Sunday, March 13, 2011

Explanation and definition of EITRP Associations

This is my fourth posting in the series to introduce EITRP. This posting focuses on the concept of 'Associations' within EITRP.

Enterprise Information Technology Resource Planning (EITRP) is a new method for documenting and modeling the resources that contribute to the creation, operation and retirement of assets, policies and systems in modern Information Technology (IT) environments. EITRP enables organizations to clearly document the resources that contribute to and guide how an IT department implements and manages the necessary tools for a company to conduct business. IT departments can be represented and described in a similar way, EITRP exploits these similarities to provide a consistent method for documenting the life-cycle of an IT environment.

The core of EITRP representations of an organizations is the idea of 'Tiers.' 'Tiers' are representations of the common building blocks of all organizations, infrastructure and resources supporting that infrastructure. 'Tiers' ensure that any EITRP model can be referenced, simulated and documented in a consistent manner. Each 'Tier' is unique in the data is contains and provides for standards of documentation.

A 'View' is a subset of an EITRP model formatted and limited to the components necessary for a given role within the organization. A 'View' is a representation of what staff levels within an organization will own, manipulate and utilize the data contained in one or more 'Tiers.'

Building on the concepts of 'Tier's and 'Views' we add 'Associations' to our glossary for EITRP. An 'Association' is the documented relationship of a piece of information(an object) contained in one 'Tier' to it's corresponding information in another 'Tier'. 'Associations' define how a change to one 'Tiers' parameters will affect another 'Tiers' parameters.

'Associations' allow a 'Model' to be built for an organization that shows not only the present state of the organization, but the affect of changes within that 'Model.' 'Associations' allow EITRP to be used to document current information, future state information and what changes will occur as a migration or change between states occurs. 'Associations' are an important part of EITRP for documenting information including dependencies, costs, implications and resource needs.

There are three types of 'Associations' that can occur between objects in individual 'Tiers'. When referencing an 'Association' we always start with the lower 'Tier' in the relationship, moving to the higher 'Tier' in the relationship.

  • one-to-one (1t1) – A one-to-one 'Association' is defined as a link between two objects, each in a separate 'Tier'. Each object if manipulated, will only affect the other single object within the 'Association.'

  • one-to-many (1tM) - A one-to-many 'Association' is defined as a link between greater then two objects, one of which is in a lower 'Tier' and the remaining are contained in a higher 'Tier'. The only object will affect many if manipulated, where as the multiple objects, if any are changed, will affect the single object in the lower 'Tier.'

  • many-to-many (MtM) - A many-to-many 'Association' is defined as a link between greater then four objects, two or more of which are in a lower 'Tier' and the remaining are contained in a higher 'Tier.' The lower 'Tier' objects will affect multiple if manipulated, as well as the multiple higher 'Tier' objects, if any are changed, will affect the lower 'Tier' objects.

Above are two simple examples of a set of 'Tiers' within an EITRP environment, and the associated objects in those 'Tiers' and their 'Associations'. These 'Associations' are simple and only show the basic type of 'Association' but could also contain information about what a change to one component will do the other associated component.

The primary purpose behind 'Associations' is to enable EITRP models to be used for automation within an IT environment. As IT environments continue to grow, it will be more and more vital to automate as many processes, changes and evolutions of the environment as possible. EITRP enables the necessary information about the environment, it's resources and it's parameters to be documented in a way to allow for automation of changes over time.

Future postings will cover additional topics including:

  • 'Model' – The definition and uses of a 'Model', the overarching term for a complete set of data points across all tiers, including 'Associations' that provide for a representation of the organization and it's resources.

  • EITRP Data Standards - I will publish the initial version of the EITRP Data Standards, there are the methods for documenting information in a standard way within the EITRP 'Tiers' and 'Views' to allow that data to be referenced, manipulated and modeled for changes within the environment.

No comments: