At the Gartner EA Summit in London it seemed like there was quite a bit of talk on the solution showcase floor regarding an architecture modeling standard called Archimate. I’m not sure if this was due to the fact that this was a European event (ArchiMate derived from the Netherlands) or if there is truly significant reasons to have the buzz.
It looks like there are two primary drivers behind all the buzz:
- Open Group has now adopted
- Customer & Tooling Vendor up take
What is ArchiMate?
If you are not familiar with ArchiMate, it is open architecture modeling standard. It focuses on the visualization of viewpoints and notations on models. It was a result of a 4 million Euro Dutch Government project to create a unifying architecture modeling standard. The standard conforms to the traditional BAIT model (Business, Application, Information, Technology) for representing architecture descriptions.
There are some unique details to the ArchiMate standard which include how they implement behaviors. You can see this in the meta-model below:
There is a notion of the Structure and the Behavior aspects of an architecture. There is a clear separation in the ArchiMate implementation.
Another thing I like about ArchiMate is that it focuses on a core problem rather than trying to solve many problems in a not so great way. This of course is architecture modeling. The models are at a higher level of abstraction than design or development models. Do you see limited or no overlap with standards such as UML and BPMN. There are touch points in these other modeling languages. AchiMate can also be stitched into existing EA frameworks such as TOGAF. There are resources available that describe the touch points between the modeling standard and the EA process framework.
If you are not familiar with ArchiMate I would recommend the following sources to get caught up:
- ArchiMate Quick Reference & Using ArchiMate
- Open Group ArchiMate site
- Sethuraj Nair post "Archimate It’s Time had Come"
- Open Group Research Work
Vendor Support of ArchiMate
Arguably one of the major deciding factors in a standard is the uptake and productization of the implementation of a standard. Surprisingly, there has been a great deal of recent activity with picking up this modeling standard.
There were a lot of vendors that claimed that they had support for it. These include:
For all the folks using Office tooling there is a solution for you as well. ArchiMate stencils for Microsoft Visio.
Open Group and ArchiMate
From what I can tell with talking with some Open Group members here at the conference is that the Open Group has indeed picked up ArchiMate. There is still discussion in the architecture working groups around how this will be positioned, aligned and evangelized by the Open Group.
As you can see from the agenda items for the upcoming Munich event, there is a great deal of planning that still needs to occur.
- ArchiMate Standard Version 1.0
- ArchiMate certification
- 2009 Planning and Discussion
- Formation of workgroups and standing committees
- Coordination status with other groups
- Charter discussion and approval
So back to the question, is ArchiMate the next big modeling standard for architecture? It has the potential to be so. As mentioned before, between the Open Group and the tool vendors the standard is coming out strong. It is hard to tell at this point. We really need to see this in the wild to really get a grip on if this is yet another academic standard or something that is adoptable by the masses.
I think ArchiMate had found a good home at the Open Group. TOGAF does a great job at the process but needs more grounding standards to make TOGAF all that more actionable for enterprises.