ArchiMate Patterns – Technology Layer

The technology represents the low level hardware, software and connectivity.

Much like last weeks Application Layer post, I’ll split this out for the basic pattern, and then a number of different examples which will hopefully make some sense.

Pattern

Node

A node represents a computational or physical resource that hosts, manipulates, or interacts with other computational or physical resources.

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The “Node” is the most generic representation of a server. I tend to think of the node as the container for operating system, system software, artefacts and the physical hardware.

Device

A device is a physical IT resource upon which system software and artifacts may be stored or deployed for execution.

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The usage of ArchiMate and Archi models should be derived from the questions that you want to answer. When I first began modelling, I wanted to separate the logical server (node) from the physical or virtual server (device) on which they were executing. This separation allows an architect to query the model to find where all particular makes/models/configurations of physical devices are used in the architecture.

System Software

System software represents software that provides or contributes to an environment for storing, executing, and using software or data deployed within it.

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System software represents systems running on a server which don’t tend to offer “user interactive” interfaces, but can be considered servers, which may be serving an interactive Application. E.g. Apache, Oracle Forms, MS SQL, Java EE, Ubuntu, etc.

Artifact

An artifact represents a piece of data that is used or produced in a software development process, or by deployment and operation of an IT system.

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The Artifact element seems to be the most “overloaded” concept within Archimate, as a result I tend to use <<Stereotypes>> to differentiate between different usages.

  • At it’s most basic, the Artifact element represents a file on a file system.
  • <<Software>>: The “raw” executable files which implements a logical “Application” or “System Software” i.e. In ArchiMate the application/software is the running instance which enables functions/behaviours, etc, the underlying files which are executed by the system or define configuration are represented as Artifacts.
  • <<Database>>: The physical database (or schema) which stores the data in a table structure.
  • <<Operating System>>: Similar to <<Software>> I tend to pull out Operating Systems as a separate artifact to which represents the “installation files” for the OS, with the installed instance of the OS represented as System Software.

Technology Function

A technology function represents a collection of technology behavior that can be performed by a node.

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An internal function of the system, e.g. Transcode, Copy, Format

Technology Service

A technology service represents an explicitly defined exposed technology behavior.

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The technology Service exposes the underlying functionality from the Technology layer.

Technology Interface

A technology interface represents a point of access where technology services offered by a node can be accessed.

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The interface by which functionality or services within a system is exposed. This could be SFTP, SMTP, etc.

Communication Network

A communication network represents a set of structures that connects computer systems or other electronic devices for transmission, routing, and reception of data or data-based communications such as voice and video.

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ArchiMate is not really a tool for detailed network modelling, but can be useful for defining how the infrastructure is connected at a high level.

Facility

Facility is part of the “Physical Layer” rather than Technology, however I believe it is useful to highlight here.

A facility represents a physical structure or environment.

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Physical building or location, e.g. server room, office building, room, etc.

Equipment

Equipment is part of the “Physical Layer” rather than Technology, however I believe it is useful to highlight here.

Equipment represents one or more physical machines, tools, or instruments that can create, use, store, move, or transform materials.

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The Equipment element can be used to model other types of devices, e.g. MFDs, Printers, Cameras, etc.

Example 1: Desktop Pattern

This example shows a basic desktop computer with Windows 10 installed connected to a printer, hosting a desktop application.

Example 2: Server Pattern

This shows two servers, a database server and an application server. Each server has an instance of Ubuntu 17.10 installed. The Application Server makes use of the database hosted on the Database Server.

Example 3: Cluster Pattern

Most service provided by an infrastructure are clustered such that a failure in one instance doesn’t impact the delivery of the service. In this example I have used the ArchiMate “Collaboration” concept to show that the Mail Server System Software is part of a Mail Server cluster.

A technology collaboration represents an aggregate of two or more nodes that work together to perform collective technology behavior.

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Example 4: Hosting and Network Pattern

This example shows the facility which hosts each server, the location of that facility and a basic layout of the network connectivity.

A location is a place or position where structure elements can be located or behavior can be performed.

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The ArchiMate Location element can be useful to indicate geography of an architecture. Useful for Privacy Impact Assessment to highlight UK, EU and US components.

These patterns and examples have been modelled using the Archi tool, and have been made available via GitHub here ArchiMate Metamodel and Patterns.

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