Architecture type definitions

Following on from the comments on my previous Blog I updated the architetcre types;

·         What are the types of architect?

Whilst architects need all of the above skills the technical depth skills and experience level that they have make them fall into one of three main architectural categories:

1.       Enterprise

Enterprise Architects work on the architecture of the whole organization, including business, technical, software, infrastructure, security etc. They are concerned in bringing together the organizations IT architectures (software, security, solutions and infrastructure) as a homogenous whole and matching it to the business needs and culture of the organization. There are three main strands to Enterprise architecture; strategic direction, Portfolio analysis for integration and Governance. Enterprise Architects provide strategic guidance to the solutions and infrastructure architects and have organizational wide funding.


2.       Solution

Solution Architects work on the architecture of a specific project or solution, normally for a part of the business such as HR or Sales. Typically they architect the solution to a specific business problem and ensure that the architecture meets the business (cost, schedule, scalability, availability etc) and functional requirements. They take strategic direction from the Enterprise Architect, operational guidance from the Infrastructure Architect and funding from specific business groups.


3.       Infrastructure

Infrastructure architects provide the architecture for any technology that is provided for the whole organization as opposed to technology for a specific business group. Typically they architect the infrastructure elements that every business group requires such as networks, storage, operating systems, security, mail etc and the architecture of the management solutions and processes for all IT systems. They take strategic direction from the Enterprise Architect, line of business project support from the Solution Architects and funded by the organization.

Comments (10)
  1. Anonymous says:

    One of the most heated debates out there is that of the definition of an architect. In my view, what…

  2. Anonymous says:

    In this post i asked what Architecture is. Michael Platt, in this post, describes 3 Architect Roles,…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Διάβασα πρόσφατα το άρθρο "What is a software architecture?" στο τελευταίο τεύχος του Rational Ezine….

  4. Anonymous says:

    original post on October 26th, 2005

    Just some links for future reference:

    Enterprise Architecture,…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve sat through many architect events over the past few years and one thing that always strikes

  6. Anonymous says:

    In this post i asked what Architecture is. Michael Platt, in this post, describes 3 Architect Roles,…

  7. Panagiotis Kanavos, SQL Server MVP says:

    What is then the definition of the Software Architect? I heard the term mentioned at a summit two weeks ago 😉

  8. Graham Chastney says:

    Nice post. I’m not sure though that I would split the definitions the way that you have or give the names that you have. I think the problem is with the definition of a solution architect and an infrastructure architect. In a sense there is a suggestion from the names that the infrastructure architect doesn’t deliver any solutions and that’s clearly not the case. Speaking as someone who is clearly within the Infrastructure Architect camp (from your definition) it facinates me that the Infrastructure Architect is always put last, almost like it’s a hierarchy, again something that is clear not true.

  9. Ekrem Aksoy says:

    To me, these definitons are necessary to distinguish roles in such a software organization. However, as a "solution architect", I’d such moments to decide the strategical extension for projects. I mean, although we can say where an architect’s point of view is, we should care of his/her context. Thus, instead of defining the boundaries, we should focus on architectural body of knowledge. It has to be canonical such that we all can apply to several layers of abstraction

  10. Gary Varga says:

    I don’t see it as a hierarchy, or if there is one, the Solution Architect (SA) is at the bottom of the tree. Not because they are any less skilled but because the SA works on projects (or programmes at most) which build upon the work of the other two. It has a clear period for each project (ignore deadline slippage etc) i.e. a beginning and an end.

    The Infrastructure Architect (IA) role appears to be an attempt to make the use of computing as close to utility usage as is reasonably possible e.g. delivers a new machine that plugs into a network that allows access to all that a user needs (and no more). It is a neverending (and thankless?) task.

    The Enterprise Architect (EA) tends to define future changes to match current requirements or new ways to deliver them. These changes may be to process, tools or roles. This role is again continuous, like the IA.

    Basically, the EA is responsible for defining the future direction of the provision of tools (i.e. manual or automated systems) to support the needs of the business. The IA provides the technical platform (including COTS) for the business to utilise. Whilst the SA is responsible for providing a specific tools to the business to perform specific tasks.

    As for a Software Architect – this really is split between the EA and the SA. Both do Software Architect duties but at a different level. The SA relies on architectural decisions made by the EA and the IA.

    This is my view as an SA.

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