Tag Archives: ModelMate

Crossing the EA Chasm: ArchiMate 3.0, fix it or re-purpose it?

COPYRIGHT © 2016-2017 by Michael Herman, Toronto Canada. All rights reserved.

It is the end of January 2017 and, recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the LinkedIn ArchiMate group about the ArchiMate language for enterprise architecture (EA), its “idioms”, usability, adoption, etc.

In addition, in the article Crossing the EA Chasm: Reflections on the Current State of ArchiMate, I asked some questions related to ArchiMate’s purpose and whether it is adequately addressing all of enterprise architecture’s stakeholders’ needs. Crossing the EA Chasm: Re-visioning the ArchiMate Specification is a related article.

These discussions led to this short-form question, the key topic for today:

ArchiMate 3.0, fix it or re-purpose it?

Fixing ArchiMate

On the “fix it” side of the discussion, people will literally be working to fix the language forever. The Open Group is committed to supporting these kinds of efforts; it’s the foundation for why they exist.

But is there a better, compatible approach?  I think there is.

Re-purposing ArchiMate

As a starter, let’s look at the evolution of and technology hierarchy that supports high-level programming languages. Pick your favorite language. Many of you will choose Java; I’m a C# person. (It doesn’t really matter.)

Before the advent of managed, cross-platform execution environments (like the Java VM and the .NET Runtime that provide memory management and garbage collection, advanced exception management, data protection, secure execution contexts, etc.), prior languages like C and C++ followed a simple compilation model as illustrated in Figure 1.

cpp-compilation-model-1

Figure 1. C/C++ Compilation Model

This scenario is synonymous with the current lower-level language support available in ArchiMate 3.0. There’s effectively one language level and that’s all you have.

The C# (.NET) compilation model ups the ante by introducing a cross-platform intermediate language (Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL)) as shown in Figure 2.  Java achieves something similar using Java bytecode.

csharp-compilation-model1Figure 2. C# Compilation Model: Role of the Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL)

Re-purposing ArchiMate as a Lower-Level Intermediate EA Language

In an approach similar to the way the .NET  Framework uses MSIL, ArchiMate can be re-purposed as the lower-level intermediate language for creating higher-level EA languages.

The article Modeling a Company and Its Locations, Markets, Employees, Investors & Roles: Proposals, Wishes & Dreams is a small but real-life, practical example of how this can be executed to create a new EA language for describing Business Organizations (as illustrated below in Figure 3).

parallelspace_modelmate_trumpworld2

Figure 3. Business Organization EA Language, an ArchiMate 3.0 Specialization

This approach more easily and more formally supports the concept of domain-specific languages (DSLs) for enterprise architecture.

As The Open Group moves ArchiMate forward, the published higher-level EA languages can incrementally adopt the new changes – in the same way the Java JIT compilers and Microsoft JIT compilers are updated to adopt new instruction sets from Intel or AMD.

Making It Real

The Archi modeling tool can easily be adapted to serve as the reference implementation for these new EA languages. This is relatively easy to accomplish because all of the ArchiMate relationships remain the same; and, at least initially, it’s simply a matter of extending Archi’s existing ArchiMate elements with families of new elements that address the scope of each new EA DSL.  It is a SMOP.

More food for thought… Please post your comments below.

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation
mwherman@parallelspace.net

*ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

4 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, Automated Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Crossing the EA Charm, Domain Specification Languages (DSL), Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture Chasm, The Open Group

Modeling a Company and Its Locations, Markets, Employees, Investors & Roles: Proposals, Wishes & Dreams

COPYRIGHT © 2016-2017 by Michael Herman, Toronto Canada. All rights reserved.

This article presents some new approaches for modeling answers to the following frequently asked question:

How do I model X in ArchiMate?

NOTE: You are encouraged to try to model these examples for yourself: to start learning how to “think in ArchiMate” as your second or third written language. Archi is a great free tool for learning the ArchiMate language. You can download the Archi .archimate file containing the model used for this article from here. You can download the latest version of the Archi 4.0 modeling tool from here (which includes full support for the ArchiMate 3.0 language).

