM continuously experiences environmental change! Change in the system environment is a natural process. Sometimes the change is gradual and other times the change is sudden.
In any case a system (an enterprise itself is a SYSTEM!) has to have a built in mechanism to tackle the change.
When a "change" can't be handled by the system within its scope of operation, this change is called as a "problem" that needs a "Solution"
This is the tricky part of the phrase "Solution Architecture"!
Architecture is a discipline, a set of principles, methods, guidelines that can be used to create a "model" of a "system" from multiple view points of different stakeholders of the system. Once the model is constructed, it can be used to get a holistic view of the system by different stakeholders. It greatly helps the understanding of the problem and channelize the thought towards the challenge that is caused by the "problem"
Overall, the solution architecture is a discipline of finding the opportunities to improve the system gently to tackle the challenges posed by the environmental changes as well as making the system more "responsive" to future challenges by creating a multi-dimensional model of the system!
In the modern day every business organization is seen as a SYSTEM. So, Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline is divided into four layers as
- Business, (what makes up the business - people, processes and tools; Its goal, structure and functioning)
- Data/Information,(what are the key data comes in and information needed for business functions both operational and strategic)
- Applications (How the data is captured, processed, stored and converted into the useful information and knowledge and presented to the right people at the right time!)
- Technology/Infrastructure Architectures. (What physical servers, network, storage components are required to run the applications within the budget meeting service levels)
With the "Cloud Computing Paradigm" is in, the business is seen as a loosely coupled services and each of the service can have three layered "clouding" in SaaS - Software as a Service, PaaS - Platform as a Service, and IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service. This cloud computing has changed the way we look at architecture in the Data/Information, Application and Technology/Infrastructure layers. An architect should consider the possible options of public (external supplier hosting the cloud), private (hosting a cloud within enterprise datacenter0 or hybrid (a combination of public and private) deployment models of the Cloud in these layers.
To make it simple, as an Enterprise Solution Architect, I draw different shapes and name them differently; I will connect those shapes to form a smooth looking flow between multiple layers of the enterprise and convince the key stakeholders that they have understood their current problem and different possible solutions to solve their problem. I will help them select the best solution option suitable for their budget and needs.....
It is FUN as I enjoy this!!