Many organizations have adopted service-oriented architecture to try to make it easier to reuse and share mission-critical information across different organizational business processes. The intention of doing this is to break down inappropriate information silos that tend to trap the information and increase transaction costs for information sharing , and to improve an organization’s capacity to provide trusted information services.
This makes them much more information-centric. To achieve this objective, a hybrid architectural style is needed. This hybrid architecture brings together principles from enterprise information architecture, event-driven architecture and service-oriented architecture.
To understand this assertion, it is appropriate to consider the three types of architecture. Recall that service-oriented architecture is a technical architecture, business modeling approach, infrastructure conceptualization, and a means to integrate and view different units of automation within the enterprise. It provides a foundation to integrate data with applications and processes by creating loosely coupled component. It also enables delivery of information as a service by providing one-to-one communication between system components, consumer-based triggers, and standard specifications for information exchange. The service orientation of IT architecture and resources represents a paradigm shift in application modeling, development and IT management.
In contrast, an enterprise information architecture, which is based on the Zachman Framework and The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) (The Open Group), codifies standards for expressing the elements of an organization’s information architecture, which defines the organizational logic for business processes and IT infrastructure that support the operations of an organization. It defines trusted sources of information, metadata, business data standards, data quality requirements, information integration need, and information aggregation techniques for the enterprise. Some of the key areas that need to be addressed that are related to enterprise information architecture include defining the data domains that are important to an organization, and how processes and technical metadata should be handled.
A third architecture is unique in that it is event-driven. An event within an organization, is ‘‘a notable thing that happens inside or outside your business [that] can trigger the invocation of one or many services. Those services may perform simple functions or entire business processes. A second interpretation of an event is that it can ‘‘signify a problem or impending problem, an opportunity, a threshold, or a deviation. Upon generation, the event is immediately disseminated to all interested parties (human or automated). The interested parties evaluate the event, and optimally take action. The event-driven action may include the invocation of a service, the triggering of a business process, and/or further information publication [or] syndication.”
- Building Enterprise Information Architectures: Reengineering Information Systems (Authors: Melissa Cook Publication Date: 1996)
- Improving information access and reuse with SOA Part 1 An architecture to help your enterprise become information-centric in an SOA world (Authors: Akram Bou-Ghannam Andrew Hoppe Published In: IBM Developer Works Publication Date: 2008)
- The Emerging Vision for Data Services: Becoming Information-centric in an SOA World (Authors: Mark A. Beyer David Newman Daniel Sholler Ted Friedman Publication Date: 2006)