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COE Reference Architecture

The Common Operating Environment (COE) Reference Architecture introduces a common language, frame of reference and set of standards for agencies’ desktop migration and upgrade strategies. It is expected that government agencies and vendors will utilise the reference architecture.The COE Reference Architecture is approved by the Government Enterprise Architecture Group (GEAG).

If you have comments or questions or would like solution architecture designs, email

GEA-NZ Viewpoint: COE Reference Architecture - September 2012 (.pdf 2.3mb)

Agencies and vendors are encouraged to use the reference architecture

The COE Reference Architecture was developed to assist Agencies that were yet to migrate from Microsoft Windows XP.  Agencies could use the reference architecture to inform the design and build phases of their deployment, ensuring consistency across the desktop platform. Agencies that had already migrated were encouraged to use the reference architecture as a checklist to make sure their solutions are comprehensive.

Agencies should expect that any vendor or systems integrator delivering a common operating environment (COE) or desktop as a service (DaaS) offering will comply with the reference architecture.

Agencies can create solution architectures based on the reference architecture or use sample architectures to quick-start their efforts. requirements common to desktops across the public sector will be provided in modules, so agencies can focus their energies on additional agency-specific requirements and solutions.

Alignment with All-of-Government ICT initiatives

GEAG is an advisory group of senior enterprise architects from across government. GEAG is part of the All-of-Government ICT governance system coordinated by the Department of Internal Affairs. GEAG is leading the development of a single, unifying framework: Government Enterprise Architecture for New Zealand (GEA-NZ).

The Common Operating Environment Programme, in conjunction with GEAG and in consultation with various agencies and vendors, has produced the COE Reference Architecture as the first viewpoint in GEA-NZ.

Executive Summary

GEA-NZ Viewpoint: COE Reference Architecture describes the architectural building blocks to help agencies enable their future end user computing environment. In particular, an environment that meets the needs of their staff and assists them to deliver services to citizens and other stakeholders while investing taxpayers’ money wisely. It describes a superset of capabilities for hardware devices and software environments intended to be operated by business users in government agencies.

Agencies can leverage the Common Operating Environment (COE) Reference Architecture as a common language to describe their existing or future end user computing environments. This common language, underpinned by the Government Enterprise Architecture for New Zealand (GEA-NZ), will enable agencies to more easily re-use common capabilities and share artefacts and collateral.

Common capabilities in the end user device zone will use the language of the COE Reference Architecture to classify their solutions, allowing those who have used this reference architecture to more easily consume them.

Page last updated: 20/09/2016