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Did you know that a staggering 66% of enterprise architecture projects fail due to poor planning and unclear objectives according to the Standish Group’s Annual CHAOS 2020 report? Enterprise architecture is more than just tech talk; it’s essential for aligning your business with technology effectively. This article will break down what Enterprise Architecture is, tackle common challenges, and show you how to turn these into opportunities.

Enterprise Architecture is a key strategy, not just a set of tech tools. If you’re struggling with outdated tech, disconnected teams, or unclear strategies, this guide is for you. We’ll help you understand and use Enterprise Architecture to its full potential, covering everything from basic principles to the latest tools and methods. From the foundational principles to the latest tools and frameworks, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll look at what enterprise architects do, the importance of their decisions, and why certifications matter. We’ll also dive into different Enterprise Architecture frameworks, with a focus on VMware’s unique offerings. You’ll learn about the steps involved in Enterprise Architecture, from starting an assessment to putting plans into action, and how to manage risks and work with others in your company. We’ll even outline a typical Enterprise Architecture project timeline.

By reading this, you’ll learn key strategies to align your tech with your business goals and really transform your company’s digital side. Don’t miss out on making Enterprise Architecture your guide to business success.

Enterprise Architecture: Bridging Business and Technology

Enterprise Architecture is a practice concerned with business structures and behaviours, using comprehensive approaches to support strategy development and execution. „Enterprise” includes different types of organizations, and “architecture” means the fundamental design of systems. Enterprise Architecture helps to reduce complexity, improve efficiency, and align different parts of the organization. It’s a field where we distinguish between just designing products and crafting comprehensive solution-oriented design.

Think of it as designing not just a piece of a puzzle, but the entire puzzle itself, making sure each piece fits perfectly for the whole organization. This approach isn’t just about technology; it’s about understanding and catering to a wide array of users, with a clear, long-term vision in mind.

As architects in this space, we dive deep into understanding user behaviour, their interactions, and expectations. It’s our job to create a system that’s not just robust but also flexible and future-proof, adapting to changing needs.

Now, let’s turn our focus to solution-oriented design, particularly exploring the principles of VMware’s Enterprise Architecture in IT. It’s an exciting journey where we align complex tech solutions with broad organizational goals, ensuring that every stakeholder finds value in the architecture we build. The design will combine technologies from different vendors that are compatible with each other. It will also specify how to keep them up to date, and how to change or remove them if necessary.

Design must consider all mission-critical applications with proper capacity planning, and expansions for future customer needs. One of major aspects of design for solution is risk management plan which is set of actions that your team will follow if a predetermined risk materializes and makes your initial plan impossible like:

  • Natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, or wildfires
  • Component, server, site failures
  • Cyberattacks, such as hacking, phishing, or ransomware.
  • Supply chain disruptions, such as delays, shortages, or price fluctuations
  • Human errors, such as mistakes, miscommunication, or negligence
  • Market changes, such as shifts in customer demand, competition, or regulations.

Enterprise Architect

An Enterprise Architect is a professional who designs, plans, and implements the overall structure and operation of an organization’s IT systems and processes, using holistic approach. Holistic approach taking whole picture into account instead just focusing on isolated part of infrastructure. Question that should be answered is how one design solution or change in environment will impact complete infrastructure system. If Enterprise Architect build “great design” which is not applicable on customer infrastructure, the architect has failed.

Enterprise Architect tasks

  • Collaborating with stakeholders across different functions and levels to communicate and validate the architecture solutions, identifying and understanding business requirements, identifying constraints and, risks and validating assumptions.
  • Translating business requirements into technical requirements and use it for design and implementation decisions.
  • Understanding what a design impact of choices would be made.
  • Analysing the current state of the IT landscape and identifying gaps, risks, and opportunities for improvement
  • Developing a vision and roadmap for the future state of the IT landscape that aligns with the business objectives and requirements.
  • Designing and documenting the architecture principles, standards, guidelines, and best practices for the IT systems, services, and operational guidelines
  • Managing and coordinating the implementation, testing, deployment, and change management of the architecture solutions.
  • Evaluating and monitoring the performance, quality, security, scalability, reliability, and availability of the IT systems and services
  • Providing guidance, support, training, and mentoring to other IT professionals on architecture-related matters
  • Taking care that design can leverage mission-critical applications as well as non-mission critical applications.

