Dr. Olaf Zimmermann

Former Researcher

Biographic Data

Olaf Zimmermann is a professor and institute partner at the Institute for Software at the University of Applied Sciences (HSR FHO) in Rapperswil, Switzerland. His areas of interest include API and cloud-native application design, Web application and integration architectures, and architectural knowledge management. Previously, Olaf was a senior principal scientist at ABB Corporate Research and a research staff member and executive IT architect at IBM Research who investigated the role of architectural decisions in the design process.

From 1999-2005, Zimmermann worked as a solution architect and consultant, helping international clients in multiple industries build enterprise-scale SOA/Web services and Java Enterprise Edition solutions on professional services projects. In the beginning of his career, he was a scientific consultant and developer in the IBM European Networking Center (ENC) in Heidelberg, Germany, focusing on industry-specific middleware frameworks for systems and network management.

Zimmermann is a certified Open Group Distinguished (Chief/Lead) IT Architect and a member of the editorial board of IEEE Software. He is an author of Perspectives on Web Services (Springer, 2003) and contributed to several IBM Redbooks, including the first one on Eclipse and Web services (2001).

Dissertation (2009)

An Architectural Decision Modeling Framework for Service-Oriented Architecture Design

In this thesis, we investigated whether reusable architectural decision models can support Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) design. In the current state of the art, architectural decisions are captured ad hoc and retrospectively on projects; this is a labor-intensive undertaking without immediate benefits. On the contrary, we investigate the role reusable architectural decision models can play during SOA design: We treat recurring architectural decisions as first-class method elements and propose an architectural decision modeling framework and a reusable architectural decision model for SOA which guide the architect through the SOA design. Our approach is tool supported.

Our framework is called SOA Decision Modeling (SOAD). SOAD provides a technique to systematically identify recurring decisions. Our reusable architectural decision model for SOA conforms to a metamodel supporting reuse and collaboration. The model organization follows Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) principles and separates long lasting platform-independent decisions from rapidly changing platform-specific ones. The alternatives in a conceptual model level reference SOA patterns. This simplifies the initial population and ongoing maintenance of the decision model. Decision dependency management allows knowledge engineers and software architects to check model consistency and prune irrelevant decisions. Moreover, a managed issue list guides through the decision making process. To update design artifacts according to decisions made, we inject decision outcome information into design model transformations. Finally, a Web-based collaboration system provides tool support for the framework steps and concepts.

The SOAD framework is not only applicable to enterprise application and SOA design, but also to other application genres and architectural styles. SOAD supports use cases such as education, knowledge exchange, design method, review technique, and governance instrument.


Books and Dissertation

Reviewed papers in journals and proceedings

Book chapters and additional publications

Selected conference presentations

Selected Professional Activities

To the top of the page