Microsoft .Net, J2EE could build e-gov structure

The Office of Management and Budget is recommending Microsoft's .Net and Java2 Enterprise Edition as possible architectures for its 24 e-government projects.

Debra Stouffer, OMB's federal enterprise architecture program manager, discussed April 18 progress on a governmentwide enterprise architecture at a Washington luncheon sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management. It was the first time an OMB official has outlined a component architecture for the initiatives.

"These two are the only prominent ones that are relatively proven in industry," she said. "They offer the capabilities that we outlined in our requirements. They are open technologies with proven industry standards."

Stouffer said systems based on them are reusable, stable, interoperable, portable and secure: all of which are requirements for the 24 projects. OMB rated both technologies on a 24-point scale for Web services, File Transfer Protocol and e-mail. J2EE rated higher, especially in Web services where it earned 22 of 24 points.

"We are pointing out the disadvantages and advantages of each, not recommending one or the other," she said. "Agencies must consider other things besides the technology, such as how the new system relates to your legacy system or what other systems must be integrated."

Stouffer also discussed OMB's just-completed business reference model, which precedes an enterprise architecture. The model found that federal agencies engage in 32 major lines of business, each of which has 123 or more subfunctions.

"The business reference model is a starting point and framework that we build the enterprise architecture on," she said. "We look for common business processes, then we drill down to find out how they are or are not being supported, where the gaps are and where the opportunities are to reduce redundancies. This is the guidance on how to build applications in the future."

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