Design decisions

When you make a design decision for a project, you’re choosing one option over others to meet the project’s needs. These decisions could be about anything from the type of hardware you use to the way you configure software. It’s important to explain why you chose one option over another. This explanation is called design justification.

Each decision has a main effect you want, like faster performance or better security. But decisions can also have side effects that might be good, bad, or neutral. For example, choosing more secure, complex passwords is good for security but might be bad because it’s harder for people to remember. When you make a choice, you usually weigh the pros and cons and choose the one with the most benefits. It called design implication.

Architect must align its design decisions with risks, think about failures at different levels—like a single server going down, a whole system crashing, or even a complete outage at a datacentre—and you plan for how to keep things running anyway, often by having backups or using different datacentres.

If you’re the one making the design decisions, you need to be good at both big-picture planning and focusing on details. You start with broad strategies and get more detailed as you go along. You also use patterns—solutions that worked well in the past—to help make decisions more quickly. Sometimes you use careful analysis, and other times you go with your gut based on past experiences.

Enterprise Architecture certifications

In the dynamic field of Enterprise Architecture, certifications are more than just fancy titles; they’re a testament to your skills and commitment. Let’s walk through some of the key certifications that can boost your career in EA.

  • Professional Cloud Solutions Architect Certification: Ideal for cloud-focused architects, this certification demonstrates expertise in designing and implementing cloud solutions.
  • Red Hat Certified Architect: A valuable certification for those working with Red Hat technologies and solutions.
  • Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA): Perfect for professionals working with Salesforce, this certification showcases proficiency in designing robust Salesforce solutions.
  • TOGAF Certification: TOGAF, both at the Foundation and Practitioner levels, is a widely recognized certification. It covers a holistic approach to EA, focusing on aligning business and IT strategies.
  • EACOE Enterprise Architecture Certifications: These certifications validate your ability to develop practical, usable architectures and solutions.
  • AWS Certified Solution Architect: If you’re leaning towards Amazon Web Services, this is the go-to certification, focusing on designing distributed systems on the AWS platform.
  • Dell EMC Proven Professional: This certification is designed for those focusing on solutions in Dell EMC’s technology environment.
  • VCDX – VMware Certified Design Expert: This is the elite certification for VMware professionals. It demonstrates your ability to design and implement VMware solutions at the highest level of complexity and efficiency. If VMware is your arena, VCDX is the certification to aim for.

Remember, each certification has its unique strengths, and the best choice depends on your career path, the technologies you work with, and your personal goals. I strongly believe in the power of these certifications to enhance your credentials and open new doors in your professional journey.

How These Certifications Can Boost Your Career

  • Increased Credibility: With a certification, you’re not just another IT pro. You’re an expert.
  • Better Job Opportunities: Many organizations look for certified professionals when hiring for high-level EA roles.
  • Higher Earning Potential: Certifications can open the door to higher salaries and more lucrative consulting opportunities.
  • Stay Current: These certifications ensure you’re up to date with the latest trends, tools, and best practices in EA.

Enterprise Architecture principles

Enterprise Architecture principles are like the golden rules guiding the IT universe within a business. They’re not just fancy jargon but practical signposts that steer everything related to IT in an organization.

The Big Picture: These principles are all about understanding the entire landscape of IT resources and assets in a company. Think of it like having a map that shows you where everything is and how it all connects.

Guidance for All Stages: From sketching out the current IT setup to planning future changes, EA principles are your trusty guide. They’re the wise old sage of the IT world, offering wisdom for every step of your enterprise’s journey.

More Than Just Planning: EA isn’t just about making plans; it’s about putting those plans into action. It’s like having a blueprint for a building and then actually constructing it.

Setting Standards: These principles help set criteria for choosing technology and services that impact the whole enterprise. They’re like the rules of the game that everyone playing needs to follow.

Keep It Simple: The key to effective EA principles? Plain language. Everyone from the CEO to the newest intern should get it. It’s like explaining rocket science in a way that even a kid would understand.

Remember, EA principles are not just for the tech wizards in their IT towers; they’re for everyone in the company. By understanding and following these principles, businesses can create a harmonious IT environment that supports their goals and drives success.

Enterprise Architecture frameworks

Think of an Enterprise Architecture Framework as a toolkit. It’s a collection of tools and methods that help us understand and organize how a company is put together. Let’s break this down in a way that’s easy to understand and engaging. They guide you in creating and maintaining the IT architecture of an organization. Think of them as a set of best practices and methodologies that help in shaping the technology landscape of a company.

