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The Pro Cloud Server, coming in Q2 this year will offer enterprises a convenient way to host EA models on their internet or intranet environment, to broaden available access to the model throughout the enterprise.

 

Sparx Systems' web client WebEA will connect to the Pro Cloud Server to provide a mobile view of Enterprise Architect models in real time, fostering collaboration between model authors and stakeholders and supporting access on the move. Discussions when enabled, will be stored in the model to create a seamless vision of stakeholder feedback visible in both the cloud and desktop environments. 

WebEA

 

Entry-level creation of requirements, issues, tests and use cases enables stakeholders a more advanced method of contributing to the model. And the creation of watch lists will help keep model authors and stakeholders alike informed of changes to the model.

 

Sparx Systems is hosting a read-only copy of the EA Example model for users to explore. 

 

URL: demo.sparxpublic.com  

Select model: EA Example 

Access code: demo

 

More information as well as a sign-up form for more information is online at: http://www.sparxsystems.com/products/procloudserver

Published in News

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Dunstan Thomas Consulting Cloud services deployment of Sparx Enterprise Architect for ATOC


Dunstan Thomas Consulting (DTC) worked with ATOC to install and configure Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect to enable them to work in a collaborative environment using a MySQL hosted model repository.

This model repository was located on a server within the ATOC premises and accessed via LAN and ODBC and remotely via a VPN.

During this engagement, Dunstan Thomas Consulting not only worked with ATOC but also ensured that they had gained the skills necessary to perform all repository administration tasks (such as creating new Groups and Users) by themselves.

They made a strategic decision to move all servers to the cloud and dispense with VPN connections for remote working.

ATOC contacted Dunstan Thomas Consulting to work with them to perform a migration of their existing Enterprise Architect infrastructure to the cloud.

Background


ATOC are relative newcomers to Enterprise Architect and have been using the tool to model, primarily, business processes using BPMN 2.0.

ATOC have a number of modelling teams allocated to specific groups and have a number of floating licenses. Dunstan Thomas Consulting worked with them to create a collaborative modelling environment using a shared model repository hosted using MySQL, together with a repository structure and the necessary Groups and Users which were authenticated using Windows Authentication.

The initial modelling infrastructure was as illustrated below:



While this infrastructure was very successful, ATOC made a strategic decision to move all servers to the Cloud, thus allowing access via HTTP or HTTPS protocols from any location. After some trials, they decided upon using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the cloud hosting platform.

ATOC contacted Dunstan Thomas Consulting to provide consultancy services to:

  1. Install and configure an AWS hosted MySQL repository suitable for use as an Enterprise Architect repository.
  2. Install and configure Sparx Cloud services to use HTTPS protocol for connection to this AWS hosted MySQL repository.
  3. Install and configure secure access to Enterprise Architect floating licenses also hosted on AWS cloud.
  4. Create a set of Groups and Users for the AWS hosted MySQL repository, ideally using Windows Authentication.
  5. Migrate the existing model repository from the ATOC hosted MySQL database to the AWS hosted MySQL repository.

This new infrastructure is illustrated below:

Challenge


In January 2016, Dunstan Thomas Consulting worked with ATOC to perform the installation, configuration and migration of their model repository.

ATOC had already created the necessary server images on AWS for the MySQL database and a Windows Virtual Machine for hosting the Sparx Cloud Services and floating licenses.

The challenges posed by this installation and configuration were:

  1. Creation of the database structure on MySQL.
  2. Configuring the Sparx Systems Web Services.
  3. Creation of a certificate for HTTPS protocol connections.
  4. Testing the connection.
  5. Allowing access to the AWS hosted Sparx Systems Web Services via specific TCP ports.
  6. Providing an alternative to Windows Authentication since the ATOC active directories cannot be migrated to AWS.
  7. Ensuring access to the AWS hosted floating licenses were protected from unauthorised access.
  8. Performing the migration of the existing ATOC model repository to the new AWS hosted model repository.

