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IBM System Architect

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Title: IBM System Architect  
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Subject: Mitre Corporation, UML tools, Enterprise architecture, IBM software
Collection: Data Modeling Tools, Enterprise Architecture, Ibm Software, Mitre Corporation, Uml Tools
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IBM System Architect

IBM System Architect
System Architect with Heatmap, BPMN and Network Diagrams Open and Browsed
Developer(s) IBM
Stable release Version / Released September 25, 2015, available on IBM Fix Central
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Website /ratisystarch/en/products/

IBM System Architect is an enterprise architecture tool that is used by the business and technology departments of corporations and government agencies to model their business operations and the systems, applications, and databases that support them. System Architect is used to build architectures using various frameworks including TOGAF, DoDAF, MODAF and NAF.


  • Overview 1
  • History 2
  • Features 3
  • Technical overview 4
  • System Architect DoDAF, MODAF, and NAF 5
  • System Architect ArchiMate 6
  • SA/XT 7
  • References 8
  • Related Links 9


Enterprise architecture (EA) is a mechanism for understanding all aspects of the organization, and planning for change. Those aspects include business transformation, business process rationalization, business or capability-driven solution development, application rationalization, transformation of IT to the cloud, server consolidation, service management and deployment, building systems of systems architectures, and so forth. Most simply, users use EA and System Architect to build diagrammatic and textual models of any and all aspects of their organization, including the who, what, where, when, why, and how things are done so they can understand the current situation, and plan for the future. Parts of the EA can be harvested from existing sources of information in the organization—auto-discovery of network architectures, database architectures, etc. The users building the models are typically enterprise architects, business architects, business analysts, data architects, software architects, and so forth. This information can be viewed by all stakeholders of the organization — including its workers, management, and outside vendors (depending on the level of access they have been granted to the information), through generation of the information to a static website, or enabling direct web-access to the information in the repository. The stakeholders can use this information to get answers to questions about the organization's architecture in the form of visual diagrams and reports that produce textual information, pie charts, and other dashboards.

System Architect is widely used in developing defense architectures. The Architecture Development and Analysis Survey, conducted by MITRE Corporation for the US Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks & Information Integration (OASD NII) and revealed at the CISA worldwide conference on December 1, 2005, reported that out of 96 programs building DoDAF architectures responding to the survey, 77% used System Architect, either by itself (48%) or in conjunction with another modeling tool (29%).[1]

System Architect has been referenced in textbooks written in the field of enterprise architecture, UML, and data modeling, and was also used to build some or all of the models that appear in some of these books.[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


System Architect was initially created and developed by Jan Popkin under the auspices of Popkin Software. System Architect was one of the first Windows-based computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools. It evolved through the years to become an enterprise architecture modeling tool — one that enables the end user to utilize many notations and methods to model aspects of their organization in a repository, and disseminate this information to a large audience.

Telelogic acquired Popkin Software in April, 2005[8] and IBM acquired Telelogic in 2008. IBM has announced that System Architect is its tool of choice for enterprise architecture. After acquisition of Telelogic, IBM included System Architect (and all other Telelogic products) in the Rational division, named after Rational Software, which it acquired in 2003.[9] In January 2015, IBM announced an internal reorganization that created a new Systems division, within which System Architect was positioned.


System Architect includes support for:

Technical overview

Graphic models and their underlying information are created and stored in a relational database in either SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, Oracle 10G, or SQL Server 2005 Express. For SQL Server, the information is stored in a database on the server; this database is considered a repository of information and in System Architect parlance is called an encyclopedia. For Oracle, the repository, or ‘encyclopedia’, is a schema on the Oracle database server.

Users build the models working together in teams on the network. In this multi-user environment, as one user opens a model artifact to edit it, other users get a read-only version of this artifact. Options exist to enable users to check out multiple artifacts so that they can work on sections of the architecture without anyone else modifying it while they work on it, and administrators to freeze artifacts so that they are ‘set in stone’. Users may also work in a stand-alone configuration using SQL Server 2005 Express on their laptop or workstation.

