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Cloud Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF

A top-down approach to building new cloud applications

Cloud Enablement: Bottom Up vs Top Down
Like several other architectural enablements such as SOA,  cloud enablement also has multiple approaches.

Bottoms Up Approach
In this case you have your existing applications moved to a private or public cloud. As most applications would have been designed a while back, the application is not a truly cloud-enabled application. However, this approach will greatly benefit from Storage, Processor Virtualization and on-demand computing. This approach will be the starting point for most enterprises. Moving an application to the cloud and utilizing features such as AWS (Amazon) Auto Scaling will come under this approach of cloud enablement.

Top Down Approach
This will be the approach for future, where by an application  from the scratch is architected and designed for Cloud Platform.

  • Starting with a business view that is truly multi tenant
  • Evolve into a System View which support dynamic infrastructure, elasticity and dynamic scaling
  • Deploy into a infrastructure which is virtualized and elastic

So the top down approach  to Cloud enablement  requires  more involved architecture of the application much like other enterprise applications.


The TOGAF framework provides a model  and process that is capable of incorporating both business-led and IT Led  Cloud requirements in a holistic framework.

TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) defines a  vision, which  aims

  • Obtaining the management commitment
  • Validate business principles
  • Define scope
  • Identify stakeholders
  • Define business requirements
  • Describe appropriate solutions
  • Obtain formal approval to proceed

These initial phases arrive at the need for Cloud Services and their relevance to business process rather than a mere virtualization deployment of an existing application as happen in a Bottoms Up Approach.

Various TOGAF Architectural Assessments  will be a natural fit for a Top Down Approach to Cloud Enablement.

Tailoring Of TOGAF Architecture  Views for Cloud Applications
While  TOGAF ADM is one of  the very good approach to architect and design Cloud Applications from top down perspective, there are different architect views that is part of TOGAF framework whose definition and implementation  are  getting a different perspective between a Cloud Application and other enterprise applications.

  • Business Architecture views, which address the concerns of the users of the system, and describe the flows of business information between people and business processes.

Variation For Cloud Applications : While the over all business goals of a SaaS enabled application will not change, the Business users them selves will be variable in a multi tenant scenario and hence this View may needs to be adjusted for different groups that the Cloud service will cater .  Especially the questions like  Who Does It, What Do They Do will change for Cloud Applications when compared to traditional enterprise applications.

  • Data Architecture views, which address the concerns of database designers and database administrators, and system engineers responsible for developing and integrating the various database components of the system

Variation For Cloud Applications : The core Entity Relationship modeling of a cloud application may match that of its  traditional enterprise application counterpart , however  multi tenancy aspect will introduce new variations to the Logical Data Model. Also the process models for,  Data Security View  will be totally different from a traditional enterprise application.

  • Applications Architecture views, which address the concerns of system and software engineers responsible for developing and integrating the various Application Software components of the system.

Variation For Cloud Applications : The PaaS Platform will abstract several traditional components that are part of the Application Architecture View and hence this view will be different from a traditional enterprise application.

  • Technology Architecture views, which address the concerns of acquirers (procurement personnel responsible for acquiring the Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software and hardware to be included in the system), operations staff, systems administrators, and systems managers

Variation For Cloud Applications : Due to the tenants of cloud application like,

  • virtualized server environment
  • PaaS Platform
  • On demand instances
  • and other virtual storage considerations, this view will be the one that will go through maximum changes for a Cloud application when compared to a normal application.

The future outlook for the Cloud Platform calls for exclusive applications  Architected , designed and built for the cloud platform. These systems can make   best use of the top down approach and the architectural framework  can follow the same guidelines as put forth by TOGAF ADM, However there are above mentioned specific areas , where the architectural VIEW will be different than that of the classic enterprise applications, which needs to be taken care. May be the open group them selves will come up with an Architecture Framework exclusively for cloud applications.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

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