Friday, February 28, 2014

Demystifying the role of an Infrastructure Architect and Database Architect - Part 1

Demystifying the role of an Infrastructure  Architect and Database Architect
Part 1

The specifics of various architecture roles have become a hot topic as enterprise architecture (EA) practices have matured. A common role in many organizations is the infrastructure architect.
A recent Forrester survey reveals that most enterprise architects rank infrastructure architecture as their top priority, and in many organizations, infrastructure architects report directly to a central EA group.
Infrastructure architects
design and standardize an organization's infrastructure,
 providing strategic coordination as well as tactical governance.
This strategic coordination will have significant impact on two fronts.
a) First, as the transition from IT to BT (business technology) progresses, technology will become more and more embedded in business capabilities, making it imperative that strategic decisions include real-time collaboration between business and technology subject matter experts.
b) Also, as the infrastructure and operations department transitions to a more process-driven IT service management approach, infrastructure architects will need to define technical end-to-end architectures that break down the traditional internal support structures.

Architecture of any enterprise stands On 3 Layers

1.     Business Architecture:
a.     Business Needs
b.     Data Model
c.      Flow Diagram
2.     Application Architecture:
a.     Software
b.     Application
3.     Technical Architecture
a.     Hardware
b.     Tool

And finally all boil down to
1.     key performance indicator (KPI)  and
2.     Road to Dynamic Infrastructure

Now to understand what industry looks for these IA let us have a look at  A typical Infrastructure Architect ad:

The Infrastructure Architect (IA) is a member of the  xXXXx  Architecture team and is responsible for leading the process that aligns our technology foundational components to business system initiatives.  The IA role is to coordinate, direct, and design project infrastructure activities as well as provide technology direction in support of the project and support teams.
The IA possesses a broad knowledgebase with a focus on strategic technologies including: Microsoft Windows Server technologies, IBM Power Systems, VMware technologies and Storage technologies.
The IA will also work with decision makers in other departments to identify, recommend, develop, implement, and support cost-effective technology solutions.  The IA will participate in overall IT planning, bringing a current knowledge and future vision of technology and systems.
The IA role works in close partnership with  xXXXx ’s Chief Architect and the Enterprise Architecture team aligning technical solutions to business and technology strategies.
 This position will be responsible for designing and delivering solutions which are fault tolerant, flexible, and scalable to support our development, test and production environments.
The scope of this position includes collaboration and participation with all IT Infrastructure core components; furthermore, the IA will be a liaison between  xXXXx  IT and  xXXXx ’s business partners, such as IBM Global Services, and will work collaboratively to maintain and operate all related systems in support of end-user access, performance, and stability.
1.     Research and evaluation of both software/hardware; e,g HP/IBM X-Series Systems, Windows, VMware, Hyper-V and Storage products. 
2.     Must be able to remain current and possess knowledge of emerging technologies
3.     Advises management of options, risk vs. cost, benefits and other impacts on Infrastructure technology solutions
4.     Sets technical standards and procedures across the enterprise for all strategic platforms.
5.     Creates "Position Statements", "Technical Approaches" and "Technical Designs" documents as technology guidelines
6.     Monitors and recommends current and future architecture trends
7.     Communicates to, educates, and mentors colleagues
Minimum Requirements
1.     x+ years experience creating, troubleshooting and supporting complex Unix/Windows, VMware and Storage solutions
2.     x+ years in a Power/Windows Infrastructure Architecture role, with some focus on Storage, technical designs and implementations
3.     x+ years working with Windows Operating Systems, Clustering, Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, and VMware
4.     Experience with analyzing and documenting Technology solutions and mapping them to business TCO (Total Cost Of Ownership)and ROI Analysis
 Essential Functions/Responsibilities:
Expert knowledge of and experience with enterprise scale technologies such as Windows technologies including Server platforms, Desktop platforms, Exchange Environments, Active Directory, IIS, Windows Clustering, Hyper-V, VMware Virtualization, and CA monitoring.
Expert knowledge in Design and Implementation of Proactive Monitoring and Management processes for all responsible environments
Expert knowledge in Developing, Planning and executing DR procedures for all responsible environments
Provide Configuration Management leadership across the enterprise for all supported technology platforms