ArchiMate 3.0 is used as the baseline enterprise architecture modeling language for this discussion; especially the new Grouping element.

The Proposals

There are 2 new proposals described in this article: one more generic and one more specific.

  1. Proposal 1: A new (general) approach for visually presenting answers to the question “How do I model X in ArchiMate?” using a metamodel-level reference model modeling strategy
  2. Proposal 2: A specific approach (reference model) for modeling a Company and its Locations, Markets, Employees, Investors, etc. and their Roles.

The second proposal is an example or use case for the former.

Proposal 1: Modeling of Best Practice Modeling Patterns

Proposal 1 is illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2. These figures illustrate a general approach for modeling and visually presenting answers to the question “How do I model X in ArchiMate?”.

Rather than provide simple, less-informative, textual answers such as “use Business Collaborations to model Companies” or in ArchiMate 3.0, “use Groupings to model Companies”, why not:

  • Leverage Specialization relationships to model, name, and visually illustrate, in these examples, alternative representations of a Company element
  • From a presentation perspective, place the new best practices modeling pattern on the left – side-by-side – with the portion of the applicable elements of the base-level ArchiMate metamodel on the right

as illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

NOTE: Proposal 1 is illustrated with 2 examples. The merits of the individual examples are discussed below in Proposal 2. The comparison of these 2 examples is not part of Proposal 1.

parallelspace_modelmate_trumpworld1

Figure 1. Metamodel-level Reference Model for a Company using Business Collaboration

parallelspace_modelmate_trumpworld2

Figure 2. Metamodel-level Reference Model for a Company using Grouping

Proposal 2: Specific approach (reference model) for modeling a Company

Proposal 2 asks the question: Of the 2 options presented above (or any additional alternative options), which option represents a best practice reference model for modeling a Company and its Locations, Markets, Employees, Investors, etc. and their Roles.

The only tangible difference between the modeling strategy in Figure 1 vs. Figure 2 is:

  • Figure 1 derives Business Organization from Business Collaboration
  • Figure 2 derives Business Organization from Grouping (a new element introduced in ArchiMate 3.0)

These choices, in turn, have a secondary effect in terms of the valid set of relationships that can be used to compose or aggregate the elements that comprise a Business Organization.

To aid your consideration, Figure 3 provides a more concrete example using the second option: using Groupings to represent Companies (my current preferred solution).

NOTE: The goal of these models is to model the active structure of a Business Organization which excludes concepts like Business Processes and Business Services.

parallelspace_modelmate_bridgewater1

Figure 3. Proposal 2 Example: Bridgewater Associates

What do you think?

Please add your comments, thoughts, and questions below.

Best regards,

Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation
mwherman@parallelspace.net

*ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

4 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, Automated Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Crossing the EA Charm, Definitions, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture Chasm, Graphitization, ModelMate Information Architecture for ArchiMate

Crossing the EA Chasm: Re-visioning ArchiMate 3.0 Relations as Verbs

COPYRIGHT © 2016-2017 by Michael Herman, Toronto Canada. All rights reserved.

[Updated: February 6, 2017]

In the article Crossing the EA Chasm: Re-visioning the ArchiMate Specification, I proposed a new architectural framework for re-visioning the current ArchiMate 3.0 Specification.

In this article, I propose using the following list of verbs to either augment or replace the existing ArchiMate relationship names in the Specification and move towards a more humane, more understandable, more usable, and more acceptable language for enterprise architecture.

modelmate-relationship-verbs-2017-02-06

Table 1. Proposed List of Verbs to Augment or Replace
the Current ArchiMate 3.0 Relationship Names

An interesting observation: Note the verbs that start with “Is*”.  They appear in either the “Source-Target” (ForwardVerb) or the “Target-Source” (ReverseVerb) columns but not both for a given relationship.  This wasn’t deliberate – this is just the way it turned out.  Does this indicate anything about which direction is the natural direction for the relationship to point to?

