Enterprise Reference Architecture

Ahmed Fattah, woensdag 03 juni 2009

This paper relates my experience in developing and applying an approach that successfully used Reference Architecture to bridge the gap or disconnect between Enterprise Architecture and Project-level Architecture. Although there is a huge amount of information about Reference Architecture, there is considerable confusion about what it is and how it can be used effectively. I analysed and positioned various types of RAs within a simple classification scheme that cleared up some of this confusion. The scheme delineates a category of Reference Architecture which I refer to as Enterprise Reference Architecture (ERA). The paper discusses how ERA can be used to address some of the challenges facing EA including the enterprise-wide adoption of SOA.

Reference Architecture (RA) classification scheme

Although I have used Reference Architectures for a long time, I was surprised recently when reviewing the staggering range of usage of the term. Because I knew what I meant, I assumed that some of these usages must be erroneous. I then realised that this was not the case, at least for the many instances I have surveyed: the culprit is the malleability of the term ‘architecture’ itself. Anything you can think of can have an architecture and so by extension a RA. I tried to find a way to classify this huge number of 'things' called Reference Architecture and I found useful two dimensions: breadth of Coverage and level of Abstraction.


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