Setting the stage for Greg’s Architect story


A few years back, after successfully migrating a Hadoop cluster to the AWS cloud, I was chosen to partner up with an experienced architect with the possibility of career advancement.  I was a temporary addition to the architecture team with directions to learn and automate the spinning up of (AWS S3) Boomi software, automate things, operationalize it (cloud formation templates) and socialize it (confluence and lunch and learns) as well as test connectors (oracle, DB2, TeraData, SqlServer), validate the security aspects and eventually hand it off of to an internal DevOps group.  My partner wasn’t a Unix person per say but he was loaded with connections and knowledge of the internal workings of our matrixed organization. I had no idea about the ever-changing processes and procedures, teams and security concerns we would encounter along the way. I assume I was chosen for my Unix/ETL and network security experience and ability to partner with some “difficult” personalities. 


Learning the ropes of being an Architect


We ultimately performed cradle to adulthood of Dell Boomi ETL tool.  Evaluated the tool technically and functionally from a security, feasibility, cost perspective to see if this tool would work for our inhouse developers/organizations.  We had a “Go - No-go” decision exclusively to make.  We made the decision to push forward.  We repeatedly installed and setup the tool in the AWS cloud using cloud formation templates and shell scripts.  The initial scenario or use for the tool was to take information from Plural Sight (a training tool) get this data to AWS so our HR folks could make updates to/for individuals in our internal HR System, then eventually send the data over to Azure for purposes beyond my need to know. Cloud to internal ground then to Cloud again.


We worked with internal Security Architecture Review (SAR) and Architecture Review Boards (ARB) as developers to operationalize and establish reusable templates to spin up hardware as necessary for our Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) of Development, Test, Production. We setup bitbucket and bamboo tools from our Internal desktop environments (IDE’s) and git repositories.  We were so successful with the undertaking we were asked to present our work with an Amazon team at the Boomi World 2018 conference.  Our session was called “How to optimize our Boomi deployment on AWS. 




We were able to integrate the tool which was hosted from a Dell website with our companies own internal security systems. We eventually worked with cost center manager to work through licensing and connector issues and costs as well as evaluate if their Anticipated use cases would be feasible.  Established an internal Boomi knowledge base from all the obstacles we encountered. Being a documentation fiend, made this a rather easy task.  We regularly met with data governance and security teams to make sure the accounts being used to migrate were compliant with company policies.  We developed weekly lunch and learn sessions to transfer knowledge and inform and educate user communities and socialize learning opportunities and training.  We established onboarding questionnaires and operationalized the processes and procedures to baseline new customers to the tool all while working within the DevOps framework and using Jira and the Agile methodology.   This was my introduction to hands on architecture.  I will say as the project took off –we had occasions where internal organizational conflicts did occur, and it was at an architectural level—see many “application architects” were not in touch with their organizational wants and needs and didn’t seem to be aware of and or understand many of the security concerns around the service accounts and passwords.  Having a valid test data strategy and awareness of how to handle the sensitive natured acronym list for example (PAA, PAI, HDPA, SOC, SOX, PII, etc.)  Too boot, several were not aware of capacity or throughput and how it had grown since old system inception.  However, with teamwork and discussion and a bit of a shove from senior leaders these things did come together.


Greg’s Thought on Architect responsibilities (Architects: )


·      Ensure that the solution has integrity (is safe, secure and compliant)

·      Ensure that the solution is designed for production and can be delivered efficiently maximizing re-use

·      Provide insight, thought leadership and innovation to ensure that the solution meets the client’s business goals

·      Establish baselines and evaluate product use and growth and security through interaction with devops organizations

·      Take end to end solution delivery ownership from ideas to benefits delivery

·      Drive change that creates business opportunity through technology innovation.  Architects shape and translate business and IT strategy and needs into realizable, sustainable technology solutions,


Note:  ITAM, ITSM, Data Governance are mandatory and can make accomplishing the responsibilities above difficult however teamwork trust and communication at all levels in an organization should occur. Getting clarification from the top on accountability and responsibility helps the journey.  Enjoy the journey!