Why are Enterprise Architecture Frameworks Important?

Matching Technology with Business Goals: These frameworks make sure that a company’s technology supports and enhances its business objectives, helping the company grow and work more efficiently.

Creating a Standard Way of Doing Things: They offer a consistent way to manage and plan a company’s structure and processes.

Making Better Decisions: These frameworks give a clear picture of how a company operates, which helps in making smarter decisions, reducing risks, and achieving better results.

Staying Agile and Flexible: They help companies quickly adjust to new market trends and technology, keeping them up-to-date and competitive.

Popular Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

The Zachman Framework: Created by John Zachman in the 1980s, this is one of the first frameworks of its kind. It uses a 6×6 grid to look at a company from different viewpoints (like a planner or a designer) and different aspects (like data or functions).

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF): This is a widely-used framework that provides detailed ways to develop a company’s architecture. It includes a step-by-step method known as the Architecture Development Method.

The Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF): Tailored for the U.S. Federal Government, this framework helps improve the government’s efficiency by promoting shared development in its processes and information systems.

The Gartner Framework: Developed by Gartner, a research firm, this framework is adaptable and flexible, designed to meet the specific needs of a company, regardless of its size or maturity.

Why VMware’s Frameworks Stand Out?

VMware’s approach to Enterprise Architecture is unique. It provides a comprehensive plan that includes developing a vision, defining business, application, data, and technology domains. It’s not just about setting up technology; it’s about ensuring that this technology works in harmony with every part of the business.

Practical Side of VMware’s Frameworks

What does this mean for you? If you’re managing an IT system, these frameworks help you to build a system that’s robust, scalable, and perfectly aligned with your business needs. It’s about making technology work for you, not the other way around.

Benefits of Implementing These Frameworks

Cutting Costs: They streamline operations and cut out unnecessary steps, helping companies save money.

Boosting Efficiency: By providing a clearer understanding of processes, these frameworks make companies operate more smoothly.

Managing Risks: They help in spotting and dealing with potential risks by offering a complete view of the company.

Preparing for the Future: These frameworks make it easier for companies to adapt to new technology and market changes, keeping them ready for the future.

Enterprise Architecture Tools

At its core, VMware provides a suite of Enterprise Architecture tools that are both tested and certified. These tools play a crucial role in modelling, managing, and aligning business processes and IT infrastructure. But what makes VMware a top choice?

  • Versatility and Scalability: VMware’s tools are designed to grow with your business. They adapt effortlessly, whether you’re a budding start-up or a multinational giant.
  • Reliability and Security: With VMware, your data and processes are in safe hands. Their solutions are known for robust security protocols, ensuring peace of mind.
  • Integration Capabilities: VMware’s architecture easily integrates with a variety of systems, creating a seamless IT environment.

The Impact of VMware on Business Processes

VMware’s Enterprise Architecture tools have a profound impact on how businesses operate. They streamline processes, enhance communication, and foster innovation. But how exactly do they achieve this?

  • By improving data accessibility and flow, VMware tools ensure that the right information reaches the right people at the right time.
  • They facilitate better decision-making, backed by accurate, real-time data.
  • VMware’s solutions simplify complex processes, making them more efficient and less prone to error.

VMware’s use of Enterprise Architecture tools in designing their vRealize Suite is a testament to their efficiency. The integration of Enterprise Architecture methodologies in NSX-T Data Center design illustrates how VMware remains at the forefront of innovation.

Architecture vs. Design

Architecture is component of design which does not provide complete solution. IT plays a crucial role in establishing the high-level vision and strategy for the system. This phase involves understanding the broad objectives and requirements of the project and mapping these to high-level solution components that address business goals. It sets guidelines and constraints for the design and implementation phases. Architecture provides a blueprint for the system that aligns with business objectives and technological considerations.

Design focuses on the implementation details of the system’s components that were identified during the architectural phase. It includes more granular specifications, such as algorithms, data structures, and the specifics of individual components. It is closer to the actual construction of the software or system, with the creation of diagrams, code, and other artifacts necessary to guide developers and engineers. Translates the abstract concepts from the architecture into practical actions and development tasks. Design addresses both the user interface and the technical implementation perspective.

To conclude, architecture is a part of design, and it provides the framework within which design activities take place. Architecture defines the overall structure and principles that guide the design, while design involves the detailed work required to implement the vision provided by the architecture and design create solution which uses architecture components.


