Science or Art

Infrastructure Architecture = Science or Art. Discuss.

We claim the titles of architect and/or engineer but is what we do as infrastructure architects really based on solid scientific/engineering principles.

I would claim not. Much of what we do is recycling the designs of the past – possibly adapting them as new versions of particular technologies appear. But how many times have you seen an implementation of version 3 of product that is implemented in exactly the same way as version 1 would have been. The reason is usually the very lame “but we’ve always done it that way”. The real reason in many cases is that the people involved haven’t bothered to keep up to date with changes in the technologies they are relying on. This means their organisations aren’t getting the full benefit of those applications.

There are a number of fundamental architectural decisions that in many cases are driven by the existing environment. How many truly green field sites are there these days?

There are a larger number of design decisions which are often based on the products we select.

In this way we are more like the master masons that built the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages. We know what works and we stick with it.

So. Science or Art?

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