Frameworks and application modernization

Elements of various enterprise architecture frameworks help you make sound decisions when you address mission critical efforts such as application modernization. While these on the main reflect basic best practices, some bits are specific to the unique aspects of the modernization quest.

Frameworks mean different things -  sometimes too many different things. In the context of enterprise architecture frameworks tend to represent a way to rationalize and regiment the work of software development and maintenance in order to achieve larger goals and to obtain such results repeatedly.

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TOGAF, for example, divides architecture development work into phases addressing the different issues that typically must be dealt with in order for projects to be successful. Phases focus on the business architecture, the information systems architecture, data architecture, application architecture and so on.  Guidelines are defined to clarify process, and roles are assigned.

For its part, the Zachman Framework brings sense to the architectural effort by framing important elements and asking some simple questions – simple questions that are often overlooked in the rush of the moment in the enterprise. Data (what), function (how), network (where), people (who), time (when) and motivation (why).

Each of the major frameworks devotes some attention to the unique issues that arise in modernizing legacy application portfolios. In fact, there are a variety of basic approaches one can take in dealing with legacy. Work of the Object Management Group's Architecture-Driven Modernization (ADM) Task Force is notable in this regard. The group outlines some options to consider as you seek to understand and evolve existing software assets. These options ["MDA" here refers to "Model-Driven Architecture"] include:

  • Software improvement
  • Modifications
  • Interoperability
  • Refactoring
  • Restructuring
  • Reuse
  • Porting
  • Migration
  • Translation into another language
  • Enterprise application integration
  • Service-oriented architecture
  • MDA migration

As Gartner Analyst Henry Peyret recently told SearchSOA.com in "TOGAF and the Framework Universe of 2010" :  “When you adopt a framework you need to adapt it to your needs, tuning it to what you need to accomplish.” That may be especially true when application modernization is on the menu.

This was first published in February 2011

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