What do you think of this proposal?  Please post a comment below, email me, or post a reply in the LinkedIn ArchiMate group.

To learn more about the background and history of this proposal, check out:

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation

mwherman@parallelspace.net

*ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

2 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, Business Value, Crossing the EA Charm, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture Chasm, ModelMate, ModelMate Information Architecture for ArchiMate, ModelMate Information Architecture for Languages, The Open Group

Crossing the EA Chasm: ArchiMate “Keep Calm and Have IT Your Way”

archimate-have-it-your-way

What would the nirvana of “Have IT Your Way” EA actually look and feel like?

First, a bit of required pre-reading: check out Crossing the EA Chasm: Re-visioning the ArchiMate Specification.

My apologies if you haven’t already read the preceding article. It was part of an initial draft of this article until I realized the topic of ArchiMate customization needed to stand on its own.  It became the main course; leaving this article to be the dessert and, hence, much more enjoyable.

This article consists of alternate visualizations of the same underlying ModelMate enterprise architecture model and, for the most part, the same view.  The only variables are the modeling scheme and zoom factor used to render each view:

  • Colored dots
  • ArchiMate iconography
  • Microsoft Enterprise Viso Stencil
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) 2D iconography
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) 3D iconography

The first figure is an animation/slide show. It depicts a succession of views – each drawn with one of the above schemes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Figure 1. Single Open EA Repository: “Have It Your Way” Views
(Dots, ArchiMate, Microsoft Enterprise Stencil, AWS 2D Icons, AWS 3D Icons)

Zoom factor is an interesting variable. In the first 2 frames of the above animation, the transition from the large scale view using the “dots” scheme to the smaller scale view using the ArchiMate scheme is one example of how different schemes can benefit from being used together in the same view. In this example, it’s the benefit of masking the detail in large scale views while allowing the detail to be unwrapped in small scale views. The benefit is more esthetically pleasing and understandable views for each range of zoom factors.

parallelspace-modelmate-archimate-detail

Figure 2. ArchiMate Notation: View Detail
(same underlying ModelMate model)

Figure 2 renders the view using the ArchiMate scheme, primarily. In addition, the colors of the dots denote the combination of schemes that are available in this ModelMate model. The top color of each dot denotes the ArchiMate element type and the bottom color denotes the element type based on a fine-grained Microsoft enterprise schema/taxonomy. For example, the highlighted component is a SQL Server Instance (denoted by the dark gray color in the top half of the dot). The yellow-green color (aided by the icon) identify the component as an ArchiMate infrastructure service. (Click on Figure 2 to enlarge it.)

parallelspace-modelmate-microsoft-detail

Figure 3. Microsoft Enterprise Visio Stencil: View Detail
(same underlying ModelMate model)

Figure 3 is a similar view to Figure 2 but the Microsoft Enterprise Visio Stencil is used as the primary scheme. The pink color of the selected component denotes that it is an IP Subnet; the dark purple, an ArchiMate Network element. (Click on Figure 3 to enlarge it.)

parallelspace-modelmate-aws3d-detail

Figure 4. Amazon Web Services (AWS) 3D Icons: View Detail
(same underlying ModeMate model)

Figure 4 is virtually identical to Figure 3 except the AWS 3D set of icons is used as the primary scheme for rendering this view. (Click on Figure 4 to enlarge it.)

Each of these visualizations was rendering using the Linkurious graph visualizer running against a ModelMate model materialized in a Neo4j graph database.

Next Steps

More nirvana? Being able to see multiple schemes, side-by-side and interconnected at the same time rendered in a single view (e.g. ArchiMate for on-premise, AWS and/or Azure schemes used for the cloud, MS SharePoint stencil for the SharePoint information architecture, etc.). “More news at 11…”.

The Aperitif

Lastly and simply for your humor, I offer the following cartoon as the aperitif.

eamadeeasy

Figure 5. “Enterprise Architecture Made Easy”
Credit: Geek&Poke

Have IT Your Way.

