“Shadow Clone Technique”: a single application can serve multiple processes

February 21, 2017


A new technique for Enterprise Architects who need to disentangle multi-tasked components.

Today I've got a lot of work to do. I start each day by making a list of the tasks I plan to finish that day.

  • •  Write blog post
  • •  Finish visualizations for client
  • •  Write summary report for client

I find it’s best to focus on one task at a time. Humans are bad at multi-tasking; we only have two hands after all.

It’s tempting to try to do everything at once. If I get overwhelmed, I wish I could make Shadow Clones, like in Japanese anime films (for fellow anime fans “Kage Bunshin no Jutsu”).

More hands, distributed mind power - that's what I want!

Back to the real world... you can't clone yourself and I can't clone myself. But your diagrams in ABACUS don't have to be a mess - using "shadow cloning" can be an elegant way to capture how a single application serves multiple processes.

Consider these two diagrams:


An application is used in multiple steps of the support process depicted. Typically, that's shown by connecting each step to the support application. But this diagram is hard to read - I must track a connection across the diagram just to see that the last task in the process uses the support application.


We can use the Replica function in ABACUS to create "shadow clones" of our application. Now it's easy to see which steps in the process use the support application. The information is right at my fingertips, and there's no need to cross connections.

Replicas are multiple shapes associated with a single component - we aren't creating duplicates that clutter your repository. Here's how you can create a replica:


I can't clone myself, but at least I can harness my chakra in ABACUS and feel like I'm on my way to becoming an Enterprise Architecture Ninja!

- Luis Fernandez


Avolution produces the ABACUS software suite, used to manage IT and business strategy. ABACUS users can move quickly, collaborating to deliver on enterprise architecture and digital transformation goals. Import and centralize data in minutes, build models and roadmaps, run analytics and algorithms, report with rich visuals and dashboards.


Download a free 30-day trial of ABACUS by clicking the TRY ABACUS button.