Using ArchiMate for describing infrastructures

I have some experience with modelling IT architecture when working for a number of clients. What I found is that if infrastructure modelling is done at all, it is most often done using ArchiMate (which is supported by many tools like BizzDesign Architect, Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect, Abacus, etc.). The problem with ArchiMate is, however, that it is designed to model several architectural layers in coherence and not specifically the layers themselves.

Archimate does support the infrastructure layer, but only at a basic level - just like it supports application modelling at the basic level. When, for instance, the application layer is modelled in ArchiMate, the detailed design is typically done in another modelling language, like UML, which software developers use to write code.

Infrastructure designs, however, don't have a defined language like UML, and are therefore often drawn in free formats using Visio. Which is fine in most cases by the way. ArchiMate, as a global standard, is not very suited for formal infrastructure modelling (try to model virtualisation for example, or a high availability cluster), but it is the best we have at this point in time.

The best way to start using ArchiMate for infrastructures is to define infrastructure services (the services we provide to the applications, like file storage, or Internet access) and model the infrastructure components and their connections below that.

This entry was posted on Friday 06 September 2013

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Sjaak Laan

Recommended links

Ruth Malan
Gaudi site
Esther Barthel's site on virtualization
Eltjo Poort's site on architecture


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