A mutant offspring of the software architecture diagram. It commonly infests PowerPoint presentations, corporate websites, and pre-sales software pitches for any grotesquely big software product, including ERP, ASP, or CRM solutions. The U3DAD has two main goals:
  1. to give a totally illusory sense of how modular, scalable, plug-n-play-able or extensible a software solution is without ever having to talk about how it is actually built.
  2. to cram as many zippy acronyms and buzzwords on a single page as possible, to demonstrate full buzzword compliance

Much can be learned from the U3DAD -- it provides a window into the dark heart of the company that created it.

Guide to interpretation:

Lots of 3D Boxes
These stand in for software components, although they may not really be components at all. They may not even be built. There may not ever be the intention of building them. But they demonstrate the raw, barely contained power of the platform. The number of boxes directly corresponds to the number of product managers inside the company. Sometimes the boxes are decorated with windows, smokestacks, gears, or look like little tiny servers.

A couple of big cylindrical shapes
They are almost always labeled Oracle, MS-SQL, or DB2. There have been very few sightings of a U3DAD with big cylindrical shapes labeled MySQL or PostgreSQL.
Lonely stick figure
The user. The customer. The employee. Always small, always alone, dwarfed by the immensity of the software solution and all it contains. Occasionally the stick figure is given a computer terminal, presumably for comfort.
Cute little trucks
Usually driving out the side of a box labeled 'Order Processing' or 'Shipping and Distribution Management'. Really a secret Masonic symbol for "terrifying logistical nightmare".
As many as can fit in the space allocated. Expect to see, at the very least, LDAP, OLAP, ODBC, JDBC, XML, ASP, SSL, COM, DCOM, 3COM, eJB, J2EE, and SOAP. Note that the high degree of mutation in the U3DAD will cause new buzzwords to be added and old ones removed, but the basic contour of the diagram will remain the same.
A Cloud
For some reason, there is always a cloud.
A wall
Usually between the Cloud and everything else and usually made of bricks. The wall creates security, although it is rarely clear whether the Cloud itself is dangerous or if it conceals some terrifying animal or robot monster.

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