Squared Outline: Layers

The immersion of enterprises into digital environments is blurring the traditional distinctions between architecture layers. Hence the need of clarifying the basic notions.


The Pagoda Architecture Blueprint is derived from the Zachman’s frameworks

Beyond the differences in terminologies (layers, levels, tiers, etc), four basic taxonomies can be applied:

  1. Enterprise architecture: business processes and organization, systems, platforms (Pagoda blueprint).
  2. Functional architecture: interfaces, control, persistency, services (Model/View/Controller).
  3. Representation: physical, logical, conceptual (Pagoda blueprint).
  4. Economic intelligence: data, information, knowledge

While some alignments are intrinsic, making explicit use of taxonomies is useful because they serve specific purposes.

n.b. The term “application layer” is usually defined in the context of communication architectures.

Further Reading

3 thoughts on “Squared Outline: Layers”

  1. Rémy

    This Pagoda view of the architecture blueprint is the best I have ever seen so far. In my humble opinion, Caminao provides the best conceptual framework for architecture maps. While following other frameworks, I have always been frustrated to mainly see 2D types of views, or layered architecture views. For instance, I always considered having business, application and technology architectures as layers but instead of information architecture as another one, have it as a core across the other 3. So this Pagoda view tells me I’ve always been representing it right, but it adds even better information about the core: knowledge (enterprise/conceptual), information (functional/logical), data (technology/physical).

    Unfortunately, the IT world has the tendency to give focus on the technology and platform, providing a misleading view on the functionalities and enterprise aspects (wrongly defined as “higher-level” representations of the IT/design/technology).

    Well done! Fantastic job by Caminao over the past decade. Bravo!

    1. Thanks for that, and I take the opportunity to stress that the core concepts come directly from the Zachman’s Framework.

      1. Agree, but they are not represented as core, just as another column. That’s why your pagoda representation is key. Interestingly, that pagoda is not fixed in time. It evolves over time, based on various drivers: internal, external, from different elements changes in the 3 layers, as well as the core concepts themselves. I wish more of the architects I work with have such overall type of understanding: https://caminao.blog/overview/thr-systems-infoknow/

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