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation

mwherman@parallelspace.net

*ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

3 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate, Automated Application Architecture Analysis, Automated Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Crossing the EA Charm, Enterprise Architecture, ModelMate, Progressive Enterprise Architecture Map (PEAM)

Crossing the EA Chasm: Automating Enterprise Architecture Modeling #2

[Updated November 6, 2016: Added Database/Web Services Farm Example #2]

In the previous article Crossing the EA Chasm: Automating Enterprise Architecture Modeling, I included a simple example of how a current state enterprise architecture model can be created and maintained automatically.

The same ModelMate enterprise architecture model has now been extended to include a total of 832,789 ArchiMate entities connected by 828,859 relationships (with several million property values) and was created automatically from scratch in about 15 minutes.

Database/Web Services Farm Example #1 (Single Subnet)

Below is a simple example of an automatically generated view depicting the database services and web services configured on the 38 servers connected to a particular IP subnet.  There’s a total of 355 nodes in this accurate and up-to-date current state view. (Click the image to enlarge it)

parallelspace-modelmate-web-database-server-farm1

Figure 1. Database/Web Services Farm Example #1 (Single Subnet)

Pretty cool. The green dots are database services (SQL Server instances to be exact – almost every possibly product edition can be found in this subnet: SQL Server Express, Developer, Enterprise, Datacenter, etc.) modeled as Infrastructure Services; the blue dots, servers (Windows physical and virtual servers) modeled as Infrastructure Nodes; and, the purple dots, web servers (IIS virtual directory applications to be exact) modeled as Infrastructure Functions.

The small orange dots represent the network adapter configurations of the network adapters configured into each server.  The most central dot is the IP gateway (network router) for this subnet.

Database/Web Services Farm Example #2 (All Subnets/All Farms)

Parallelspace ModelMate-Web-Database Server Farms2.png

Figure 2. Database/Web Services Farm Example #2 (All Subnets/All Farms)

The red dots are IP subnets (32 in this ModelMate view) connecting 208 server Nodes that host either a SQL Server Instance (376 Infrastructure Service elements) and/or an IIS Virtual Directory Application (1597 Infrastructure Function elements).  The small orange dots are network adapter configurations. (Click the image to enlarge it)

Microsoft Exchange Server Farm Example

Here’s one more example of an auto-generated view from the same ModelMate model: a Microsoft Exchange email, collaboration, and unified communications services farm. In this view, the blue dots are the Windows Services running on each of these 3 Windows Servers in this view (out of a total of 5 servers in the complete farm). The orange dot highlighted in gray near the top of the server on the right side, for example, is an IIS virtual directory application that is hosting an Outlook Web Access (OWA) web service. (Click the image to enlarge it)

Parallelspace ModelMate-Exchange Server Farm.png

Figure 3. Microsoft Exchange Server Farm Example

The larger red entity contains all of the descriptive information (metadata) for each server’s processor; the smaller red dot, the memory configuration for the server.

The Neo4j  graph database from Neo Technologies was used as a key component of the ModelMate platform. A special ModelMate tool was created for automatically uploading any SQL Server database into a graph database (including all tables, columns, primary keys, primary key constraints, composite keys, foreign keys, foreign key relationships, implied entity relationships, NULL value processing, DateTime data type handling, etc.).

Have a great weekend,

Michael Herman (Toronto)

Parallelspace Corporation

mwherman@parallelspace.net

*ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

2 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, Automated Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Crossing the EA Charm, Data Science, Enterprise Architecture, ModelMate

ModelMate Architecture Reference Model

[Updated October 28, 2016]

This article describes the architecture reference model for deploying a comprehensive, integrated enterprise architecture modeling and data science platform based on ModelMate.

