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So Many Frameworks...So Little Time: What's an Architect to Do?

The relationships between The Open Group Architecture Framework and the U.S. Department of Defense Architecture Framework

Numerous architecture framework standards have been developed and have matured over the past decade. Some of these standards overlap in their focus areas, and others address completely different aspects of the architecting process. In this latter case, a natural synergy can sometimes be identified and leveraged between frameworks.

An industry working group was formed to analyze and document the relationships between The Open Group Architecture Framework and the U.S. Department of Defense Architecture Framework, identifying complementary areas between these two standards. This article is a brief summary of that initiative's detailed 50-page white paper, "The Open Group Architecture Framework and the U.S. Department of Defense Architecture Framework."

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is primarily focused on architecting methodology - i.e, the "how to" aspect of architecture without prescribing description constructs to document the architecture. The U.S. Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) is focused on architecture description via a set of views without specifying any methodology. The complementary aspects of these two frameworks lead to the question: "Can architects benefit from leveraging both TOGAF and DoDAF together?" Two years ago, this is what a working group that included representatives from MITRE, Raytheon, and Architecting-the-Enterprise - supported by members of The Open Group Architecture Forum - set out to study. Core members of the group included individuals from the official DoDAF and TOGAF standards working groups. The baseline versions of the documents used were TOGAF Version 8.1 and DoDAF Version 1.0. Upcoming revisions of both these standards will heighten their support of architecting service-oriented systems, and both are valuable enablers to architects and architecture teams.

Below are some of the group's key findings, as well as insights into how architects can use these frameworks to align their business objectives better with IT infrastructure and systems.

Architecture Methodology: The Open Group Architecture Framework
The Open Group first developed the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) in 1995, baselining it from the Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management (TAFIM), a series of architecture guidance documents provided to them by the U.S. Department of Defense. The DOD spent millions of dollars and several years evolving its TAFIM before turning it over to the Open Group for its ongoing maturation and dissemination across government and industry. TAFIM was subsequently retired.

The ADM is a prescriptive, step-by-step instruction guide for "how to" architect. It's presented in a series of phases that guide the architect or architecture team through the architecting lifecycle of system development. The first seven releases of TOGAF ADM (1995-2001) were focused on providing technical architecting guidance. The 2002 release of TOGAF 8.0 extended this earlier technical focus into four areas: business, data, applications, and technology architectures. This "collection" of architectures is commonly known as enterprise architecture - the interrelation and integration of business and technology. This same business and technology interrelation and integration are at the heart of service-oriented architecture design and implementation.

Architecture Description: U.S. Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF)
The primary focus of the DoDAF is architecture description - it prescribes a specific set of models that illustrate the architecture of concern. The framework defines 26 products (see Table 1) that reflect three different architectural viewpoints: operational, systems, and technical standards. DoDAF was developed to support interoperability between systems whose architectures are described with this framework. It's easier to determine how to integrate systems when they are modeled in a "common language" so that system interfaces, data formats and exchanges, implemented standards, etc. can be analyzed with the operational and system behaviors and structure.

DoDAF has formed the basis for several other frameworks such the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense Architecture Framework (MODAF) and the soon-to-be-published Standardization Agreement (STANAG) NATO Architecture Framework. DoDAF is comprised of two volumes: "Definitions & Guidelines" and "Product Descriptions."

A supplemental DoDAF Deskbook was also published to provide guidance to DoDAF users. This Deskbook consolidates supporting information such as white papers, case studies, discussion on the Core Architecture Data Model (CADM), architecture tools, Universal Reference Resources (URRs), and the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) reference models.