Here’s a way to contextualize it using our house-building analogy:

Imagine that the entire process of creating a house is like a journey. The journey includes several stages, like defining the destination, planning the route, and then the actual traveling. In this analogy:

Architecture is akin to defining the destination and the key milestones along the way. It’s a fundamental part of the journey-creation process (design), providing structure, purpose, and the high-level roadmap to reach the destination safely and effectively. It answers questions like: What kind of house do we want to live in? How many rooms do we need? Do we want an energy-efficient home? It involves making decisions that set the direction for everything else that follows.

Design represents the entire journey, including selecting the mode of transportation for each leg, planning the stops, and figuring out what to see and do along the way (the equivalent to detailing interiors, selecting materials, and designing systems within the house). It encompasses both the high-level vision and the myriad detailed decisions and actions needed to go from that vision to the destination.

While architecture holds the conceptual and high-level vision, it is only a part of design because design includes not just those high-level conceptual decisions but also the multitude of detailed, practical decisions and actions that turn an architectural concept into a fully realized structure.

In essence, architecture is only part of design because design includes both the conceptualization and the actualization—the entire end-to-end process from idea through to usable product.

Now we have term architecture design which is highly connected to VMware VCDX process to involve three steps: conceptual model, logical model and physical model.

Design methodology and frameworks in VMware

Design methodology in the VMware VCDX certification context refers to the prescribed sequence of actions and strategies that architects follow to develop a comprehensive VMware solution taking its roots in Enterprise Architecture. Methodology encourages a holistic approach that brings together technical knowledge of VMware products with an understanding of the business impact and operational considerations.

The methodology is a comprehensive guide detailing each step taken from identifying requirements, conceptualizing the design, creating logical and physical designs, planning implementation, and considering the operation and optimization of the system post-implementation.

While a methodology is more prescriptive and detailed, a framework is drifter, offering the architect the flexibility to make technology choices or to apply various tools and processes that suit specific project needs. Enterprise Architecture optionally includes well-known frameworks like TOGAF or Zachmann framework.

Technology framework is a term that refers to the set of technologies and tools that are used to build, deploy, and manage a VMware solution. Technology framework includes the components such as hypervisors, storage, networking, security, automation, and orchestration that enable the virtualization and cloud capabilities of VMware.

Architecture framework is a term that refers to the methodology and structure of a VMware solution design. Architecture framework includes the layers such as conceptual, logical, and physical that define the requirements, decisions, and details of a VMware solution.

Popular technology frameworks in VMware are:

VMware Infrastructure Architecture Overview

VMware vCloud NFV Reference Architecture

VMware Cloud Well-Architected Framework

The methodology is focused on the “how” of putting together the design—it is the playbook for carrying out the project. The framework refers more to the “what” is being constructed—it is the skeletal structure upon which the design is draped.

Let’s break these concepts on example for project where customer is planning to migrate environment form SAN to vSAN, and vSphere 7.0 to vSphere 8.0:

Design Methodology:

  • Conceptual design
  • Logical design
  • Physical design

Architecture and technology frameworks:

  • VMware Validated Designs (VVDs): Utilize the best practices outlined in VMware’s validated designs for deploying vSAN and vSphere environments.
  • Reference Architectures: Use VMware’s or other vendors’ reference architectures to ensure all components of the vSAN stack and vSphere 8.0 are optimized for performance and reliability.
  • Compatibility Guides: Refer to VMware compatibility guides to ensure all components of your environment (hardware, software drivers, and firmware) will work with vSAN and vSphere 8.0.
  • TOGAF and Zachman: Use these Enterprise Architecture frameworks to ensure the vSAN and vSphere architecture align with the overall IT strategy and infrastructure.
  • vSAN Ready Nodes and Hardware Guidelines: Follow VMware specifications for vSAN-compatible hardware to ensure support and performance.
  • Change Management Frameworks: Apply a structured change management process to manage the various stages and impacts of the transition.
  • VMware Validated Design and VMware Cloud Foundation frameworks accelerate the time to value on implementation projects.

Use cases also help you define the design characteristics of your VMware solution. Design characteristics are the qualities and features that make your solution good and effective. They include things like scalability, availability, security, performance, and manageability. To create use cases, you need to identify and describe the following components: a label, a title, a description, the main and secondary actors, the stakeholders, the success criteria, and the special requirements.

