IT Architecture

Information on trends, tools, methodologies and best practices.

The Year 2038 Problem: Y2K on Steroids?

Broken Clock
This is how the world ends: not with a whimper, or a bang, or in fire and ice, but because of a signed 32-bit integer. Here’s the issue: Many bits of software rely on a 32-bit integer to store time. According to Business Insider, engineers developing computer systems in the 1970s decided to start that integer “clock” at midnight on January 1, 1970. The integer can encompass 2,147,483,647 seconds before it hits a limit and resets or “wraps around” to… continue…

What Does an IT Architect Do?

What does an IT architect do? It’s an interesting question not only for those thinking about a career as an IT architect, but also for anyone working in IT, because there isn’t a consistent definition of the job within the industry. Architects who do more or less the same things with the same skills may be referred to as enterprise architects, solution architects, project architects, IT architects, technical architects, data architects, application architects, business architects, cloud or SOA architects, and… continue…

Build Vs. Buy: the 7 Most Important Questions to Ask

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Software is the lifeblood of most IT departments. So it’s logical that determining when to buy a packaged solution versus building a custom one for a given business requirement is one of the most common types of decisions they have to make. Usually, making the “Buy versus Build” decision involves both technical and business resources. How it’s done varies greatly from one enterprise to the next. Some organizations spend a significant amount of time deciding, while others focus more on… continue…

SharePoint as an Architecture Repository

Over the past decade, enterprise architecture as a practice has gained quite a bit of traction. Where EA hasn’t taken root yet, solution architecture is often practiced. One of the biggest challenges to the adoption of any type of IT architecture practice or department is the ability to integrate it into the larger solutions lifecycle of any given organization. This is typically a challenge because: The culture of the organization isn’t sure about the value proposition for architecture. The working… continue…

Agile or Not, Requirements Management Can’t Be Skipped

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These days, requirements management is often misunderstood or under-appreciated in IT. Many people have used migration to Agile methodologies as an excuse to discard requirements or rethink how they’re used to support most projects. One of the key tenets of Agile application development is not to over-think technical requirements in advance. The premise is that it’s usually impossible to accurately predict the details, which would invariably lead to costly rework after the fact—as opposed to an Agile approach of incremental refinement. So… continue…

10 Must Have Skills for IT Architects

Cat Miller
IT architects use diverse technologies to engineer solutions across the enterprise architecture stack. Some of their roles can be more specific, and so require focused knowledge of just a few aspects of the environment. But if you want to work across a broader range of projects, you’ll need to have these 10 foundational skills. For addition stories on IT Architecture, click here.

5 Steps to Mastering Design Patterns

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Design patterns are an important part of software engineering today, but what many folks don’t realize is how ubiquitous they are becoming within the full spectrum of IT activities. This is partly due to the flexible nature of patterns. Mastering design patterns is a critical part now of most IT architects’ roles, and from a larger perspective is also becoming increasingly important for most enterprises. Design patterns are meant to accomplish three critical things: Increase the speed of the design… continue…

Here’s the Job Trend You Need to Know About

Art Deco Worker
In some areas, tech job trends followed surprising paths during 2012. Big Data and cloud efforts, for example, were stymied at some companies by architectural, cultural and organizational issues that got in the way of data sharing, meaningful analysis and effective migration. The result: CIOs slowed down their hiring to explore possible solutions. The good news, according to David Foote, CEO of researcher Foote Partners, is that hiring should ramp up in these areas in 2013 after deciding to weave… continue…

How EAs Can Juggle Roles With What They’ve Got

Abstract Painter T
Here’s a professional caveat regarding solution architects and enterprise architects: They’re often the same people. An EA and an SA can fill each others’ roles and, in fact, this happens quite a bit. That said, if you’re an EA who’s asked to take on a solutions architect’s role, there are differences between the types of work you’ll do. The good news is the roles share common skill sets, which is why they’re grouped under the umbrella “IT Architecture.” Confused? Here’s… continue…

The Key to Streamlining IT Governance

Governance as a service is a relatively new concept, with few vendors currently providing tools specifically targeted to it. At first glance, IT governance doesn’t seem like a particularly complex topic. Remarkably, though, governance tends to be one of the hardest tasks facing the typical enterprise today, for many reasons. Among them: Most organizations don’t view governance holistically. In other words, they address it in chunks as governance-related challenges arise. This leads to different processes and subcultures for areas like data… continue…