Why reference architectures now?

In my last employment life, we documented reference architectures for the part of the IT infrastructure that we impacted (server systems management). But even then, we could only provide an example knowing that there would be a HUGE variation in how the customer would ultimately implement the solution.

Now that we have a number of reference architectures published through Intel® Cloud Builder (with more coming soon), it made me wonder why it is, that all of sudden, we could start making useful reference architectures?

From my view, part of the reason is that modern IT is in transition and so we (the “industry”) see the need to explain what we see as the architecture for new IT.

But, I suspect, there is a deeper reason: In cloud architectures, the data center and management systems are radically streamlined and simplified. The result is that we (the “industry”) can realistically develop a reference architecture that an IT shop can actually use. What a novel concept.

There may actually be yet another more subtle reason: many IT challenges are not well solved and in need of “industry” work. For example, building a cloud that can be used to support hard, real world requirements, such as privacy in healthcare (HIPAA) or isolation in financial, still requires both technical as well as practical advances.

Therefore, the ability to do reference architectures for cloud architectures may end up not only helping IT adopt cloud architectures but may also help drive changes to the core technology so that it better suits customer needs.