The audience for this article is IT professionals including enterprise architects, solution architects, and security architects who want increased visibility into the deployment of their custom applications, entire data center environments, business process definitions, and LOB applications such as SAP, Oracle Financials, Salesforce, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

A primary use case is organizations with a requirement to move one or more on-premise applications or capabilities to the cloud or need a better understanding of how their hybrid on-premise/cloud environments (e.g. Salesforce cloud applications and on-premise or third-party customer loyalty solutions).

ModelMate

Quoting from Crossing the EA Chasm: Open Repository Strategies for Enterprise Architecture, “ModelMate is a working implementation of a Microsoft SQL Server and Neo4j graph database-based repository for managing arbitrarily large collections of arbitrary entities, properties, relationships, views, etc.to enable analysis, visualization, and understanding using easily-available open source and COTS (commercial off the shelf) business intelligence (BI), data visualization, and machine learning (ML) platforms, tools and cloud services.”

The primary goal of ModelMate is to provide automated support for the Continuous Transformation Framework of the Progressive Enterprise Architecture Model (PEAM) depicted in Figure 1.

progressive-ea-model-1-0-9-peam3-ea-chasm-auto-dots

Figure 1. Progressive Enterprise Architecture Model

Continuous Transformation Framework

The Continuous Transformation Framework is a Deming Cycle based on the following 4 phases:

  1. Listening & Learning
  2. Knowledge > New Designs
  3. Plan & Act
  4. Transformative Change > New Outcomes

The Framework is depicted as a continuous cycle as shown in Figure 1 above. The Framework can also be flattened and presented as a (repeating) sequence of 4 processes (Figure 2).

peam-continuous-transformation

Figure 2. Continuous Transformation Framework

Why all of this discussion about PEAM and the Continuous Transformation Framework? It is because to be able to understand and value the ModelMate Architecture Reference Model, it’s important to understand the class of problems it is trying to solve. Automated support for Continuous Transformation is the pain; ModelMate is the pain killer.

ModelMate Architecture Reference Model

There are 3 high-level layers in the ModelMate Architecture Reference Model:

  • Apps that use the ModelMate repository
  • Continuous Transformation Framework
  • ModelMate Open Hybrid Repository (MOHR)

These 3 layers (and 4 categories of apps) are illustrated in Figure 3.  Each app category corresponds to one phase in the Continuous Transformation Framework.

marm-modelmate-open-hybrid-repository-app-categories

Figure 3. ModelMate Architecture Reference Model: 3 Layers

The choice of apps that your organization selects for each category depends on the medium-term and long-term drivers and goals for your enterprise architecture program. The app groups map to specific phases of the Framework:

  1. Listen & Learn phase
    • Ingestion
  2. Knowledge > New Designs phase
    • Pure Modeling and Layout apps
    • Modeling, Layout & Visualization apps
    • Data Science apps
    • Custom Mobile and Web apps
  3. Plan & Act phase
    • Program & Project Management apps
  4. Transformative Change > New Outcomes phase
    • Operations and Change Management apps

Figure 4 lists a sample or representative list of applications that can fulfill the needs of each app category (each phase of the Continuous Transformation Framework).

marm-modelmate-open-hybrid-repository-apps

Figure 4. ModelMate Architecture Reference Model: Apps

Ingestion

Ingestion apps are responsible for scanning the enterprise’s operational environment: systems, assets, and processes. Information captured about each entity includes its structure, metadata, performance and usage data.  Operational business data is usually not needed and not captured.

Sources of data include business process logs, configuration management databases, LOB application configurations (SAP, SharePoint, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Financials, etc.), operations management systems (Azure OMS, Microsoft System Center, etc.), Microsoft MAP Toolkit, performance monitoring logs, usage and audit logs, etc.

These are inbound data sources used to automatically update and maintain the EA models stored in ModelMate. Ingestion apps are the primary data sources for the Listen & Learn phase of the Continuous Transformation Framework.

Pure Modeling and Layout Apps

There are several types of apps that comprise the Knowledge > New Designs phase of the Framework.  Pure Modeling and Layout Apps are applications that support the manual modeling of entities, relationships, and metadata as well as the manual layout of stakeholder specific views.

