We're in the final countdown to this year's Australian Architecture Forum, which I'm very proud of being a part of again this year.  The AAF - in case you didn't know - is a unique conference designed to maximise opportunities for IT architects to (a) network with other architects and (b) learn how other architects practice architecture, and what they think.  The idea is that rather than spend most of the day listening to presenters talk about their topic, AAF attendees split up into smaller round-tables to discuss specific topics with a subject matter expert but mostly with each other.

This is a great opportunity to get with other architects from similar (or dissimilar) backgrounds and industries to learn how they approach architecture, to find areas of common interest and practice, and to get to know others in the industry.  It's also a great opportunity to get into a room in order to disagree with what everyone else is saying, which is always entertaining (and educational) if last year's forum is anything to go by :)

This year is shaping up to be very interesting, with Microsoft, IBM, SalesForce and Thoughtworks and Object Consulting working in unison to produce a single-day event that addresses multiple industry points of view.  We're at an inflection point in the industry, with traditional on-premise models of software delivery being transformed by the availability of new services provided in the 'cloud'.  What does this mean for architecture?  How do the traditional concepts of SOA apply to this new model, and what does the future look like.  I can't think of many forums where you could get the major players at the same event debating and discussing this topic on neutral ground, which for me is what makes the AAF model compelling.

Some particularly interesting (at least for me) sessions on the agenda:

  • Ron Todd, Worldwide Solutions Architect delivering the AAF keynote on SOA and business agility.
  • Peter Coffee, SalesForce Director of Platform Intelligence busting some myths about SaaS.
  • David Lemphers, newly minted MS corp Cloud Services Product Manager talking about SOA strategies designed to leverage the best of on-premise as well as cloud services.
  • Chris Seymour from Object Consulting talking about key SOA drivers for Smart Client applications
  • Ron Jacobs, Microsoft Corp WCF/WF evangelist talking about RESTful services co-existing with traditional SOA web services.
  • Gianpaolo Carrao, Microsoft Corp, discussing some of the implications of the consumerisation of IT services.
  • The Thoughtworks team - Jim Webber, Joshua Graham and Richard Durnall delivering what I think will be an extremely interesting (and knowing Jim) quite possibly very entertaining locknote on how the enterprise is responding to pressures in the modern computing environment (and hopefully it's not all about enterprise computing being backward ;) ).

There's only nine days to go before the first event kicks off in Melbourne on Friday 16th May, while the second event is on in Sydney on Monday 19th May.  If you don't have your ticket yet, don't despair - there is still time to register at the AAF site to secure your spot.  This is one architecture community event you don't want to miss!