Gartner's Pace-layered Application Strategy approach appears to be creating an unhelpful focus on the idea of layers within an architecture. We find thinking about the pace of change within different business capabilities (which can be made up of several architectural layers) to be a more useful concept. The danger in focusing on layers is that many types of change cut across multiple layers. For example, being able to add new class of stock to a website is not just about having an easy-to-change CMS; you also need to update the database, integration points, warehouse systems, etc. The recognition that some parts of an architecture need to be more maneuverable than others is useful. However, a focus on layers is proving unhelpful.
Gartner's Pace-layered Application Strategy approach to architecture attempts to articulate the fact that decisions about architecture should not be a one-size fits all approach. Instead, it is important to take a balanced view of your technology portfolio. We have qualms about some of the prescriptive recommendations that come with Pace. In particular, we have found some situations where the layering concept is too simplistic. That said, we believe the core idea that different components and systems within an architecture need to change at different paces is sound.