The apps in the group do not support any built-in analysis and visualization capabilities beyond manually-created basic views. In addition, pure modeling and layout apps do not include an end-user scripting capability for performing automated, user-defined custom analysis or visualization.

Archi is an example of a pure modeling and layout app.

Modeling, Layout & Visualization Apps

These types of apps support manual modeling of entities, relationships and metadata and the manual layout of stakeholder specific views but also include basic, advanced, and/or custom analysis and visualization capabilities.

BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio and other advanced EA modelers are examples of apps that belong to the Modeling, Layout & Visual Apps group – supporting the needs of the Knowledge > New Designs phase of the Framework.

Data Science Apps

Data Science Apps include non-traditional “enterprise architecture” modeling and analysis apps. This group includes both open sources as well as COTS (commercial off the shelf) data science tools and platforms. Data Science apps provide advanced analysis, machine learning and visualization capabilities enabled through open access to enterprise architecture data via standard protocols and APIs (e.g.ArchiMate Exchange File Format, OData, SQL Server stored procedures, entity models, and advanced query and analysis languages such as R, Cypher, and T-SQL).

Examples of Data Science apps include: R Studio, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Domo, Linkurious, Microsoft Excel and the Neo4j graph browser.

Custom Mobile and Web Apps

This is the last group of apps that support the Knowledge > New Designs phase of the Framework and includes both no-code and code platforms for creating custom reporting, analysis, visualization apps.

No-code custom apps designed with Microsoft PowerApps (and Microsoft PowerFlow) are examples of the former; traditional C#/VB.Net, Java, and Node.js/JavaScript apps are examples of the latter.

Program & Project Management Apps

Program & Project Management Apps support the Plan & Act phase of the Framework.

Traditional portfolio, program, and project managements apps are examples of applications in this group. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft SharePoint, Confluence, and Jira can also belong in this group. Collaboration tools can also be considered as “horizontal” solutions that can be used across all phases of the Framework.

Operations and Change Management Apps

All of the effort to create and manage a functioning enterprise architecture solution only realizes direct business value when it leads to Transformative Changes being made in the enterprise’s strategies, systems, assets, and processes; and measurable, positive New Outcomes result from the changes.

Examples of apps in this category include change management applications that support IT Service Management (ITSM) disciplines such as ITIL. ServiceNow is an example of an ITSM app.

Please provide your feedback in the Comments section below or feel free to email me directly.

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation
mwherman@parallelspace.net

*ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

All other trademarks, servicemarks, registered trademarks, and registered servicemarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Filed under ArchiMate, Automated Application Architecture Analysis, Automated Enterprise Architecture Modeling, Business Value, continuous transformation, Crossing the EA Charm, Data Science, ModelMate, Power BI, Progressive Enterprise Architecture Map (PEAM), Salesforce, SharePoint

Crossing the EA Chasm: Automating Enterprise Architecture Modeling #1

If you have been following my Crossing the EA Chasm blog series (and related articles), you’ll have noticed a number of common themes:

Automating Enterprise Architecture Modeling

Automated enterprise architecture modeling (and automated application architecture analysis) are activities that belong to the Listening and Learning phase of the Continuous Transformation Framework.

Progressive EA Model 1-0-9-PEAM3-EA Chasm-Auto-Dots.png

Figure 1. Progressive Enterprise Architecture Model: Continuous Transformation Framework

Supporting the above themes, the Technology layer diagram below is automatically generated from a simple, single line query applied to an automatically created and dynamically maintained model of 500+ Windows and Linux servers (blue dots) with 550+ server network adapter configurations (yellow dots) connected to 25 network gateways (blue dots representing 25 network routers/switches). The data originates from a series of tables maintained by a configuration management database (CMDB) solution. There is no way to understand what the Technology environment looks like by simply looking at these tables.  However, in the visualization below, it is easy to see that there are at least 14 different server farms, application clusters, and data centers.

