Sunday, November 26, 2017

three posts for digitization of oceans reference architecture

The next three posts within my series describing the need for a digitization of oceans reference architecture will be focused on the three technology domains of; end-points, communications, and data stores. This separation is to allow a deeper look into each domain as they have different considerations in relation to technology architecture and attributes important to the digitization of oceans.


End Points: the sensors and devices which collect and emit data. Consider this the Internet of Things (IoT) that can be located anywhere within and around oceans, airborne, surface, and submersible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Peterrawsthorne/Digitization_of_Oceans#End_Points

Communications: the communications technologies available to transfer data from one place to another. A lot to explore within this domain; as underwater data transmission is an emerging technology, and the structure of the data messages will become the foundation of the reference architecture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Peterrawsthorne/Digitization_of_Oceans#Communications

Data Stores: there are many existing data storage approaches, locations, and structures that can be used to store the oceans data. Databases and database designs are already available for many of the subjects within the digitization of oceans. Better to use exiting methods to store the structured and unstructured data and use a federated approach to bring them together.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Peterrawsthorne/Digitization_of_Oceans#Data_Stores

Creating an inventory
The number of technologies, vendors, standards, and approaches within these three domains will be large and forever growing. To start documenting this inventory I have created a Wikipedia page under my Wikipedia account. Once this page describing the Digitization of Oceans and its Reference Architecture is more complete I will submit it as a published article otherwise consider it a work in progress. Feel free to join in and edit the work in progress wiki page;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Peterrawsthorne/Digitization_of_Oceans#Lists

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What is a reference architecture?

There are many descriptions of reference architectures available on the web. Here is a list of some I consider do a good job of describing the subject while supporting the description I am working  toward in the digitization of oceans;
  1. Reference Architecture: The best of best practices - given its age (published 2002) it is still relevant and pragmatic. Though I do consider the description too dependent upon RUP, which introduces many weighty practices and misses some of the more agile and emergent approaches. Still the description gives good detail to the importance, breadth, and depth of the reference architecture. The later sections of this description provide information on creating, using, updating, and working with a reference architecture. These sections are particularly useful in developing the digitization of oceans reference architecture. I strongly believe the oceans reference architecture will be emergent as many new technologies and stakeholders contribute and become a part of developing the architecture.
    Emergent architecture is when organizational structures such as business processes and technologies are designed incrementally by many designers.
  2. Wikipedia: Reference Architecture - very short for a complex topic, but it is too the point in defining the reference architecture as templates within a subject, industry, or domain. It stresses the importance of a common vocabulary and in drawing upon successful projects within the domain. It aligns with the use of APIs which I believe will become an important part of a strong digitization of oceans reference architecture.  It also calls out a number of the benefits derived from the reference architecture.

  3. CIO Online Magazine - describes where the reference architecture fits within the EA toolkit, and looks to all the relationships among business, systems, and technology. It describes how the reference architecture can greatly assist in defining specific technical deliverables within these complex systems. Having a proven, standards based, and shared toolkit for developing the oceans reference architecture will assist in keeping the architecture team distributed throughout Atlantic Canada well aligned when creating and maintaining the reference architecture..
Some example reference architectures:
  1. Microsoft Industry Reference Architecture for Banking (MIRA-B)
  2. A Reference Architecture for The Open Banking Standard
  3. IBM Insurance Reference Architecture
  4. Healthcare Reference Architecture
These four serve as examples of reference architectures from established industries where the patterns, technologies, and architectures have developed through time. As you read through these you can get a sense of the value, industry collaboration, growth, and innovation that can be facilitated by having a comprehensive industry reference architecture.

What is unique about a digitization of oceans reference architecture?

The infrastructure of the Digital Ocean. (Courtesy of Liquid Robotics, a Boeing Company)
It's too early in this discussion to be specific about the oceans reference architecture, it is important to note that it is both broad and deep. It is broad in that it includes many ground based systems, processes, and infrastructure similar in complexity to the previously mentioned examples. In addition to this broadness we need to add the theater in which the digitization of oceans operates; we have vessels of many types (airborne, surface, and submersible), we have a growing collection of sensors and protocols, we have cross industry collaborations (fisheries, environment, oil and gas, shipping, researchers, academia, defense, etc.). I believe it is safe to say the reference architecture for the digitization of oceans will be very broad due to the number of data collection points and the number of intersections (technical and otherwise). The oceans reference architecture will also be very deep in that the data will be coming from many sources above and below the ocean surface. And the data that is being collected will both be very specific and detailed, while also being general at a more meta level. I believe it is the breadth and depth of the digitization of oceans that make its reference architecture unique. And its creation is a large, important, and emerging challenge... more on this to come.