Design solution phases

The design of a solution in enterprise architecture typically involves several key phases:

Assessment phase

Early phase of the design process, where the fundamental underlying structure of the system or project is defined. To successfully start this phase, it needs certain inputs: kick off, interview result with stakeholders, operational readiness assessment, customer documentation review and current state analysis. During assessment phase Architect creates conceptual design by identifying requirements, constraints, assumptions, and risk which are elements to justify design decisions and choose appropriate design frameworks.

Solution development

This phase develops logical design which would detail the layout of a virtualized environment, including how the virtual machines, storage, and networking components should logically interrelate, without specifying the exact physical servers, storage devices, or physical network configuration. There is no specific terms and numbers like server model, IP address, or VLAN numbers. This is the part of process where architect design the solution for the project. Logical design lives longer than physical design (explained further) because physical footprint of environment can change but logical design can be used many times to produce many physical designs in future.


This phase includes physical design where the abstract representations and concepts from the logical design are mapped to actual hardware, software, and network configurations. Physical design must align closely with the logical design to ensure that all requirements are met, and that the system operates as intended once implemented Here’s what is typically involved: hardware specification, software configuration, network topology, storage architecture, etc. Includes operational guidelines to ensure that infrastructure is properly managed.


In this phase Enterprise Architect ensures that all requirements are met, risks and constraints mitigated. This phase involves creating and executing a testing plan to ensure that all components are working correctly and as expected.

Once project is completed, time passes, business changes, and new requirements are presented. If business does not meet the new requirements, it is time for design change.

Working with stakeholders

Stakeholder interviews are a crucial element in the process of gathering detailed requirements, identifying assumptions, recognizing potential risks, and understanding constraints. These interviews provide a platform to collect vital information that shapes the foundation of the project. Here’s how stakeholder interviews contribute to each of these aspects:

  • Requirements
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints
  • Risks


Requirements are all inputs that must be implemented in project, can be directly related to SLA agreements, or indirectly come from governance such as compliance requirement.

Business requirements are about why the project is being undertaken, the company vision. They articulate the goals, objectives, and outcomes that the business seeks to achieve. These are typically defined by business stakeholders – executives (CEO, CTO), end-users, or customers who have a interest in the problem or need that the project addresses. Business requirements ensure that the project aligns with the overall strategy, goals, and objectives of the organization and they answer following question: what?


The application availability must be 99.99%.

The organization must comply with PCS-DSS standard.

Technical requirements specify how the project’s goals will be achieved. They detail the technical specifications, system architecture, and configurations necessary for the solution. These are often developed by system architects, developers, and IT professionals who translate business needs into specific technical actions and workflows. For example, latency for mission critical application must be below 2ms. They answer following question: how?

The requirements are later divided to functional and nonfunctional requirements. Functional requirements describe what the system should do. They define the specific behaviour or functions of a system, detailing the services, tasks, or functions the user or system must be able to perform. Non-functional requirements describe how the system performs a particular function. They are not about specific behaviours but rather the quality attributes, system performance, and operational constraints.


Assumptions are conditions which are collected by architect and believed to be true to keep decision making and planning in the progress. Assumptions are not confirmed by stakeholders for various reasons at given point in time. Assumptions must be cleared till deployment phase start because each assumption has associated risk which has to be mitigated.


Constraints are limit and boundary to the design which limits the flexibility of design choices. For example, design must use existing storage array. Requirement for this would be use shared storage array leaving architect plenty of choices. Rule of thumb is if there are no multiple options for design decision, it is a constraint. They are often non-negotiable, fixed elements that the project must work around. In the context of IT infrastructure and enterprise: budgetary constraints, time constraints, resource constraints, technological constraints, security constraints, etc…


Risks in the design process are potential events or conditions that, if they occur, can cause a negative impact on the project’s objectives. In the context of IT and Enterprise Architecture, risks can affect the project timeline, cost, performance, and final deliverability of the system. Every risk must be mitigated with corresponding mitigation action: Accept, Avoid, Control, Transfer and Continu Monitoring. Risks can be technical in nature (not enough bandwidth over MPLS for replication) or non-technical (earthquakes’, floods…).

Assessment phase

The discovery phase is a crucial step in any VMware project, especially for Enterprise Architects who need to design and implement complex solutions for their customers. The discovery phase aims to understand the customer’s current environment, needs, and goals, and to propose the best strategy and technology for the project. EA should identify any problems which may prevent successful design solution and implementation.