Ad similar role  from a big Service Company

Cognizant Technology Solutions is looking for a Senior Infrastructure Architect to work on a project xxxxx.
1.     The candidate is responsible for the design of infrastructure and networks & work with the infrastructure engineers to implement the design.
2.     Experience in network architecture, server room setup, data storage, SAN, Telephony (ex: IVR).
3.     Experience with rack servers, mid-range server installations. Experience in server capacity planning, network capacity estimation.


1.     Good understanding Network Infrastructure Services (TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP)
2.     Good understanding of data networking principals, Cisco routing and switching and experience working with large and complex data networks.
3.     Understanding of paging and swapping, inter-process communications, devices and what device drivers do, file system concepts.
4.     Experience with performance tuning/capacity planning of servers (hardware and software levels).
Knowledgeable in HA and BCP concepts (RAID, SPOFs, etc).
5.     Familiarity with fundamental networking/distributed computing environment concepts, understands high level routing concepts.
6.     Working knowledge of various systems security tools (Antivirus, system-based firewalls) with a demonstrated ability to implement them.
7.     Detailed understanding of DNS concepts.
8.     Experience with VMware virtualization technologies and template creation for virtualization and Cloud platforms.
9.      Experience with storage integration with respect to Windows & Linux (CIFS sharing, SAN storage presentation, SAN HBA integration, multipathing).

Now we know that IA is a  subset of EA and yes, DB Architect is a subset of IA. So let us try to examine that relationship here by analyzing the Job Specs for a DB architect whose responsibilities are as below:

1. Responsible for ensuring that the data assets of the organization are supported by a data architecture that aids the organization in achieving its strategic goals.

2. Responsible for design of structured and unstructured information environments. Applies data architecture and business intelligence best practices to the development standards and solution architecture.

3.  Enables the enterprise to realize more value from its information by identifying gaps and opportunities, recommending changes and improvements, and formulating action plans to help manage information goals.

4. Provides users with the means to quickly understand business information through visualization, dashboards, business metrics, KPIs, reports, pre-built and ad-hoc queries, search, and predictive analytics. 
  • Works with customers to understand their business models and goals to help define strategy, content and features for information delivery.
  • Transforms functional and technical requirements into logical and physical data models to support transactional, reporting, and analytical systems.
  • Creates scalable, adaptable, integrated, secure and performant data systems that meets the needs of the business and information systems.
  • Documents data structure, definition and movement using tools such as Visio, ER Studio and the metadata repository.
  • Serves as an expert in efficient ETL (data Extract, Transformation and Loading), data quality and data consolidation with tools such as Integration Services, Informatica and/or scripting.  Guides efforts to create and revise technology, methodology and process standards.
  • Reviews designs of relational, multi-dimensional, and unstructured environments and offers suggestions for quality improvement.
  • Serves as the resident expert data governance, data stewardship, data de-identification, and data integration for HNTB
  • Responsible for design and support of enterprise analytic and reporting systems and tools.
  • Coaches and mentors junior technical staff and leads mid and large sized development efforts.
  • Establishes the business intelligence development methodologies.  Administers the library of documentation supporting dashboards, KPIs, reports, queries and analytics. Supplements the BI team by coding BI applications, database objects and/or reports using Microsoft BI Stack (Analysis Services, Reporting Services, SharePoint and Office).
  • Maintains technical proficiency with BI best practices; specifically visualization, dashboards, business metrics, KPIs, reports, queries, predictive analytics and master data management.
  • Develops a thorough understanding and documentation base of enterprise data models (including those of the third party applications), data transformations and movements..

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