Tag Archives: EA Chasm

#Graphitization of .NET Applications: Marrying Open EA Data with Graph Databases

[Updated October 20, 2016]

As I’ve worked to support open access to enterprise architecture data by creating the ModelMate project, the range and diversity of how enterprise data can be analyzed and visualized has proved to be amazing.  Here’s yet another example: the marrying of open EA data in ModelMate models with a graph database platform …in less than 1 day.

The native (schema-less) representation for a graph database mirrors the ArchiMate* metamodel one-for-one:

  • Entities that support named types (“labels”)
  • Relationships between directed pairs of entities that also support named types (“relationship types”)
  • Unlimited property sets per entity
  • Unlimited property sets per relationship

Add to this, powerful query capabilities, a small footprint, and hyper-scalability. For example, being able to find all of the ArchiMate concepts that are 1, 2, 3, or an infinite number of relationships away from each of the Application Components in a large model and have these queries run and visualize in milliseconds (see the examples below).

For ModelMate’s first graph database integration, Neo4j from Neo Technologies was used. It was simple and efficient to install and was useable within a few minutes.  After working most of the morning to learn the Cypher query language to integrate and query the ModelMate data, the afternoon was spent exploring the graph model and experimenting with a range of queries. The most recent ModelMate logical architecture looks like the following (October 19, 2016).


Figure 1. ModelMate Logical Architecture

Automated Application Architecture Analysis

What are some of the results?  Here’s a series of views created with simple, single-line queries against the ModelMate graph. The scenario is automated application architecture analysis to support migration of on-premise applications to the cloud.

This version of the VetContext ModelMate model used for this example included:

  • 8714 elements (nodes) – files, assemblies, modules, methods, fields, method calls, and field references represented as ArchiMate application and technology layer concepts
  • 16,210 relationships – modeled as ArchiMate relationships that linked the above elements into a ModelMate graph

TIP: If you click on each image, you can check out the single line query at the top of each screenshot.


Figure 2. Application Architecture: Contains and References Relations (1 hop)


Figure 3. Application Architecture: Contains, Defines, and References Relations (2 hops)


Figure 4. Application Architecture: Accesses, Calls, Contains, Defines, References, References and Type For Relations (3 hops)


Figure 5. Application Architecture: Visualize Relations between all Application Components, Artifacts, and System Software Components (any number of hops)


Figure 6. VetContext ModelMate Graph: All Application Components (any number of hops)

In Figure 7 below you can see the much smaller VetContext application in the green circle in contrast with all of the public classes and methods found in the Entity Framework assembly from Microsoft (blue circle).


Figure 7. VetContext Application References into the Microsoft Entity Framework

Impressive for 1-day’s worth of effort (including training).

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation

Mail: mwherman@parallelspace.net

p.s. What is the VetContext ModelMate model that I’m using for these blog postings?

The VetContext ModelMate model is based on the Microsoft Entity Framework sample of the same name from the book Programming Entity Framework: Code First by Julia Lerman and Rowan Miller. The ModelMate model is comprised of data from all of the .NET assemblies, modules, type definitions (including classes, enums, etc.), method definitions, field definitions, method calls and field accesses as well as the physical files that store the assemblies in the VetContext sample application. A simplified VetContext class diagram (from Visual Studio) appears below.


Figure 8. VetContext Class Diagram

The ModelMate Scanner for .NET Application Migration reads a folder of all of the .exe and .dll files for one or more .NET applications and builds the ModelMate model. No source code is needed. The scanner reads and parses the intermediate language (MSIL) directly.

p.p.s. The original ModelMate SQL Server schema (the original data source for the ModelMate graph) looks similar to the following. This was used before ModelMate included support for graph databases.


Figure 9. ModelMate SQL Server (non-graph database) Schema
(obsoleted by the ModelMate migration to Neo4j graph database)

 * ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.


Filed under ArchiMate, Automated Application Architecture Analysis, Crossing the EA Charm, Data Science, Enterprise Architecture, Graphitization, Progressive Enterprise Architecture Map (PEAM), The Open Group

Crossing the EA Chasm: “Where does IoT [Internet of Things] fit in?”

In the article The EA Chasm: Open Repository Strategies for Enterprise Architecture, Vijay Sharma asked the question: “Where does IoT [Internet of Things] fit in?”. Vijay, you couldn’t have chosen a more perfect example or a better question.

The one-word answer is “everywhere” – no sarcasm intended.

