The aspects of the core, as defined by the three types of element at the bottom of Figure 1, combined with the layers identified in the previous section, make up a framework of nine cells, as illustrated in Figure 2. This is known as the ArchiMate Core Framework.
It is important to understand that the classification of elements based on aspects and layers is only a global one. It is impossible to define a strict boundary between the aspects and layers, because elements that link the different aspects and layers play a central role in a coherent architectural description. For example, running somewhat ahead of the later conceptual discussions, (business) functions and (business) roles serve as intermediary elements between “purely behavioral” elements and “purely structural” elements, and it may depend on the context whether a certain piece of software is considered to be part of the Application Layer or the Technology Layer.
The ArchiMate core language defines a structure of generic elements and their relationships, which can be specialized in different layers. Three layers are defined within the ArchiMate core language as follows:
The Business Layer offers products and services to external customers, which are realized in the organization by business processes performed by business actors.
The Application Layer supports the business layer with application services which are realized by (software) applications.
The Technology Layer offers infrastructure services (e.g., processing, storage, and communication services) needed to run applications, realized by computer and communication hardware and system software.
These layers are shared by other frameworks, most important of which is TOGAF, although TOGAF call them Business, Information System (Application and Data) and Information Technology.