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EA Reference Model & Reference Architecture

A reference architecture is a technological solution pattern for the design of a system.

EAM Reference Model & Reference Architecture Foundations

Reference models and reference architectures are abstract solution patterns for the design of systems in a specific domain [16]. They define the infrastructure as well as the skills and procedures needed for the implementation of the respective system [Nie08]. Additionally, they can contain heuristics to determine development costs, time lines, and risks, which are based on prior experiences [Nie08].

The difference between a reference architecture and a reference model is the same as between an architecture and model. While the reference architecture provides a generic solution pattern, the reference model constitutes its organization-specific configuration [11b].


Advantages of using Reference Architectures

The goal of reference architectures is to limit the heterogeneity of system environments in use and therefore to decrease complexity of the IT landscape. Furthermore, experiences and lessons learned from prior projects can be captured, utilized and used to deduct measures for the usefulness of architectural drafts [Nie08].


TOGAF Reference Architectures

In TOGAF, two reference architectures are provided [11b]. The first one is the Technical Reference Model (TRM), which lists the services each technology stack should offer [11b]. An important contribution of this reference architecture is the provision of terminology and checklists [Kel11].

The second reference architecture is the Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model (III-RM) [11b]. This reference architecture is composed of a long list of application components and services necessary to enable the services defined in the TRM. Again, this reference architecture fosters a common vocabulary [Kel11].



K. Niemann. “Enterprise Architecture Management and its Role in IT Governance and IT Investment Planning.” In: Advances in Government Enterprise Architecture. IGI Global, 2008, pp. 208–228.



TOGAF® Version 9.1, an Open Group Standard. Standard. The Open Group, 2011.


W. Keller. TOGAF 9.1 Quick Start Guide for IT Enterprise Architects. Tech. rep. Wolfgang W. Keller, 2011.