Why ATOC chose to use Enterprise Architect and Dunstan Thomas

“For many years here at ATOC we had been using a number of modelling tools. The office was comprised of a mish-mash of modelling tools raging from Microsoft Visio to Rational System Architect this often resulted in interoperability issues and a lack of standards across the enterprise. As the Lead Data Architect I was given the task of procuring a new modelling tool which was affordable and fit for purpose across the ATOC enterprise. After tediously trawling through a labyrinth of Modelling tools it was decided that Sparx’ Enterprise Architect (EA) was the best tool that would meet ATOC’s needs and after a further careful selection Dunstan Thomas was chosen to carry out the installation and customisation.

DT showed professionalism and very importantly grasped and understood ATOC’s business needs. DT have provided ATOC with both the skills and expertise to productively use and administer EA over the last year. It was therefore a given that when I was asked to move our entire EA infrastructure into the Cloud I selected DT for the job a decision that once again proved to be the right one. The entire EA infrastructure was successfully moved into the Cloud on time and on budget.”


Al-Rasheed Amzart
Enterprise Data Architect, ATOC

Solution


Creation of the database structure on MySQL

This was a simple matter of executing the SQL script as provided by Sparx Systems. Only a single user (with DBA privileges) needs to be created, since all access to the MySQL database is via the Sparx Systems Cloud Services.

Configuring the Sparx Systems Web Services

The installation of the Sparx Systems web services presented no issues. ATOC decided on using the default settings for the Cloud Services including the use of the default ports for Cloud Services administration, HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

Using the Cloud Services administration tool, DTC created an ODBC connection to the MySQL database.

Creation of a certificate for HTTPS protocol connections

This wasn’t complicated, as a batch file is provided by Sparx Systems for the creation of a Self-signed certificate using OpenSSL. This did require downloading an openssl config file which again presented no issues.

Testing the Connection

In order to test the connection to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository, it was necessary to create a minimal structure. DTC performed this task by using the Model Transfer functionality within Enterprise Architect to transfer a local repository consisting of just a single Model Root to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository. This was achieved without encountering any issues.

Once transferred a connection was made between Enterprise Architect and the AWS hosted MySQL model repository using both HTTP and HTTPS protocols. This worked perfectly.

Allowing access to the AWS hosted Sparx Systems Web Services via specif ic TCP ports

Since access via TCP ports is usually blocked by default by the Windows Firewall, DTC created the necessary inbound and outbound rules to allow traffic through the TCP ports for HTTP and HTTPS access as specified in the Cloud Services configuration file.

Providing an alternative to Windows Authentication since ATOC active directories cannot be migrated to AWS

Authentication on the ATOC hosted MySQL model repository was performed using Windows Authentication and active directory. However, this cannot be migrated to AWS, so another method of authenticating the connection to the AWS hosted MySQL had to be found.

There is only one viable option, namely that each user has their own user id and password. ATOC found this solution perfectly acceptable, and were able to create the necessary groups, users, passwords and permissions using skills learned during the first consultancy engagement with Dunstan Thomas Consulting.

Ensuring access to the AWS hosted f loating licenses were protected from unauthorised access

Initially the solution was to install the Sparx Licence keystore manager on the same Windows Virtual machine as the Sparx Systems cloud services.

This was performed without any issues, and included modifying the Keystore services configuration to request a password for access to the keystore. However upon testing it was discovered that the Enterprise Architect client was not able to connect to the Keystore Service running on the AWS hosted virtual machine.

Several attempts at finding a solution were tried:

  1. Creating inbound and outbound rules on the Windows firewall to allow access to the port required by the Keystore service.
  2. Configuring the AWS security group settings to allow access to this port.
  3. Removing the request for the password to access the keystore.

Unfortunately all attempts at finding a solution failed.

