Microsoft may get criticized for their exclusive pro-Windows solutions. However, I have found their contributions in MSDN towards SOA, Design Patterns, Software Factories and Architectural Journal are significant and much more open. I have found some of their SOA literatures are technology-agnostic and architecture-centric.
Continuing on the Enterprise Architecture topic, I would like to bring the recent update from Microsoft on EA to my readers. Microsoft is coming with an Enterprise Architecture Toolkit, essentially a ‘Software Factory’ for Enterprise Architecture. Sounds very interesting!.
The EA toolkit is not released yet, as far as I know. However, in one of the msdn blogs, the toolkit’s offerings are listed. If someone is building a EA for their enterprise by preparing some of the EA artifacts and developing new processes, the good news is – You don’t need to start from scratch. All the templates that you will need, the processes that you will need to define are available in the Toolkit pack. All you need to do is leverage those base templates to customize for your Enterprise specific needs.
Typically, Software Factories are applied for Software Development requirements like Web Services or Smart Clients. For the first time, the concept of Solution Accelerator / Software Factory is applied to the Highest-level of Abstraction.
However, the catch here is that, the toolkit is based on Microsoft product set – Microsoft Visio, Word, etc. Not bad!. Most of the times, architects use those tools anyway to prepare EA artifacts. And the traditional EA tools are expensive!.
Some of the cool things which I liked are – Templates for ARB, Using Portal and Workflow features essentially bringing the collaboration aspects into the architecting process!.