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a series of blog posts describing, in more detail, all the aspects for building a successful digitization of oceans reference architecture. Next up is; "a plethora of end points" with focus on oceans technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). Please follow along and make comment. For a table of contents of these coming posts please review a companion post; Digitization of Oceans Reference Architecture TOC

Monday, November 13, 2017

Digitization of Oceans Reference Architecture TOC

For a sense of where I am going with this series of posts describing a reference architecture for the digitization of oceans, please consider this "table of contents". As I complete items in the list, I will update this TOC;
  1. Introduction - summary of why a series of posts describing a digitization of oceans reference architecture.
  2. What is a reference architecture? - summary of the existing online descriptions of reference architecture and why it is important to building a strong technology ecosystem.
  3. A plethora of end points - with new Internet of Things (IoT) end points coming available with increasing frequency we look to how many sensor types are available to an oceans reference architecture and some examples of how they are being used. I've included a couple more posts describing end points, as I deepened my research I felt the descriptions needs to be expanded to include what is happening as end-points in the oceans and in the air.
  4. Communications - description of the current state of data communications above and below the oceans surface. And why it matters to the reference architecture.
  5. Messaging Standards - the structure of the data packages (or messages) between the endpoints is a very important attribute of a successful reference architecture.
  6. What is the digitization of oceans? - a high level description of the digitization of oceans. This will detail the breadth and depth of what is considered the digitization of oceans. This description should also consider the intersection of the different ecosystems of; business, innovation, and knowledge.
  7. What is a digitization of oceans reference architecture? - comprehensive diagram of the entities within the oceans reference architecture with detailed description of each item and their connections (digital or otherwise).
  8. The importance of good governance - the dynamic nature of innovation within the digitization of oceans will cause many elements of the reference architecture to be changing. To encourage interoperability at all levels (technical and otherwise) having good governance will be paramount for success.
  9. The economic value to be found in the oceans reference architecture - why is a reference architecture valuable for community, business, innovation, etc. And why Atlantic Canada should be a major contributor or primary steward of the reference architecture.
  10. How to create the digitization of oceans reference architecture - what is the road map in completing the first release of a digitization of oceans reference architecture. I purposely say first release as this reference architecture will need constant tending as new technologies and capabilities come available.
Keep in mind this is meant to kick off a conversation about creating a reference architecture for the digitization of oceans. This is NOT something I want to do on my own, or believe I could do effectively on my own without contributions from others and a few years of focused effort. I really want engagement across Atlantic Canada to discuss the idea of creating this reference architecture and to become stewards of the reference architecture as it is used globally for the benefit of everybody.

Disclaimer - All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. They are views created by my many years as an IT professional and, more importantly, an enterprise architect responsible for building large and distributed systems.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Reference architecture for the digitization of oceans

I strongly believe one of the cornerstones for the successful digitization of oceans is a reference architecture. I believe this also holds true for the digitization of oil and gas, but I see this digitization as a subset of the oceans. Or more specifically, I see the digitization of maritime oil and gas as a subset of the digitization of oceans. I regress... One of the most important aspects of the reference architecture is its openness (as opposed to proprietary). If we are wanting to spur innovation in Atlantic Canada we need every small, medium, and large organization to realize benefit from shared digital resources. We need a way for all these organizations to openly communicate and build this digital ecosystem. The digitization of oceans reference architecture will define (or utilize existing approaches) the "language" that all oceans technologies communicate with one another and remember their collective history.

An example; the reference architecture would specify the digital messaging structure for an ocean temperature event. Therefore, when a small startup (that specializes in ocean temperature sensors) needs to publish their data they need only comply with messaging structures for ocean temperature. This would allow everyone in the ecosystem to get at their temperature event data as soon as it is available. Also important, is the startups market for ocean temperature sensors customers includes everyone who is aligned with the oceans reference architecture and it's messaging structures.

Another example; the reference architecture would specify the underwater wireless communications approaches and suggested protocols and practices. All allowing the temperature event data to be broadcast and communicated to the historical repository for archiving.

Another example; the reference architecture would specify all the messaging structures and the data storage approaches so the data could be archived and be available through time. The historical archive would allow for retrieval, searching, research, planning, and analysis.

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a series of blog posts describing, in more detail, all the aspects for building a successful digitization of oceans reference architecture. Next up is; "what is a reference architecture" with focus on oceans technology. Please follow along and make comment. For a table of contents of these coming posts please review a companion post; Digitization of Oceans Reference Architecture TOC

Disclaimer - All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. They are views created by my many years as an IT professional and, more importantly, an enterprise architect responsible for building large and distributed systems.