The “1000 word” answer can be found in the following diagram based on the Progressive Enterprise Architect Map (PEAM) model (click to enlarge):

Progressive EA Model 1-0-7-PEAMS-Chasms-IoT.png

The first thing that strikes me about this diagram is: with the need to complete 15+ major, cross-functional, interdependent activities, it is completely understandable why major digital business initiatives fail or, otherwise, “wither and die on the vine” before they’re completed.  This applies to all digital business initiatives – not just IoT.

Second, what happens when an IoT (or any other enterprise) initiative starts off as a “skunkworks” project?  Placing the question in the context of the above diagram, what if IoT starts off on the far, far right (activities 12-15) as unplanned, uncoordinated activities by a group without any defined business drivers, linkage to the business strategy, or connection to the enterprise architecture?

Food for thought (and time for breakfast).

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation

p.s. Why was activity 16 (IoT Platforms and Tools) placed inside the Enterprise Architecture Chasm?

It’s mostly unrelated to the above discussion but it hints at the idea that IoT approaches can also be used in a non-traditional way to Listen to signals in the  Enterprise Assets, Systems, and Processes (performance data, usage information, planned and unplanned changes in the operational processes and systems, etc.), and then use this data to annotate the Core Enterprise Architecture. BI techniques can be used to analyse and visualize the annotated EA model to create new Designs.  The coordination of the building and  deployment of the new Designs hopefully results in Transformative Changes being applied to the Enterprise’s Strategies, Systems, Assets, and Processes to produce additional, meaningful business value.

IoT Platforms and Tools are enablers for listening and responding to the “hum” of an organization’s systems, assets and processes, and, when fully realized, can also be used to distribute Transformative Changes in a software-defined enterprise.

To read more about using IoT to create, maintain and manage an enterprise architecture, check out External IoT vs. Internal IoT: Beware of the Hype Cycle.

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Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, Crossing the EA Charm, Enterprise Architecture, ModelMate, Progressive Enterprise Architecture Map (PEAM)

Crossing the Enterprise Architecture Chasm


Enterprise Architecture Chasm

What is the Enterprise Architecture Chasm?  First, a quick Google search didn’t find any previous references to the term Enterprise Architecture Chasm, at least not in the context I’m using it.  So what am I talking about?  We need to recognize the difference, the practical gap, that will always exist between EA models, plans, and other artifacts and an enterprise’s actual strategies, systems, assets, and processes. There will always be a gap because of several factors:

  • Time to design
  • Time to plan
  • Time to act
  • Time to operate
  • Time to measure new outcomes

and, lastly, the completeness and faithfulness of transformative changes that are actually implemented relative what’s documented in the enterprise architecture.  Here’s a picture highlighting this gap, the Enterprise Architecture Chasm.


Figure 1. Total Enterprise Architecture Model (TEAM): Enterprise Architecture Chasm

This iterative 4-step management cycle is called the Continuous Transformation Framework. At a given time, there isn’t just 1 Continuous Transformation cycle at work in an organization but there can be several, even hundreds, dependent on the size and complexity of your enterprise.

Homework Question: Which dimensions or metrics can be used to characterize or benchmark the size of the Enterprise Chasm in an organization?

Strategy Chasm

Is the EA Chasm the only chasm?  No.  In most organizations, there is most likely a Strategy Chasm as well – the gap between the organization’s motivations and strategies and what is represented and planned for in the enterprise architecture.  Same set of issues.  They just occur earlier in the process.  Here’s an example of the Strategy Chasm. (Click to enlarge this diagram.)


Figure 2. Team Enterprise Architecture Model (TEAM): Strategy Chasm and Enterprise Architecture Chasm

In the Fall of 2016, two webinars were presented that looked how to extend traditional enterprise architecture methods (e.g. TOGAF) to be more complete/fill in some gaps.  The first talk, 7 Reasons Why IT4IT™ is Good for Architects presented by Dan Warfield and Sven van Dijk, looked to The Open Group’s IT4IT for answers on how to cross the enterprise architecture chasm. The second talk, BIZBOK® Guide and TOGAF® Standard: Business Architecture Value Proposition presented by Chris Armstrong  and Wally McLaughlin, looked at a related set of problems from a Business Architecture and BIZBOK perspective.

To what extent are your EA methods, repositories, and tools helping your organization cross the Strategy Chasm and the EA Chasm?

Will IT4IT and BIZBOK and other methods (e.g. ITIL) help cross or close the gap?

“Time will tell…”

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation

p.s. These diagrams on based on the Progressive Enterprise Architecture Model described here.


Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, continuous transformation, Crossing the EA Charm, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture Chasm, IoT, ModelMate