One of the main activities in the discovery phase is conducting a series of assessments on the customer’s environment. These assessments help the Enterprise Architect to evaluate the current state, identify the gaps and opportunities, and plan the future state of the solution. The assessments cover three main areas: virtualization, application, and security.


Tools for perform assessment can vary from VMware health check, vendor specific tools, scripts,

Current State Analysis

This assessment is focused on understanding the existing virtualized or physical environment of the customer, performing hardware and software analysis along with environment health check.

  • Resource usage identification for physical and/or virtual services. (CPU, memory, disk).
  • Infrastructure assessment (compute, network and storage capacity and performance metrics) Comparing the current and the new design capabilities requires understanding the current and the desired capacity and performance.
  • Infrastructure services (AD, DNS, DHCP…) health check
  • Gap analysis (pinpoint necessary changes in hardware, software, and operational processes to align with project objectives) It will also identify major issues that may prevent a successful virtualization deployment.

Data for physical hardware which is candidate for virtualization should include CPU info, memory, storage, network, and other devices. The information collected is used to design virtual machine.

Data points for resource utilization statistics should be gathered over an uninterrupted timeframe at minimum 30 days.

Application assessment

This assessment focuses on application dependencies and interoperability. Software inventory should include applications and services, possibly dependencies on external system, hardware and software requirements, workload characteristics, security zoning requirements…


Gather application requirements from the following sources:

  • Application owner interview
  • SLAs
  • Vendor documentation
  • VMware best practices


The following examples describe the type of information to gather:

  • Workload characteristics (mission critical, non-mission critical)
  • Hardware and software requirements
  • Service dependencies
  • Communication requirements between applications and with the outside world
  • Implementing Security Zoning: Define the security zones required to safeguard the system’s


  • Setting Performance and Availability Standards

Security assessment

This assessment will identify any security gaps and make sure applications are aligned with various compliance standards.

Health check

A health check compares customer current infrastructure with some standards or guidelines that are known to work well provided in form of reference architecture. These standards or guidelines are called best practices, and they are based on the knowledge and experience of experts and other users. Best practices are useful for most situations, but they may not work for every situation. Sometimes, you may need to change or adapt the best practices to fit your specific customer needs and business goals.

Financial assessment

Sometimes, in a project, money can become a bottleneck – like a narrow part of a road where traffic jams happen. This means the project can’t move forward because it runs out of money or can’t use the money flexibly.

This step aligns with the budget, determining how to stay within financial limits. Sometimes, budgets are set in advance, requiring the design plan to adjust accordingly. Other times, an organization may flex its budget based on the projected benefits, like cost reductions, which the project might bring.

Architects often assist organizations in recognizing and calculating expected benefits and potential cost savings and navigating customer through unforeseen risks and challenges. For example, if a project involves adopting a private cloud, as the project progresses, it might reach the limits of its allocated resources (like server capacity or software licenses). If the demand exceeds the planned capacity, those requesting additional services (like more storage or computing power) might have to incur extra costs for expanding the infrastructure.

This means that regardless of where the money comes from or how it’s supposed to be spent (on things like equipment or day-to-day costs), it’s crucial to understand how these decisions will impact the project’s success and budget.

Each of these assessments should be based on a combination of business requirements and the technology features used to support these requirements. The goal is to ensure that the proposed design is scalable, meets the current and future needs of the business, and adheres to security and compliance standards. Recommendations should be based on the business requirements, constraints, best practices, and experience.

In addition to these technical assessments, it’s also important to conduct a financial assessment to align the architecture with the organization’s budgetary constraints and to identify any potential financial risks. The financial assessment helps in making informed decisions about technology investments and ensures that the proposed solutions offer a good return on investment.

Architecture design phases

Conceptual design

This initial stage involves mapping client requirements to high-level design solution components. The focus here is on understanding the business objectives, constraints, and potential use cases for the VMware environment. This phase is more about defining the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the project before diving into the specifics.

Logical design

Shows relationships between business requirements in conceptual design and infrastructure components that will support them. It does not include any vendor specific technologies. You can pass your Conceptual and Logical design to multiple vendors to create Physical design. It has longer lifespan than Physical Design which is prone to change as technology goes forward.

Physical design

The final stage involves detailing the physical components of the solution and their physical connections. This phase is where specific hardware, network configurations, storage solutions, and other physical resources are selected and mapped out. It’s about turning the theoretical designs from the previous phases into an actionable, deployable architecture.


Validation and testing of design decisions.

