I might be stretching a point a little (well actually quite a lot) with the title, but just like Software as a Service gets rid of all the redundant effort that goes on in every enterprise delivering software, so Architecture as a Service is doing the same thing. A few examples of AaaS arrived in the RSS reader today:
- Microsoft started a BETA process to design a set of documentation for the delivery of SoftGrid solutions and Server Virtualization, hopefully by using the feedback processes associated with software beta’s they will be able to hone their documentation set collaboratively to the point where the amount of duplicate work within every enterprise is greatly minimized. You can sign up for the beta at http://connect.microsoft.com/ using code IPDM-QX6H-7TTV
- VMware have gone one better and setup a wiki to serve the same purpose, maybe more as it addresses the whole lifecycle from plan through to manage allowing the community to share everything right down to scripts, reports and tools, excellent! You can find it here http://wwwa.vmware.com/www/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
Its also worth remembering that Microsoft have this cool technology in the works that allows you to model your infrastructure in Visual Studio and then provision it onto your utility computing infrastructure, I wrote about it here. And there are managed hosting alternatives that actually allow you to provision a whole virtual infrastructure on demand from a GUI development environment.
Now I know that architecture is really about developing a solution to meet business requirements, which are often unique, but at least these initiatives and others are slowly chipping away at all that redundant work that goes on that doesn’t have to be unique, but is - just because there was no mechanism to share best practices across customers.