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  • admin 9:53 am on September 28, 2015 Permalink
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    Forget End State Architecture – Aim for Endless State 

    Often working and discussing amongst peers and customers I hear the term “end state architecture”. It sounds like some magical nirvana where we all work hard to deliver and configure a solution that will meet all of the expectations (and maybe solve world hunger at the same time) at a point in time in the future. The sales division of vendors is partly responsible for this approach because the story usually starts off by defining the current problem as this mass of integration points/issues as depicted below:

    To an end state where life seems so much easier and simple.

    If only it was so easy……

    So in architecture should we aim for an “end state”? Shouldn’t we be aiming for an architecture that will support the business objectives at that particular point in time in the future? Whilst at the same time ensuring our architecture is flexible and adaptable if those business priorities change during the course of the project. Thus the endless state architecture concept.

    The last point above is important because too often we see an end state set in stone and all of a sudden the business priorities change and the cost to shift away from the end state is prohibitive and thus IT pushes on to deliver a solution that all of a sudden doesn’t support the business and the project becomes an expensive white elephant.

    The speed and rapidly changing nature of the analytics industry dictates that we shouldn’t have an end-state architecture but rather an architecture that evolves and adapts as the business changes. In essence there is never an end-state. A bit like a chameleon having to change it’s colour based on the environment it is in.

    Whether we like it or not, that’s the present day operating environment that we have to design architectures in. If you go down to a lower level and apply a traditional architecture approach to Hadoop and Big Data architectures, you’ll forever be chasing your own tail. Hadoop architectures, products and functionality are released at such a rapid rate that for me it is basically a full time job keeping on top of it all. So what’s the point of having an end state architecture when we’ll never reach it? It’s a major contributing factor as to why 68% of IT projects fail.

    Michael Nygard delivered a great speech on the concept of an endless- state architecture. The concept outlined here is that we should create architecture that is specifically optimized for change, with principles about where to place certain decisions and how to adapt over time. Optimized for change is important and as much as possible an architecture should be modular in it’s design. Each component should be best of breed, integrate together yet be swapped in or out over time to adjust to the changing business landscape. Another term applied to this concept is the sentinent enterprise.

    Lastly an evolving architecture also relies on the human element to succeed. The continuity of a cohesive team to deliver the architecture, the tenure of a CIO to ensure it is supported at the executive level and of course the developers and project managers at the coal-face to deliver the functionality to meet the requirements.

    Key tenants of an endless state architecture:

    • Use of open source technologies
    • Enterprise integration standards such as SOAP and Rest Services
    • Commodity hardware that is swappable
    • Skillsets within the team that are relevant and adaptable

    An eye on the changing priorities of the business.

    Ben Davis is a Senior Architect for Teradata Australia based in Canberra. With 18 years of experience in consulting, sales and technical data management roles, he has worked with some of the largest Australian organisations in developing comprehensive data management strategies. He holds a Degree in Law, A post graduate Masters in Business and Technology and is currently finishing his PhD in Information Technology with a thesis in executing large scale algorithms within cloud environments.

    The post Forget End State Architecture – Aim for Endless State appeared first on International Blog.

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