Results Summary
The TOGAF/DoDAF working group validated its original hypothesis that there is synergy across a number of areas between these two frameworks, where DoDAF views can be used throughout the steps of the TOGAF ADM phases to develop a model of the overall architecture. The model can be used to document architectural decisions made following the TOGAF architecture methodology and through ongoing iteration and evolution of all architecture artifacts across the system development lifecycle. The general relationships between the DoDAF views and TOGAF phases are as follows:

  • DoDAF's All Views primarily aligns with TOGAF Preliminary Phase and Phase A: Architecture Vision.
  • DoDAF's Operational View primarily aligns with TOGAF Phase B: Business Architecture and Phase C: Information Systems Architecture activities.
  • DoDAF's Systems View primarily aligns with TOGAF Phase C: Information Systems Architecture, Phase D: Technology Architecture, Phase F: Migration Planning, and Phase E: Opportunities and Solutions.
  • DoDAF's Technical Standards View primarily aligns with TOGAF Phase D: Technology Architecture, Technical Reference Model, and Phase E: Opportunities and Solutions.
Table 2 overviews the primary relationships identified through analysis of these two leading architecture frameworks. Specific tailoring guidelines to adapt the TOGAF ADM methodology steps for DoDAF model outputs are documented in the detailed white paper of this analysis effort.

Relevance of the Findings
While the TOGAF/DoDAF working group initially set out simply to compare the two frameworks, its efforts recognized that the frameworks were complimentary. What this means for architects today is that they can immediately use the TOGAF ADM to build DoDAF architectures, and, in doing so, leverage a more robust, comprehensive, and complete enterprise architecture development method designed with business alignment in mind.

The working group also observed that both frameworks are currently dealing with potential gaps such as support for service orientation. The organizations that maintain these different frameworks would benefit should they come together to harmonize their efforts and work on evolving their respective frameworks to deal with the gaps such as security viewpoints, Service Oriented Architectures, and net centricity. For the architect, this ultimately means being better equipped to practice within a much broader space, which is a significant advantage in today's competitive environment.

Each complex architecting endeavor requires several key elements to be successful: repeatable methodology, standardized output models, formal validation, governance, collaboration guidelines, configuration management, tools, and patterns. The architect can address many of these needs through the application of The Open Group's Architecture Development Method as a disciplined process in developing the Department of Defense Architecture Framework set of views to model the architecture.

More Stories By Fatma Dandashi

Dr. Fatma Dandashi leads an Object Management Group (OMG) effort to define a UML profile for the DOD Architecture Framework. Prior to this activity she supported the development of Air Force Enterprise Architecture for SAF/XC. Dr. Dandashi was task lead on the MITRE development team responsible for DoD Architecture Framework Version 1.0 (Volumes I and II), and currently serves on the working group developing DoDAF Version 2.0.

Dr. Dandashi holds a PhD in information technology from George Mason University, ann MS in computer science from the University of Louisiana (Lafayette), and a BA in computers/business administration from the Lebanese American University.

More Stories By Terence Blevins

Terence Blevins is branch chief and lead architect, Air Force Operational Support Enterprise Architecture, at Mitre. He has been involved with the architecture discipline since the '80s when he was at the NCR Corporation as director of strategic architecture. He has been involved with evolving this discipline since 1996 when he first was introduced to The Open Group's Architecture Forum. Terence was co-chair of the Architecture Forum and frequent contributor of content to TOGAF including the Business Scenario Method.

He holds undergraduate and Masters degrees in Mathematics from Youngstown State University. He is TOGAF 8 certified.

More Stories By Rolf Siegers

Rolf Siegers is Raytheon’s corporate director of architecture & systems integration and an Engineering Fellow. He also sits on Raytheon’s corporate Architecture Review Board (ARB), leading and supporting a variety of architecture-related initiatives.

Rolf’s program experience includes leading several multi-discipline software architecture teams for large-scale, software-intensive national and international systems since 1997. He is a certified TOGAF-8 architect (The Open Group), ATAMÒ Evaluator (SEI), and Software Architecture Professional (SEI). Rolf holds bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from Huntingdon College and is a member of IEEE and INCOSE.

More Stories By Judith Jones

Judith Jones has served as an advisor to Brussels, CCTA and industry organizations on enterprise architecture and IS/IT architecture and frameworks, eGovernment, practitioner of TOGAF, and Prince 2. Her background experience includes 10 years as an independent consultant and 20+ years as a business manager with ICL, now Fujitsu Services.

Judith is an extremely active member of The Open Group and has worked with their Architecture Forum to establish enterprise architecture development processes and strategies suitable for global government and private sector usage. She currently leads the TOGAF 9 development effort.

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