Logical design qualities (AMPRS)

Design qualities in the design process, particularly in the context of IT and Enterprise Architecture like VMware solutions, refer to the essential attributes or characteristics that a system or solution must possess to meet its objectives effectively. Customer requirements are directly mapped to design qualities ensuring smooth transition from business to technical world. These qualities are integral to the architecture and design process, guiding decisions and ensuring that the final solution aligns with business goals, performance expectations, and operational requirements. Non-functional requirements are mapped to design qualities: availability, manageability, performance, recoverability, and security.


Availability is closely related to system uptime but could also be tightly connected to performance and SLA agreements. About system uptime, usually we hear system must be up 99.9%. What does it mean? In this case system must be up for 8.77 hours per year. If we mention performance, what if application is not usable due high latency, does it count into availability or performance? Here architect must work with stakeholders so that every SLA covers every possible situation.


Manageability includes ongoing management and maintenance of infrastructure when deployed to support organization efforts to reach business goals. Main components of management of vSphere environments are lifecycle management, infrastructure scalability and capacity planning. Manageability also can include automation and workflow orchestration.


Performance is concerned with the expected performance level of the system, specifically in terms of its responsiveness. Metrics such as the number of Input/Output operations per second (IOPS) or the response time experienced by end users are typical measures used in these requirements. It can dictate design decision, from type of storage, network, and servers.


Recoverability is related to availability but: availability is focused on preventing disaster and recoverability targets how quickly infrastructure can recover from failure. Usually, company delivers metrics in the form of RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective). RPO stands for how much time company can afford of data loss (maybe 1h). RTO stands for how much time in needed to bring service back. All these numbers are written in SLA (Service Level Agreement) between customer and service provider.


Security as a design quality refers to the integration of security considerations into the architectural and design process of a system from the very beginning. It is a proactive approach that aims to build security into the system from the ground up, rather than treating it as an afterthought or merely a compliance requirement. Customer regularly have requirements in form of compliance with standards and regulations, data control and integrity, risk management, regular security audits and updates. Architect must include every security requirement into design solution and include VMware security practices if they fit into business objectives.


Supporting documentation

Architecture Design document

A complete set of design documentation, including conceptual, logical, and physical design.

Implementation plan

Include timeline, roles and responsibilities and deployment guide.

Installation guide

Step-by-step instructions on how to install and configure the infrastructure.

Operational procedures

Clear instructions for VCP-level staff on how to effectively run and manage the environment in Day 2 operations.

Test/validation plan

Test/validation plan that confirms the design functions as intended.

Risk management

Document plans to address, mitigate, and/or eliminate risks in the design.


Enterprise Architecture project schedule

Phase 0: Determining business objectives.


Initial meeting where the project team, stakeholders, and sometimes clients come together to discuss the objectives, expectations, plans, and roles for the upcoming project. It’s an opportunity to align the team’s understanding of the project’s goals, set the tone for communication, and establish timelines and milestones.

Interview with key stakeholders and sponsors

  • Engage with key stakeholders and sponsors to understand the overarching business objectives and goals.
  • Define the project’s goals in terms of business outcomes.
  • Organizational boundaries: physical, political, and cultural
  • Compliance and regulatory needs
  • Projected growth requirements
  • Cost reduction
  • Budget constraints
  • Future scaling
  • Policies and procedures

Interview and workshops with technical personnel

Engage with key stakeholders and sponsors to understand the technical requirements.

Operational readiness assessment

Operational readiness assessment makes sure that that the systems, processes, and personnel are fully prepared and capable to transition to new technologies or operational changes: Infrastructure and Virtualization readiness, VMware environment configuration and Data migration and backup are part of ORAs.

Customer documentation review

Reviewing the customer’s existing documentation helps understand their current infrastructure, systems, processes, and technology landscape.

Documents often contain information about system requirements, operational limitations, and business objectives which are critical for shaping the new design.

Current state analysis

A comprehensive review of the existing infrastructure and operations, application dependency and capacity planning. The Enterprise Architect assesses current capabilities, identifies gaps, and determines risks. It’s about understanding where the client is before planning where they need to go.


Phase 1: Conceptual design

Identifying Business Requirements

This involves collecting detailed technical specifications that the VMware solution must meet. It includes understanding the current IT infrastructure, software and hardware dependencies, performance metrics, and any specific technical constraints. Break the requirements to functional and non-functional requirements.