A SQL-based query reporting language enables users to build and run reports to answer questions about the information they have modeled, such as what business processes are related to what organizational goals, what applications are used to perform what business processes, what business processes operate on what data entities, what user has modified what information on what date, and so forth.

The information captured in the repository is done so against a metamodel that acts as a template for information to capture and how it is all related. Users may customize this meta model, to change or add to the template of information they wish to capture and how things are interrelated.

Models are typically published to a website so that they can be viewed by a wide audience. An add-on tool called SA/Publisher is used to publish websites based on SQL-based queries of the repository using System Architect’s reporting language.

System Architect DoDAF, MODAF, and NAF

System Architect provides support for the diagrams, matrices, and work products required to be captured for the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF). There are two options to System Architect that are used by the DoDAF community – System Architect DoDAF and System Architect DoDAF ABM. The System Architect DoDAF ABM version has specific metamodel changes and utilities geared toward supporting the Activity Based Method (ABM) for building DoDAF artifacts, as specified by MITRE, who created the method.

Another variant of System Architect is the System Architect MODAF offering, which provides specific metamodel, diagrammatic, and byproduct (matrices and reports) support for the UK Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MODAF). Yet another variant of System Architect is the System Architect NAF product, which provides support for the NATO Architecture Framework.

System Architect ArchiMate

A Ready For Rational plugin has been produced by an IBM Business Partner Corso. This provides full support for the ArchiMate 2.0 language.


A sister tool to System Architect, called System Architect/XT (where XT denotes eXtended Team) provides a web interface to read and write access to the repository. SA/XT enables remote users with a web browser to browse the repository, run reports against it to ask it questions, and add information into it


  1. ^ The US Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (NII) Architecture Development and Analysis Survey, conducted by MITRE Corporation, and presented at the CISA worldwide conference on December 1, 2005.
  2. ^ Goikoetxea, Dr. Ambrose, PhD. Enterprise Architectures: Planning, Design, and Assessment.  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Chonoles, Michael Jesse; James A. Schardt. UML for Dummies.  
  5. ^ Pender, Tom. UML Bible.  
  6. ^ Bahrami, Ali. Object-Oriented Systems Development: Using the Unified Modeling Language.  
  7. ^ Pender, Tom. UML Crash Course.  
  8. ^ "Telelogic acquires Popkin". Government Computer News. 
  9. ^ "IBM Completed Acquisition of Rational Software in 2003". IBM website. 

Related Links

  • Rational System Architect family of products on
  • Official Product Page on IBM developerWorks
  • fan portal page
  • Official page for System Architect events in Federal space
  • Community Product Page and EA Resource Wiki on IBM mydeveloperWorks
  • IBM Knowledge Center for Rational System Architect
  • System Architect Linked In User Group -- Run by Users
  • System Architect User Forum on IBM developerWorks
  • System Architect on Twitter
  • System Architect on Facebook
  • System Architect Train on
  • Rational Software on Twitter
  • Rational Software on Facebook
  • Rational Software on Youtube
  • Business Planning and Transformation with Enterprise Architecture Blog --
  • Demonstrations of Product on IBM developerWorks
  • Free Trial of Product
  • Add-ons on developerWorks, including Visio Mapper Macro and NGOSS Support
  • Latest Product Patches on IBM's Fix Central - select 'Rational' product group, and 'IBM Rational System Architect' for 11.3 and later, or 'Telelogic System Architect' for 11.2
  • Section 508 Compatibility (VPAT) Statement -- Request via form
  • IBM Rational Tools Aid Smart Device Makers, by Charles Babcock
  • eWeek Review — System Architect Turns Ten, by Peter Coffee
  • Data Administration Newsletter Review — System Architect, by Terry Moriarty
  • Q&A with Jan Popkin
  • Enterprise Architecture and System Architect
  • The Open Group's showcase of TOGAF-certified tools
  • Data modeling resource site offers data models built in System Architect
  • Learn more about Gartner Magic Quadrant on Enterprise Architecture Tools
  • Learn more about Gartner Magic Quadrant on Business Process Analysis Tools
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