Dunstan Thomas Consulting then discovered that ATOC made use of Microsoft Cloud Based SharePoint functionality, and proposed a solution to host the Sparx Systems floating licences on the Microsoft Cloud Based SharePoint.

This was performed, tested and ATOC were delighted to see that this solution worked perfectly. Furthermore, since only their staff had access to the Microsoft Cloud Based SharePoint location, access to the Enterprise Architect floating licences was provided automatically without the need for a user to supply a password.

Performing the migration of the existing ATOC model repository to the new AWS hosted model repository

As the ATOC model repository is reasonably large, Dunstan Thomas Consulting proposed that only a single section be migrated to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository. This could then be tested and once agreed that all was working successfully, the remainder of the model repository could be transferred.

Initially, Dunstan Thomas Consulting performed this using the Model Transfer functionality within Enterprise Architect, and whilst successful, it took a very long time to complete.

Once transferred successfully, ATOC with the guidance of DTC created a Group, Privileges and Users on the AWS hosted MySQL model repository. Concurrent access to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository was then tested and this test was successful.

ATOC then undertook the transfer of the remaining sections of the model repository to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository themselves, and discovered that a more timely and reliable method of migration was to use export and import via XML files. ATOC then created the remaining Groups and Users.

This was achieved on time prior to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository going live.

Results


“ATOC’s main purpose for moving its EA infrastructure into the Cloud was twofold. Firstly floor space is at a premium and there was a need to decommission one of our primary in-house server rooms and all its contents in order to free up valuable space. And secondly a number of applications and file sharing resources have already been moved into the cloud. This move meant that key EA resources could be accessed directly over the internet and security would be provided by ATOC’s Active Directory and local client security would be provided within Enterprise Architect. Using AWS meant that we could scale our EA database in a more dynamic way.

Users have also found that when using EA across AWS it is much faster and more stable than previously. This ease of use has helped to increase and improve productivity and these improvements have all been realised within weeks of having EA installed within AWS.”


Al-Rasheed Amzart
Enterprise Data Architect, ATOC

Summary


With Dunstan Thomas Consulting’s help and experience ATOC migrated their existing model repository and floating licences to the cloud, on time and without any major issues.

At a Glance


  • ATOC took the strategic decision to move all servers to the cloud and required Dunstan Thomas Consulting to provide help and expertise to enable this to happen.
  • The Enterprise Architect model repository was hosted successfully using AWS and MySQL.
  • The Enterprise Architect cloud services was hosted successfully using AWS and a virtual machine running Windows server.
  • The Enterprise Architect floating licenses could not be hosted on AWS, but were hosted successfully using Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint.
  • The migration of the existing repository was successful, but very time consuming. The most reliable means of migration was using export and import using XML files.

You can download a copy of this case study here.

Published in Case Studies
Monday, 31 August 2015 03:49

Upcoming Webinars - Late 2015

Sparx Systems is pleased to announce a number of upcoming webinars covering topics including geodatabases, Cloud Services and migrating ArcGIS models in Visio.

To learn more, visit our Webinar directory:

www.sparxsystems.com/webinars

 

Modeling Techniques for Large-Scale ArcGIS Geodatabases

September 2015 Learn how to create modular schema designs to maximize reuse; define scalable design diagrams from reusable components; and leverage inheritance of abstract shape stereotypes.

Click to Register

 

Introduction to Cloud Services

October 2015 Learn how to create, manage and configure the Sparx Systems Cloud Service to provide convenient, secure model access anywhere in the world.


