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Portfolio Architectures: What enterprise architects need to know

Use these open source architecture collections as the foundation when building your next enterprise architecture project.
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Toddler looking at a flight of steps

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

For the past few years, Red Hat's Portfolio Architecture team has been working on a project called Portfolio Architectures. These architecture designs are based on a specific use case that companies use in the real world and then finding implementations of that case using three or more products from the Red Hat portfolio.

This premise is the foundation, and we include many aspects of open source in both the process and the final product we define. We kick off each project with our community of architects and use their initial feedback from the start. Before we publish each architecture, we present it to ensure usability by architects in the field. The final published product includes some internal-only content around our customers' specific projects, but most of the content is open and freely available through various open source channels.

This article is an overview of the Portfolio Architectures project and what's available to you in our architecture center. Future articles will share the architectures we've published.

What is a Portfolio Architecture?

The basis of a Portfolio Architecture is that it's a use case with two to three real-world implementations that can be researched and uses a minimum of three of our open source products. This is the ideal foundation for a project to start, but we've encountered problems with use cases containing emerging technologies or emerging domains in the market. To account for these evolutions, we're transparent that these are opinionated architectures based on internal reference architectures.

[ Download An architect's guide to multicloud infrastructure to explore important considerations for a variety of modern cloud architectures.] 

A Portfolio Architecture product is defined as complete for publishing when it contains the following:

  • Short use-case definition*
  • Logical, schematic (physical), and detail diagrams*
  • Public slide deck containing the use case story and architecture diagrams*
  • Internal slide deck containing both the pulbic deck content and confidential customer research
  • Video (short) explanation of the architecture
  • Either a technical brief document or one or more articles covering the solution architecture*

* The items specified with an asterisk are available to anyone in the Red Hat Portfolio Architecture Center or the Portfolio Architecture Examples repository.

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Logical diagram design template
Click the image for a full-size view (Eric Schabell, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Tooling and workshops

Developing these products required discussions about how we want to diagram our architectures. We chose to keep them very generic and simple to facilitate all levels of conversation around a particular use case without getting bogged down in discussions about notation.

We captured a simple three-level design for our architectures by using logical, schematic, and detail diagrams. All of these have been integrated in open source tooling with predefined templates and icons to simplify getting started.

Furthermore, we've developed a tooling workshop to quickly ramp up on the design methods and tooling we've made available. It's called Designing your best architectural diagrams, and it has been featured at several conferences around the world.

Learn more

I'll describe some of the Portfolio Architecture collections we've published in future articles in this series. If you are interested in more architecture solutions like these, feel free to explore the Red Hat Portfolio Architecture Center or explore the Portfolio Architecture Examples repository.


This article originally appeared on Eric D. Schabell's blog and is republished with permission.

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Eric D. Schabell

Eric is Red Hat's Portfolio Architect Technical Director. He's renowned in the development community as a speaker, lecturer, author, and baseball expert. His current role allows him to share his deep expertise of Red Hat's open source technologies and cloud computing. More about me

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