Parallelspace TEAM-DevicesA.png

Figure 2. Automatically Generated Technology Layer Model and View

In this ModelMate model, servers are represented by Nodes with 179 properties;  network adapter configurations as Devices with 69 properties each; and, network gateways as Devices with 4 properties per device.

This is just the beginning as additional information about web application, database, DNS, and directory and domain management services is used to add additional  detail to the current state Technology layer of this enterprise architecture. “More news at 11…” (click here).

This effort was made easier through the use of ModelMate and the Neo4j Community Edition free, open source graph database and the Cypher query language.

Best regards,

Michael Herman (Toronto)

Parallelspace Corporation

mwherman@parallelspace.net

3 Comments

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

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).

modelmategraphdbhighlighted

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.

vetcontexta

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

vetcontextb

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

vetcontextd

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

 

vetcontextz

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

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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).

VetContextEFHighlighted.png

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.

vetcontextclasshierarchy

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.

modelmateschema-views

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.

 

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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: Enterprise Architecture Diagrams Your Grandmother (and CIO) Will Love

[Updated October 13, 2016]

Let’s face it – not everyone is in love with the traditional enterprise architecture diagrams that are based on the ArchiMate* standard. Here, more or less, is a typical ArchiMate view.

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Figure 1. A Traditional ArchiMate View: VetContext ModelMate Model

What if there was a way to create literally any type of visualization you wanted – from a common, central, “single version of the truth” repository?  Something your grandmother (and CIO) will love?

The first step is to unlock your enterprise architecture data.

In the recent article Crossing the EA Chasm: Open Repository Strategies for Enterprise Architecture, I described an open data access strategy for providing easy access to EA data from virtually any open source or COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) modeling, data visualization, machine learning, or business intelligence platform.

The ModelMate project is a realization of this open repository strategy for EA data.  ModelMate supports access to a central EA repository using the following protocols:

  • The Open Group ArchiMate Model Exchange File Format (EFF) import and export
  • OASIS OData interoperability REST web API
  • .NET API for C# and VB.NET developers
  • Direct access to the underlying SQL Server repository using T-SQL stored procedures

The latest version of the ModelMate architecture is depicted below (October 12, 2016).

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Figure 2. The Model Mate Project: Logical Architecture

What sorts of visualizations does an open repository strategy like ModelMate enable? Check out the following ModelMate Graph rendered as an interactive EA exploration tool using Microsoft Power BI, the free desktop edition. This is just one rendering – the number of possibilities is limitless.

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Figure 3. VetContext ModelMate Graph rendered using Microsoft Power BI (desktop)

From Power BI Desktop, it takes a couple clicks to publish a live, interactive, web version of the model to the cloud – the same ModelMate model that was used to create Figure 1.

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Figure 4. VetContext ModelMate Graph rendered using Microsoft Power BI (cloud)

Click here to check it out for yourself: ModelMate Graphs running in the cloud.

The above “spaghetti” visual is just one of the dozens of custom visuals available for Power PI.  Here’s a sampling….

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Figure 4. Microsoft Power BI Custom Visual Gallery

TIP: To use Data Science platforms like Power BI and R to get the most out of your EA data, consider looking into the Microsoft Professional Degree Program in Data Science.

Please email me if you have any questions or additional comments at mwherman@parallelspace.net.

Best regards,

Michael Herman (Toronto)

Parallelspace Corporation

p.s. Don’t forget to email a copy of the link to your grandmother (or your CIO).  Please add your feedback in the Comments section below.

p.p.s. Here’s an updated view of the same VetContext ModelMate model using the latest version of SPARX Enterprise Architect version 13 that was released earlier this week. The layout was created using the Digraph automated layout feature.  When you have a powerful and easy way to scan and ingest arbitrary sized datasets, features like automated layout and routing become critically important.

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Figure 5. VetContext ModelMate Model in SPARX Enterprise Architect 13

* ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group

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Filed under Crossing the EA Charm, Enterprise Architecture, Microsoft Azure, ModelMate, Power BI, The Open Group