Modern Architecture Calls for New Blueprint

The old way of designing an enterprise architecture has given way to a better model.

What is the best IT architecture for your company? Which vendors should you support that will help you build that architecture rather than simply try to sell you more product in these economic doldrums? In this weeks special report on enterprise architecture, Technology Editor Peter Coffee does an outstanding job traversing the current buzzword-laden landscape to guide you toward a modern and lasting IT design. As Peter explains, the architecture of old was shaped by expensive computers, obscure development tools and closed communication protocols. Those design elements are quickly falling by the wayside, and modern architectures are developing in exciting, but largely unknown, territory. Use Peters guide to help map those uncharted lands.

As important as building the physical infrastructure is the need to build a data infrastructure. In "Shared Data, Understanding," West Coast Technical Director Tim Dyck explains the key elements needed for a data infrastructure that will let you manage the often-contradictory data needs of widespread access, instant availability on many platforms and locked-down security.

For many end users, their view into the IT architecture is through the terminal on their desk or attached to their laptop. And for many corporate users, that view has been shaped by Microsofts Office suite. Office has been the most stalwart of the Microsoft revenue generators, with its biggest competition historically the previous generation of the product rather than some upstart or rebuilt old-timer. That pattern is being broken this time. Microsoft is championing Office 2003s capabilities (see our Beta 2 review) in conjunction with back-end operations rather than promoting big improvements in the form and function of the core Office apps. This version of Office will be coming out when low-priced StarOffice from Sun and no-price OpenOffice from are causing users to think about alternatives.

On March 12, Intel will be joined by almost all the computer vendors in the launch of the Centrino line of mobile chips and associated technologies. In "Dell, IBM Revamp Laptops," we give you the rundown on how Dell, HP and others will be offering Centrino-based products. Also this week, we give you the finalists in our Excellence Awards competition. Our program drew a record number of entries and provided a strong and difficult field of competitors for our Labs analysts and Corporate Partner advisory board to winnow down to the final few.

What do you want to see in an enterprise architecture? Tell me at