Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Open Group Boston Grid

At the Open Group Architecture Practitioner Conference, I caught up with Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, to talk about TOGAF and the other activities of The Open Group. I also spoke with Chris Harding, Forum Director for SOA and Semantic Interoperability.

The Open Group originated as a merger of two UNIX standards bodies (X/Open and Open Software Foundation); and UNIX certification (e.g. Apple Leopard) is still its best-known product and cash cow.

The two rising stars in The Open Group portfolio are Architecture and Security.

At the core of Architecture is The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF). TOGAF 9.0 is now available. It was launched in the US in February, and this conference represents the European launch. There are several forums and groups working in parallel with the main TOGAF Architecture Forum, including Business Architecture, SOA and ArchiMate.

Clearly there may be a temptation in some quarters to see TOGAF as a bucket for everything that is remotely architectural. The latest TOGAF guide does contain material on business architecture and SOA and security, as well as the core architectural framework and process. However, the working groups operate on a loosely-coupled basis - for example, the SOA working group timetable is not synchronized to the Architecture Forum timetable - and this probably makes a more modular structure inevitable, at least in publication and possibly also curriculum.

There is common interest and a desire for harmonization between The Open Group and other standards bodies, notably OMG and OASIS. (See minutes of SOA Summit from February 2009, which may go some way to addressing David Sprott's concerns on SOA Concept Standards from January 2009.)

Security brings together a number of forums and groups, including the Jericho Forum and Identity Management. Again there is common interest with other standards bodies.

At some point, these two "rising stars" may become "cash cows". Looking into the future, The Open Group may need to seek new initiatives. Semantic Interoperability may be a "problem child" at the moment, but this presumably creates a common interest with W3C, especially given Tim Berners-Lee's interest in the Semantic Web.

And maybe a few more problem children we don't know about yet.

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