Monday, February 2, 2009

Open Group debuts TOGAF 9, a free IT architecture framework milestone that allows easier ramp-up, clearer business benefits

As part of the 21st Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference here in San Diego this week, The Open Group has delivered TOGAF version 9, a significant upgrade to the enterprise IT architecture framework that adds modularity, business benefits, deeper support via the Architecture Development Method (ADM) for SOA and cloud, and a meta-model that makes managing IT and business resources easier and more coordinated.

One of my favorite sayings is: "Architecture is destiny." This is more true than ever, but the recession and complexity in enterprise IT departments make the discipline needed to approach IT from the architecture level even more daunting to muster and achieve. Oh, and slashed budgets have a challenging aspect of their own.

Yet, at the same time, more enterprise architects are being certified than ever. More qualified IT managers and planners are available for hire. And more dictates such as ITIL are making architecture central, where it belongs, not peripheral. The increased use of SOA, beginnings of cloud use, and need for pervasive security also auger well for enterprise architecture (EA) to blossom even in tough times.

TOGAF 9 aims to remove the daunting aspects of EA adoption while heightening both the IT and business value from achieving good methods for applying a defined IT architecture. With a free download and a new modular format to foster EA framework use from a variety of entry points, TOGAF 9 is designed to move. It also begins to form an uber EA framework by working well with other established EA frameworks, for a federated architectural framework benefit. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

I'll be blogging and creating some sponsored podcasts here in San Diego this week at the Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference, so look for updates on keynotes, panel discussions and interviews.

I'm especially interested in how architecture and the use of repositories help manage change. This may end up the biggest financial and productivity payback from those approaching IT from a systemic and managed via policies and governance approach.

Well-structured EA repositories of both IT and business meta-model descriptions solves complexity, adds agility, saves puts organizations in future-proof position. They can more readily accept and adapt to change -- both planned for an unplanned. Highly unpredictable and dynamic business environments benefit from EA and repository approach, clearly.

TOGAF 9 is showing the maturity for much wider adoption. The Architecture Development Method (ADM) can be applied to SOA, security, cloud, hybrids, and federated services ecologies. There is ease in migration from earlier TOGAFs, or from a start fresh across multiple paths of elements of EA. Indeed, TOGAF 9's modular structure now allows all kinds of organizations and cultures to adapt TOGAF in ways that suit specific situations and IT landscapes.

The Open Group is a vendor-neutral and technology-neutral consortium, and some 7,500 individuals are TOGAF certified. So far, 90,000 copies of the TOGAF framework have been downloaded from The Open Group’s website and more than 20,000 hard copies of the TOGAF series have been sold.

If architecture is destiny, that TOGAF is a philosophy on taking control of your IT destiny. Better for you to take control of your destiny, than the other way around, I always say.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Progress Software's Actional Diagnostics gives developers better view into services integrity

Progress Software has leveraged technology from recently acquired Mindreef's SOAPscope to help detect and mend service integrity issues early in the software development cycle.

The Bedford, Mass. company last week announced the development of Progress Actional Diagnostics. This standalone quality and validation desktop product allows developers to build and test XML-based services, including SOAP, REST, and POX. Once services are identified for use, developers can inspect, invoke, test, and create simulations for prototyping and problem solving. [Disclosure: Progress is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Progress also last week held its annual analyst conference in Boston, and it was clear from the presentations that the plucky company is expanding its role and its value to the business solutions level.

As a major OEM provider to other software makers, the Progress brand has often played second fiddle to other brands in the Progress stable (some from acquisitions), such as Sonic, Actional, Apama, DataDirect, IONA, and FUSE. But the company is working to make Progress more identifiable, especially at a business level.

Progress, TIBCO and Sofware AG are the remaining second-tier software infrastructure providers, following a decade-long acquisitions spree and consolidation period.

As such Progress, with annual revenues in the $500 million range, is also setting itself up to move from SOA and SaaS support to take those capabilities and solutions (and OEM model) to the cloud model. Among a slew of glowing customer testimonials at the conference last week, EMC showed how a significant portion of its burgeoning cloud offerings that are powered by Progress infrastructure products.

I think we can expect more love between EMC and Progress, as well as more Progress solutions (in modular, best of breed or larger holistic deployments) finding a place under the hood of more cloud offerings. That will be double apparant as the larger players like IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft create their own clouds. We're heading into some serius channel conflicts as these clouds compete with a rapidly fracturing market.

I was also impressed with the OSGi support that Progress is bringing to market, something that should appeal to many developers and architects alike.

Back on the product news, Actional Diagnostics includes a new feature called Application X-Ray, which allows developers to see what happens inside their service. For example, they can see how downstream services are being used, what messages are sent on queues, details of Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) invocations, database queries, and other relevant interdependencies along their transaction path.

This helps them identify why tests have failed or why services are not performing as designed, so that a service can be reengineered as needed before it moves to production.

In addition, load checking lets users test the performance and scalability of services before they are delivered to a performance testing team. Developers can check dozens of simultaneous threads or users per service, monitor CPU utilization and how much Java VM is being used. These are the kinds of integrity backstops that will be in high demand in the cloud and for PaaS buildouts.

Actional Diagnostics is currently in beta testing with customers and will soon be available as a free download. Developers interested in being sent an alert when the software download is available can register at: