Entries Tagged as 'Architecture '

Model Driven Engineering: Automatic Code Generation and Beyond

Acquisition , Architecture , Architecture Analysis & Design Language (AADL) , Model-Based Engineering 2 Comments »

By John Klein,
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Solutions Division

John KleinAcquisition executives in domains ranging from modernizing legacy business systems to developing real-time communications systems often face the following challenge:

Vendors claim that model-driven engineering (MDE) tools enable developers to generate software code automatically and achieve extremely high developer productivity.

Are these claims true? The simple answer might be, “Yes, the state of the practice can achieve productivity rates of thousands of function points and millions of lines of code per person-month using MDE tools for automatic code generation.” The complicated reality is that MDE consists of more than code generation tools; it is a software engineering approach that can impact the entire lifecycle from requirements gathering through sustainment. While one can make broad generalizations about these methods and tools, it is more useful to consider them in the context of a particular system acquisition. Aligning MDE methods and tool capabilities with the system acquisition strategy can improve system quality, reduce time to field, and reduce sustainment cost. On the other hand, when MDE methods and tools do not align with the acquisition strategy, using them can result in increased risk and cost in development and sustainment. This blog post highlights the application of MDE tools for automatic code generation (in the context of the full system lifecycle, from concept development through sustainment) and also provides a template that acquirers can use to collect information from MDE tool vendors.

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Information Technology Systems Modernization

Architecture No Comments »

By William Wood
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
Software Solutions Division

William Wood Legacy systems represent a massive operations and maintenance (O&M) expense. According to a recent study, 75 percent of North American and European enterprise information technology (IT) budgets are expended on ongoing O&M, leaving a mere 25 percent for new investments. Another study found nearly three quarters of the U.S. federal IT budget is spent supporting legacy systems. For decades, the Department of Defense (DoD) has been attempting to modernize about 2,200 business systems, which are supported by billions of dollars in annual expenditures that are intended to support business functions and operations. Many of these legacy systems were built decades ago using technologies available at the time and have been operating successfully for many years. Unfortunately, these systems were built with components that are becoming obsolete and have accompanying high-licensing costs for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, awkward user interfaces, and business processes that evolved based on expediency rather than optimality. In addition, new software engineers familiar with current technology are unfamiliar with the domain, and documentation is scarce and outdated. Other problematic factors include business rules that are embedded in code written in obsolete languages using obsolete data structures and the fact that the cadre of aging domain experts maintaining legacy systems are unfamiliar with newer technologies. This blog post provides a case study of a modernization effort conducted for a federal agency by SEI researchers on such a large-scale, legacy IT system. 

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An Introduction to the Mission Thread Workshop

Architecture , Mission Thread Workshop 2 Comments »

By Mike Gagliardi
Principal Engineer 
Software Solutions Division

Mike GagliardiIn Department of Defense (DoD) programs, cooperation among software and system components is critical. A system of systems (SoS) is used to accomplish a number of missions where cooperation among individual systems is critical to providing (new) capabilities that the systems could not provide. SoS capabilities are a major driver in the architecture of the SoS and selection of constituent systems for the SoS. There are additional critical drivers, however, that must be accounted for in the architecture that significantly impact the behavior of the SoS capabilities, as well as the development and sustainment of the SoS and its constituent systems’ architectures. These additional drivers are the quality attributes, such as performance, availability, scalability, security, usability, testability, safety, training, reusability, interoperability, and maintainability. This blog post, the first in a series, introduces the Mission Thread Workshop (MTW), and describes the role that it plays in assisting SoS programs to elicit and refine end-to-end SoS mission threads augmented with quality attribute considerations.

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AADL: Four Real-World Perspectives

Architecture , Architecture Analysis & Design Language (AADL) No Comments »

By Julien Delange 
Member of the Technical Staff

Julien DelangeMismatched assumptions about hardware, software, and their interactions often result in system problems detected too late in the development lifecycle, which is an expensive and potentially dangerous situation for developers and users of mission- and safety-critical technologies. To address this problem, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) released the aerospace standard AS5506, named theArchitecture Analysis & Design Language (AADL). The AADL standard,defines a modeling notation based on a textual and graphic representation used by development organizations to conduct lightweight, rigorous—yet comparatively inexpensive—analyses of critical real-time factors, such as performance, dependability, security, and data integrity. AADL models capture both software and hardware components, as well as their interactions, including the association of a software process on a processor or the deployment of connection on a bus. The AADL standards committee, led by my colleague, Peter Feiler, who played an instrumental role in the development of AADL, meets regularly with members from around the globe who represent a wide variety of industries, from avionics to aerospace, to discuss evolving elements of the standard and to work together on action items from prior standards meetings. In this post, we present highlights from a series of podcasts that we recorded with Feiler and four members of the standards committee discussing their real-word application and experiences with AADL.

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Managing Model Complexity

Architecture , Model-Based Engineering No Comments »

By Julien Delange
Member of the Technical Staff
Software Solutions Division

Julien Delange Over the years, software architects and developers have designed many methods and metrics to evaluate software complexity and its impact on quality attributes, such as maintainability, quality, and performance. Existing studies and experiences have shown that highly complex systems are harder to understand, maintain, and upgrade. Managing software complexity is therefore useful, especially for software that must be maintained for many years. To generate the complexity metrics, tools extract applicable data—such as source lines of code, cohesion, coupling, and more—from binary or source code to analyze the software and report its complexity and quality. Several tools support these techniques and help stakeholders manage the evolution of system development, provide quality improvements, prevent lack of cohesion, and perform other tasks. To date, such approaches have been successfully used in many projects, but as system development moves toward model-based engineering, these methods, metrics, and tools might not be sufficient to manage model complexity. This blog post details the state of the art for reporting model complexity and introduces research underway at the SEI in this area.

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