Click to Register

 

How to Migrate Visio ArcGIS Models to Enterprise Architect

November 2015 Learn how to migrate existing ArcGIS (CASE) Models in Visio to Enterprise Architect and leverage state-of-the-art modeling tools to update and maintain geodatabase designs.
Click to Register

Published in News

Last May I went to the European EA User Group in the UK (Maidenhead) where the Enterprise Architect community gathered. Prior to delivering my presentation on the alternatives to set up a shared Enterprise Architect project, I attended several presentations, including the following ones that are covered in this article:

  1. Pragmatic agile model driven development using smart use cases by Sander Hoogendoorn (Capgemini, NL)
  2. Enterprise Architect Version 11 Cloud Services, OSLC and RAS by Phil Chudley (Dunstan Thomas, UK)

Pragmatic agile model driven development using smart use cases

Sander Hoogendoorn shared the use of smart use cases, coupled with Enterprise Architect and a custom-made code generation tool, Tobago MDA.

Smart Use Cases

Sander and his team at Capgemini developed their own agile process, called SMART, which involves the use of smart use cases to capture and manage functional requirements, as explained hereafter. Note: the SMART agile process has been applied over the past 10 years; it is based on agile and iterative best practices.

Smart use cases match « sea » and « fish » granularity use cases according to the following levels defined by Alistair Cockburn in his book "Writing Effective Use Cases":

Where traditional use case modeling can lead to several pages of documentation, including triggers, pre/post conditions, actors, main/alternative scenarios, and so on, smart use cases maintain a visual deliverable via use case diagrams as each use case is detailed by several smaller use cases connected with “extends” and “includes” associations (smart use cases can be reused amongst use cases). On average, a “standard” use case is associated with 20 smart use cases.

Stereotypes have been created to choose the type of a smart use case from a list of identified patterns: select, search, manage, file import or export, validation service, etc. Smart use cases also serve estimation purposes. An estimation value has been defined on the smart use case stereotypes to provide a default value (from 1 to 10 points) according to the selected type (e.g. 2 points for a “select” smart use case). This enables accessing all the information from our models and diagrams as illustrated below:

Here is another example with UI smart use cases in yellow and a Service smart use case in red, alongside their respective estimation points.

Project Management Dashboard

In order to manage the project according to the smart use cases defined in Enterprise Architect, www.speedbird9.com website has been created by Sander and his team. This site makes it possible to import/export smart use cases with Enterprise Architect via XMI or CSV files for planning and progress management.

Here is an illustration where smart use cases have been imported from Enterprise Architect:

Tobago MDA code generation tool

Sander released with his team Tobago MDA, a code generation tool built for smart use cases defined in Enterprise Architect. This tool generates source code based on templates, making it possible to define the content required by any programming language (e.g. dotNet C#, Java, PHP…). Tobago MDA is shipped with pre-defined templates used by Capgemini for different types of projects including Java, .Net, PowerBuilder (Sybase – SAP), and BI. Tobago MDA has been used in dotNet projects to produce 100% of the code for average use cases.

The Tobago templates are easy to understand text files. Syntax mechanisms built for these templates include tags and methods e.g. to loop on a class attributes, test an empty value, etc. Tobago MDA can access the Enterprise Architect models using an XML file created via an XMI export, or by connecting directly to an Enterprise Architect project without having to open Enterprise Architect.

The presentation ended with a demonstration; Sander created in the Enterprise Architect project a “search” smart use case to add a new Search feature for an existing dotNet web application. Once the model was updated, Tobago was launched to generate new C# files. Then Visual Studio was used to re-build the application. Finally the app was run to show that a new search feature was available, with criteria matching the attributes entered in the smart use case.

Tobago MDA is available from the following site: www.smartusecase.com.

New Enterprise Architect 11 features: Cloud Services, RAS, OSLC

Phil Chudley from Dunstan Thomas gave us an efficient speech and demo based on his in-depth trial of new Enterprise Architect 11 features: Cloud Services, OSLC, and Reusable Asset Service.

Cloud Services

Cloud Services makes it possible for Enterprise Architect 11 users to access Enterprise Architect projects from anywhere via the http/https protocols. As a result an Enterprise Architect project can be either accessed from the LAN or from the Internet. Cloud services provide short response times to suit slow remote access.

