ArchiMate - Key Elements

Key Elements

Architecture is all about describing entities and understanding the relationship between them. The entities tend to fall into three categories. They are an element of:

  1. the structure of a system - capable of doing things.

  2. The Behavior - The things they do can be described as their behavior.

  3. Passive Structure - what they use, i.e. in this “information age” is... information!

Think of information as “passive” – it doesn’t do anything by itself, but is used the system as a whole.

The idea of active, behavior and passive reflects the way natural language has a subject (active structure), a verb (behavior) and an object (passive structure).

  • Active structure

  • Behavior

  • Passive structure

ArchiMate- Active - Behavior and Passive Structure

Service vs Interface

For example, “An Order (active Structure) is taken by (Behavior) a CSR (Passive Structure)”

Service-orientation is an increasingly important style in architecture. So to cater for this both a Service and Interface element is included. The service represents some form of activity (often subject to service levels). The interface exposes the service to the environment. Both services and interface face externally, hiding the internal characteristics of the system.

  • Service

  • Interface

    • ArchiMate is promotes a service-orientated style of EA

  • Collaboration and interaction

  • Roles collaborating to execute behaviour

  • Relationships

    • ArchiMate has a rich set of relationships

Concerning behavior, ArchiMate is interested in the highest level activities only. Anything more detailed can be dealt with by other modelling approaches. But very important to the architect is the way that key elements of the system collaborate with each other, and the detail of that collaboration – refer to as Interaction.

And finally, understanding relationship is vital to clarifying the purpose of each element. ArchiMate has a relatively small set of relationships. The key elements will be explained in detail in the coming sections.