Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Architecture or nothing

Today's infrastructures are so complex that it seems impossible to test it. How can one test an mail migration or an application server implementation and be sure, that wat was expected is also delivered? How do you compare the functional specifications and technical designs of such different products? The solution is in the glue that keeps the infrastructure together: Architecture. On the subject Architecture alone there is so much information, confusion and discussion, that it is impossible to define it in this blog. For the moment I will define Architecture as "a compass", it gives information to help you find your direction. On the highest level Enterprise Architecture there is an alignment with the business goals of an organisation. This gives direction to Segment Architecture on which the Solution Architecture is based

(see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_architecture)


Infrastructure Architecture falls in the Solution Architecture category. So how does all this help the Infrastructure Tester in testing a mail migration or application server implementation?

The trick is the inheritance is in the proper use of the above model. A Solution Architecture should describe how it will help implement the Segment Architecture which is based on the Enterprise Architecture. A vague description and reference in a Solution Architecture is a sure sign that what is going to be implemented will not help the organisation. So with a proper and thorough inspection and review process one can quickly see if things are going in the right direction.
Keep in mind though that Architecture is a compass so it gives direction but is not a one way street. For good reasons solutions might not align to the architecture, however that should be clearly described.

So before you start testing, make sure you understand and check the complete Architecture, without it nothing can be tested

1 comment:

Jeroen said...

Hello Brian,
Interesting picture you has shown here. This make me wonder how the OSI model can be used, if it is used, in infrastructure testing. And how it is combined with those 3architectures.

If architecture is the compass, can the OSI model be used as the map to determine the coordinates to navigate to?