The lowdown on EA tools

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What are they? EA tools include modeling tools that capture enterprise architecture information, and data repositories that let decision makers and business analysts browse and mark up EA information.

How much do they cost? It's free to look'the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office offers FEAMS, a Web tool for browsing all current architecture information for the federal government. The modeling tools used to capture that information can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 per user.

What standards should I look for? At a minimum, make sure the modeling tool you use to capture architecture information supports the Unified Modeling Language'or can at least export models in that format. Also, make sure the tool can import XML-based data, including FEAPMO's reference models for the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

Also, look for a tool that provides an easy way to validate models against FEAPMO's reference models.

Must-know info? Middleware vendors are implementing the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services, a process description language that can be generated by modeling tools to implement new processes. This should help speed the alignment of IT with architecture goals.

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