Forman calls for new approach to the Federal Enterprise Architecture

The Federal Enterprise Architecture needs to move to a service-oriented architecture and away from one that focuses on symmetrical multiprocessor concepts, said a former federal CIO.

Mark Forman, who was the first e-government czar, said today at a discussion of service-oriented architecture and Web services in government IT that the FEA is at a critical juncture because agencies are slow to use the component-based architecture and adopt Web services.

A service-oriented architecture uses Web services technology to connect two online services and share information. This approach handles all interactions in the form of a user-supplier model. This service-oriented approach lends itself to implementation using existing system components.

Symmetrical multiprocessor concept architecture is set up to have servers handle every request that comes in. While this method is flexible, it places limits on how the processors' workload is divided up.

Forman said to get to service-oriented architecture, agencies must do the following:

  • Use commodity instead of proprietary hardware and software.


  • Move from silo to shared resources where agencies build for component reuse and integration.


  • Stop building monolithic applications and apply the shared service approach.


  • Automate more IT services to improve their quality.


'Agencies must incorporate emerging service-oriented architecture approaches,' Forman said.

He said agencies have to understand their data and how it is stored and managed, and consider the data's physical and logical aspects like governance and workflow.

Some projects have started toward a service-oriented architecture, Forman said. He cited the Office of Management and Budget's lines of business consolidation initiatives, e-government projects such as E-Payroll, E-Training and E-Travel, and the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office's Component Directory and Description Services.

'If we can go to a service-oriented architecture, we will be able to move faster at a lower cost because of Web services,' Forman said in remarks in Washington before a conference held by the vendor Systinet.

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