Cloud Services are available to download for free from Sparx Systems website. It can be installed as a Windows Service or integrated with an existing IIS web server. Installation includes a management client software. Setting up a user access to a project is very easy; only the url and credentials are required (compared with a project hosted on a local database requiring an ODBC connector driver and the connection string to the DB).

Note: this service doesn’t work with EAP files i.e. a DBMS must be used.

Note: Sparx Cloud Services mustn’t be confused with hosting services in the Cloud, such as a MS Azure SQL Database available online, since they aim at providing access to locally hosted Enterprise Architect projects from the Internet.

Once installed, the management software can be used to expose to the outside world one or several Enterprise Architect projects, as per the provided configuration including: http or https protocol, authentication mode, read-only access enabled/disabled, and setting any limitation on the max number of concurrent users. This software also displays the currently opened projects via the Cloud Services.

http connection to Enterprise Architect models has enabled Sparx Systems to provide additional features: OSLC and RAS.

OSLC: Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration

The Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) is an open community that has defined a set of specifications to enable integration of software development, e.g. to let Application Life-cycle Management (ALM) and Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) software communicate and exchange information.

Enterprise Architect 11 currently supports OSLC to access and manage requirements only. Requirements can be accessed with an XML content through the use of urls from a browser. A client application can be implemented to access web services from Sparx Enterprise Architect in order to run queries or create new requirements.

Examples: Query -> http://server-name:port/repository-name/oslc/qc/?oslc.where=ss:type=“Functional”, Create -> http://server-name:port/repository-name/oslc/cf/

Note: it is currently possible to test OSLC queries from online SparxSystems Enterprise Architect projects, as illustrated below: http://sparxcloud.co.uk/Example/oslc/qc/

With the following url, results are limited to « Chuck Wilson » author: http://sparxcloud.co.uk/Example/oslc/qc/?oslc.where=dcterms:creator=%22Chuck%20Wilson%22

RAS: Sparx Systems Reusable Asset Service

Reusable Asset Service or RAS is intended to let various teams integrate in their respective Enterprise Architect projects distributed and reusable models/resources, stored in a central Enterprise Architect project, acting as a library or framework. Users may update the reusable assets and resources from Enterprise Architect providing they have a write access.

To use RAS, an Enterprise Architect project must be set up in a central database (e.g. MySQL, SQL Server…), with access via http using Sparx Cloud Services, where reusable models will be created and published. Users can access its content using the RAS feature from another Enterprise Architect project.

Provided a user has a write access, a package that for instance contain a class model for a Bookstore can be added to the shared and reusable project.

Once this is done, other teams of users can open the RAS model and import the published package to use it. Phil pointed out during his demo that management of dependencies between packages in RAS should be improved.

It seems to me that this feature could especially be useful and applied for a project Framework, or to let standards organizations publish and share their models for anyone to use in their Enterprise Architect project.

Conclusion

This year’s EA User Group has really been interesting thanks to the content delivered during the presentations. It has also been an opportunity to meet and exchange with other Enterprise Architect users and experts.

Official EA User Group website: www.eausergroup.com.

Published in News
Thursday, 03 April 2014 22:12

Introducing Enterprise Architect 11

Sparx Systems invites you to the webinar,

Introducing Enterprise Architect 11

 

Enterprise Architect 11 will be a ground breaking, major release of Sparx Systems' award-winning modeling platform. With so many exciting enhancements in version 11, we want you to see why this release makes your modeling more productive than ever!

 

Join Tom O'Reilly and Ben Constable from Sparx Systems as they preview the release highlights:

  • New tools that help business analysts work faster.
  • Enhanced analysis and design tools for software and systems engineers.
  • Cloud-based model deployment, superior diagramming, new and updated profiles and more.

 

Two live sessions will be conducted to accommodate attendees in different time zones on the 15th and 16th of April.

We invite you to register now:
www.sparxsystems.com/webinar

Published in News