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About CEF building blocks

7. Architecture

The architecture provides a formal description of the building blocks how they can be re-used and the specifications guiding their design and evolution. It is based upon:

  • Strategic Architecture Management: provides a formal description of the Building Blocks, how they can be re-used and the specifications guiding their design and evolution.
  • Control & Monitoring: monitors the reuse and performance of the building blocks and manages related risks and issues,


The e-SENS Metamodel focuses on the identification of the concepts required to describe the internals of the main components of the architecture, i.e. the Building Blocks. As the description of the Building Blocks is intended to serve purpose of multiple stakeholders, the e-SENS Metamodel has been collaboratively and iteratively designed. The following stakeholders have actively participated in the design process: 

  • BB Experts/Architects from WP6;
  • Domain Experts/Architects from WP5;
  • Sustainability Experts from WP3;
  • CEF DSI Architects;

 Additional comments/inputs have also been integrated from the following sources:

  • Project reviewers;

Two dedicated workshops have been organised in the last year of the project to finalize the design and validation of the metamodel. The consensus has been built with the participating stakeholders, and the outcome has been verified with instances of the various Building Blocks. Usage scenarios exploiting the designed models have also been designed to validate the resulting metamodel.

Metamodel overview

 The metamodel should be understood the following way:

  • A Building Block provides Capabilities that are leveraged in cross-border (business and/or public) eServices. The Capabilities of Building Blocks are assembled in Business Processes to realize the eServices.
  • A Capability represents the ability and capacity of the Building Block, which enables to achieve Generic Requirements (generic in the sense they are not specific to the domain of application). The couple Capability-Generic Requirement represents the Intention of the Building Block: what is intended to be achieved.
  • A Capability is described in terms of Features it provides. Each Feature is specified with Technical Specifications. A Component is a logical grouping of related features: a Component implements the Technical Specifications associated with the Features it does support. The couple Feature-Technical Specifications represents the Internal Specifications of the Building Block: how the Capability is architecturally realized.

The Capabilities, in the e-SENS context, are all technical capabilities of the Building Blocks: Message Exchange, Authentication Provision. Although they are technical in nature, Capabilities are modelled as business elements, as they capture the business perspective of the Building Block.

Metamodel constructs

Name of Construct
ArchiMate Type
Conceptual Architecture
The ability and capacity to achieve a goal in the context of a specific e-SENS cross-border domain [FP7-CaaS].
The Capability addresses what is being achieved (the purpose) by the Building Block, rather than how it is achieved.
Business Function
Domain Information
Piece of business data or a group of pieces of business data with a unique business semantics definition in a specific business context [ISO15000-5, UN/CEFACT CCTS].
Domain Information is used by a Building Block to meet its objectives. Domain Information may have association, specialization, aggregation, or composition relationships with other Domain Information. They are always realized by data objects, as Building Blocks are fully automated in e-SENS.
Business Object
Generic Requirement
A statement of generic need that must be realized by an e-SENS Building Block.
The Generic Requirements are architecture requirements. They are generic in the sense they are not specific to any domain of application.
Logical Architecture
A distinguishing characteristic of a software item (e.g., performance, portability, or functionality) [IEEE-829]
Application Function
Technical Specification
An established norm or requirement in regard to technical systems. It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices.
A Technical Specification is a generalization of the Technical Standards, as e-SENS might adopt Technical Specifications that are not standardized yet.
Specification Owner
The owner of the Technical Specification. The Specification Owner is a generalization of the Standards Developing Organization (SDO) and Standards Setting Organization (SSO).
A logical module that encapsulates a set of related Features. A Component realizes the specifications associated to the Features it does encapsulate.
Application Component
Domain Data
A passive element suitable for automated processing. It is the realisation of the domain information through standard data object. It is part of the logical data model.
Data Object
Physical Architecture
The physical representation of the solution implementation. It is the physical representation of the application component. It might be an Open Source Implementation, a Commercial Product, a Reference Implementation, …
Infrastructure Service

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