Sparx Systems

Service-Oriented Modeling Framework ™ in Enterprise Architect

Conceptual Overview of SOMF
SOMF Practices, Disciplines, and Solutions

SOMF™ is a model-driven engineering methodology whose discipline-specific modeling language and best practices focus on software design and distinct architecture activities, employed during various stages of the software development life cycle. Moreover, architects, analysts, modelers, developers, and managers employ SOMF to tackle enterprise architecture, application architecture, service-oriented architecture (SOA), and cloud computing organizational challenges. The framework, authored by Michael Bell, provides a technology-independent notation that encourages a holistic view of enterprise software entities, treated as service-oriented assets, namely services.

Now Available:
SOMF 2.1 in
Enterprise Architect 9


Implemented as a profile in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect, SOMF facilitates model-driven analysis, design, and architecture disciplines whose best practices support asset reusability, consolidation, expenditure reduction, and time-to-market. Moreover, the SOMF modeling notation provides an intuitive approach to visualize “used-to-be”, “as-is” and “to-be” states of the enterprise service portfolio.

Support for SOMF is built directly into Enterprise Architect, as part of a suite of capabilities that facilitate visualization of enterprise services and subsequent model-driven generation of service-oriented artifacts such as XML schema, WSDL and BPEL scripts.

SOMF Models in Enterprise Architect Project Browser
SOMF Models in Enterprise Architect Project Browser


SOMF offers a 360º view of any software development life cycle, starting at the conceptualization phase, supporting design and architecture activities, and extending modeling best practices for service operations in a production environment. To achieve these underpinning milestones, six distinct software development disciplines offer corresponding models whose language notation guide practitioners in designing, architecting, and supporting a service ecosystem:

1. Conceptual Model
2. Discovery and Analysis Model
3. Business Integration Model
4. Logical Design Model
5. Architecture Model
6. Cloud Computing Toolbox Model

Enterprise Architecture Software-as-Service Model
Enterprise Architecture Software-as-Service Model


SOMF supports a service model whose holistic vision embodies any organizational software asset that is subject for modeling. In other words, as apparent in the image on the far left, the term “service” may represent any enterprise entity: software system, software application, software model, software component, software library, business process, repository, middleware product, or system software. Therefore, according to SOMF, the concept “everything is a service” fosters software reuse, asset consolidation, time-to-market acceleration, and organizational expenditure reduction. Ultimately, this universal approach to software modeling reduces design complexities and promotes architecture loose coupling.

SOMF Cloud Computing Model
SOMF Cloud Computing Model


One of the latest additions to SOMF is the Cloud Computing Modeling Notation (CCMN). This model identifies a cloud as a structural and a contextual entity that can be modeled like any other service in the enterprise. The cloud of services concept in SOMF is driven, yet again, by the driving theme “Everything as a Service”, as shown in the far right image. Moreover, according to SOMF, the services that a cloud offers fall under many categories. The chief classifications are software-as-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This holistic modeling view enables practitioners to model a cloud-computing environment and ease its adoption in the enterprise.


Consider the SOMF specification documents provided to assist practitioners in application architecture, enterprise architecture, service-oriented architecture (SOA), and cloud computing modeling. These specifications also include a large number of modeling examples that demonstrate modeling approaches and strategies.

SOMF 2.1 Specification Documents: