Case Study: Enterprise Architecture at PenultimateWidgets

PenultimateWidgets is considering revamping a major part of their legacy platform, and a team of enterprise architects generated a spreadsheet listing all the properties the new platform should exhibit: security, performance metrics, scalability, deployability, and a host of other properties. Each category contained 5 to 20 cells, each with some specific criteria. For example, one of the uptime metrics insisted that each service offer five nines (99.999) of availability. In total, they identified 62 discrete items.

But they realized some problems with this approach. First, would they verify each of these 62 properties on projects? They could create a policy, but who would verify that policy on an ongoing basis? Verifying all these things manually, even on an ad hoc basis, would be a considerable challenge.

Second, would it make sense to impose strict availability guidelines across every part of the system? Is it critical that the administrator’s management screens offer five nines? Creating blanket policies often leads to egregious overengineering.

To solve these problems, the enterprise architects defined their criteria as fitness functions and created a deployment pipeline template each project starts with. Within the deployment pipeline, the architects designed fitness functions to automatically check critical features such as security, leaving individual teams to add specific fitness functions (like availability) for their service.

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