Identifying Technical Requirements

This involves collecting detailed technical specifications that the VMware solution must meet. It includes understanding the current IT infrastructure, software and hardware dependencies, performance metrics, and any specific technical constraints. Break the requirements to functional and non-functional requirements.

Identifying Constraints and Assumptions

Alongside requirements, it’s important to identify any constraints (budgetary, technical limitations, timeframes) and make necessary assumptions for moving forward with the design.

Perform Risk Analysis

Evaluate potential risks in the project, which includes assessing exposure to various risks in structural engineering and project management. Create risk mitigation plan.

Capacity planning

Regarding requirements for future growth, application scaling, and technological advancements architect has to ensure that the design allows for scalability, enabling the infrastructure to grow and adapt as demands increase or change.

Outline High-Level Business Benefits and revalidate the requirements

  • Clearly articulate how the conceptual design will meet the business objectives and create value for the organization.
  • This may include improved performance, cost savings, increased flexibility, or the ability to capitalize on new opportunities.
  • Revalidate current requirements based on performed assessments

Develop High-Level Architecture Overview

Translate the chosen concept into a high-level architecture outline that includes the major components and how they interact (e.g., compute, storage, network). At this stage, refrain from specifying brands or models—keep the focus on roles and responsibilities within the system.

Document the Conceptual Design:

Produce a clear and concise document that captures all the elements of the conceptual design for communication with stakeholders and as a guide for future phases.


Phase 2: Logical design

Define Logical Building Blocks

  • Break down the system into core logical components such as compute, storage, networking, and security.
  • Ensure each block aligns with the conceptual model’s requirements and constraints.

Map business requirements to design qualities (AMPRS)

  • Determine which features and capabilities are required to meet the business needs.
  • Assign these functions to specific logical components.

Design Logical Structures

  • Define how the components will interact logically, such as virtual networks, storage tiers, and clusters.
  • Design logical constructs that are vendor-neutral and focus on the architecture’s functionality.

Availability and Recoverability Design

  • Incorporate availability and recoverability into the logical design to meet the agreed-upon SLAs.
  • Consider the logical placement of services to ensure business continuity.

Validate Logical Design

  • Review the logical design with stakeholders to ensure it meets all requirements and constraints.
  • Adjust the design as necessary based on feedback and validation outcomes.


Phase 3: Physical design

Select Physical Components

  • Choose specific server models, storage devices, networking equipment, and other hardware based on performance requirements and budget.
  • Decide on specific versions and configurations of software components.

Design Network Infrastructure

  • Map out the physical network layout, including switches, routers, and load balancers.
  • Define VLANs, network zoning, and IP addressing schemes.

Storage Configuration

  • Design storage arrays, define LUNs, RAID levels, and storage protocols.
  • Plan for storage performance and capacity requirements.

Compute Resources Allocation

  • Determine physical server configurations, sizing, and resource allocation.
  • Design clusters for high availability and distributed resource management.

Security Implementation

  • Choose physical and virtual security appliances and services.
  • Define firewall rules, intrusion detection/prevention strategies, and endpoint protection.

Backup and Recovery Solutions

  • Design the backup architecture, select backup solutions, and define recovery procedures.

Physical Site Design

  • Plan for the physical placement of equipment in datacentres.
  • Ensure environmental conditions are met (cooling, power, etc.).

Final Phase

Supporting documentation delivery

Architecture Design document, Implementation plan, Installation guide, Operational procedures, Test/validation plan, Risk management

Validation and Testing

Create a testing plan to validate that the physical components meet the design requirements.

Knowledge Transfer

This step involves transferring knowledge and documentation to those who will maintain or use the system or architecture. It includes providing training, support, and feedback.

At the end

This step involves closing the project and celebrating the achievements. It includes reviewing the project outcomes, lessons learned, and recommendations for future improvements.


Enterprise architecture is a crucial tool for aligning business strategy with technology. It’s not just about building systems; it’s about understanding how every part of your organization works together. To start, assess your current situation and then define where you want to be, always keeping your business strategy in focus.

Systems thinking is key in Enterprise Architecture. It means looking at your organization, seeing how each part connects and affects the others. This holistic view helps in making better decisions and improving communication within the company.

When you’re ready to implement EA, begin with a clear strategy. Be aware of common challenges and use best practices to guide you. A good starting point is a 30-day plan to get things moving.

Remember, Enterprise Architecture is about bridging the gap between technology and business. It involves systematic decision-making using frameworks that help you see the big picture and make informed choices.