Who’s Got Architecture?
by Bill Inmon
Originally published April 14, 2011
Recently I wrote an article about architecture. And – as with most articles – a few readers offered their feedback. One of the comments was that architecture was fine, but nobody cares about architecture any more. All people care about is getting something up and running as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Beyond that people just don’t care about architecture.
Tautology – When You Build Something You Have ArchitectureNow let’s see what results from the practice of optimizing construction of cheap and fast. In the case of the slums of Juarez, it leads to an absence of some of what most people consider the necessities of life. There is no planning for water. For basic sanitation. For electricity. For heating. For cooling. For safety of personal property. And so forth. Many of the basic things that are taken for granted elsewhere simply are not accounted for when the builder has chosen to optimize on building cheap and fast.
Now let’s apply that thinking to the world of high tech. When the end user optimizes the architecture on cheap and fast, the end user ignores such things as data credibility. The end user optimizes on access of data. But does access of data even matter if the data is incorrect? Or out of date? Or incomplete? The end user optimizes on speed of construction, but does it matter whether the system costs huge amounts of money to operate? Or operates in a proprietary environment? When the end user optimizes on building cheaply, does the end user care if the results of the system and its analysis are unbelievable?
For those organizations that optimize on cheap and fast, it is after they have built their ramshackle huts that they then discover what infrastructure means. The hard way. They discover what not having an infrastructure means not having the advantages and conveniences that come with having a properly built infrastructure. Just like someone living in the slums, they discover that taking a bath is really difficult to do. First you need water. Then you need hot water. Then you need a bathtub. All of which are hard to come by in the slums. It is true that the builders of the slums have optimized on building cheap and fast. But so what? Who wants to live there?
Optimizing on building cheap and fast only delays the more mature considerations of infrastructure. You have architecture when you optimize on cheap and fast whether you like it or not and whether you realize it or not.
[NOTE: Obviously, Juarez is not all slums. I have many fond boyhood memories of dining in fine restaurants in Mexico, of playing golf there on one of the best courses I have ever played on, of visiting friends in their lovely homes, and so forth. But there is this one section of Juarez that sits immediately adjacent to I-20 in downtown El Paso that is a slum. Unfortunately, it has been years since I have been to Juarez, and I hear that things have changed there in ways we wouldn’t have understood when I was growing up.]
SOURCE: Who’s Got Architecture?
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