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Architecture - types

posted May 7, 2012, 1:38 PM by Jageshwar Tripathi   [ updated Jan 14, 2019, 1:05 PM ]

Based on coverage or scope

Different view points of a system is very important in discussions of architecture. Same thing applies to architecture and its types also.  (Here all this discussion is limited to IT and software industry not construction industry)
If you consider what does it cover or scope, the following are the types defined from coverage point of view what do they cover:-
  • whole organization, its people, business etc or
  • a business unit or sement or
  • a perticular application/function
Based on at what level of abstraction you look at the system and present it in the form of its constituents, their relationship, thier behaviour etc  types of architecture are defined as:
  • Enterprise Architecture - Scope - Whole organization. Level - Abstract (less detail). Outcomes- Strategic
  • Segment Architecture- Scope- A business unit. Level-detail not too much not to less. Outcome- Business
  • Solution Architecture- Scope- An application.function. Level-detailed. Outcomes- Specific operation/s.
Architecture Types

Based on aspect/domain

Based on what aspect/domain does it cover- Business, Data, Application and Technology etc - architecture types are termed as
  • Business Architecture
  • Data/Information Architecture
  • Application Architecture
  • Technology (Infrastructure) Architecture.
Enterprise Architecture can be considered as a superset of these aspects/architectures. Solution Architecture also describes Information Architecture, Infrastructure and Business View, Application Architecture in more detail.

Now question may be where do all these fit and what do they do, and what is their relationship with above mentioned:
Systems Architecture
Software Architecture

Software Architecture for sure is focused on details of software system structure, its elements/components their relationship, style etc and is a detailed topic.  It is a next level detail about architecture of a software system. More detailed as compared to solution architecture and focused on software. There is a separate page on Software Architecture on this site.

Some other thoughts

Some divide the type of architecture work as follows: 
  • Enterprise Architecture, 
  • Domain Architecture and 
  • Solution Architecture. 

Where enterprise architecture covers whole organization, is strategic  and is at higher level of detail whereas solution architecture is at specific project level. Both Enterprise and Solution architecture touch various domains. 

Domains in this considerations are: 
  • Application domain, 
  • Infrastructure domain
  • Data domain
  • Business domain, 
  • Security domain
  • Integration domain, 
  • Network domain. 
Note: Last two from the list above doesn't look correct fit in this list, if we go this way every specialization becomes an architecture domain which is not good. Even security doesn't look like fit for the list. 

As per this school of thought: 
Enterprise Architects touch various domains, similarly solution architects touch various domains. Breadth if EA is wide and depth is less (high level). 
Solution architects have broad coverage but they operate at low level . 
Software architect is like solution architect is for specific project, has specialized knowledge of software, components, software structure, patterns, layers, frameworks etc. His breadth is narrow and depth is high (all levels).
Domain architects are specialists of specific domain, narrow breadth, all level depth. 

Regarding other types of architectures either they are just new words or I have little knowledge and I am still learning. But for sure people, companies and many sites are using these words without putting them all together and first showing what each of them are and how are they related, how  are they different. If you find a list of all such jargons/duplicates please let me know.

Interesting resources
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3877506/software-architecture-versus-enterprise-architecture-when-is-each-used
https://morphological.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/the-laymans-guide-to-it-architecture-roles/
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Architectural_Levels_and_Attributes.jpg


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