Technology News as it Happens.

What is Commercial off the Shelf (COTS)?

November 5, 2012 8:53 am

1.0 Abstract

All desktop side and server side software are COTS as they come with wide range of features and options that they fit into all the demanding needs of versatile customers. COTS products are adopted by using built-in configuration mechanism that allow the functionality of the system to be tailored to specific customer needs.

 

2.0 Definitions

COTS:

A commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product is a software system that can be adapted to the needs of different customers without changing the source code of the system.

 

3.0 Introduction

Software reuse based on COTS has become increasingly common. The vast majority of new business information processing systems are now built using COTS rather than using an object-oriented approach. Although there are often problems with this approach to system development (Tracz, 2001), success stories (Baker, 2002; Balk and Kedia, 2000; Brownsword and Morris, 2003; Pfarr and Reis, 2002) show that COTS-based reuse reduces effort and the time to deploy the system.

There are two types of COTS product reuse, namely COTS-solution systems and COTS-integrated systems.

COTS-solution systems consist of a generic application from a single vendor that is configured to customer requirements.

COTS-integrated systems involve integrating two or more COTS systems.

COTS can be either software or hardware

Software:

Operating Systems (UNIX, Windows/NT, OS2)

Databases (Oracle, Sybase)

Graphics Packages (Motif, ??)

Hardware:

Busses (VME, PCI, cPCI)

Processors (Motorola, HP, Sun, Intel)

Disk Drives (Western Digital, Red Rock)

Peripherals (Printers, Monitors, Keyboards, etc.)

There are many areas where COTS successfully replaced traditional custom software examples are

–        Space Shuttle (non-mission-critical systems)

–        Missile Guidance systems

–        Military ground based and shipboard sensors (radar, sonar)

–        Industrial control and monitoring systems

–        telecommunications

–        Air traffic control

Benefits

 

This approach to software reuse has been very widely adopted by large companies over the last 15 or so years, as it offers significant benefits over customized software development:

1. As with other types of reuse, more rapid deployment of a reliable system may be possible.

2. It is possible to see what functionality is provided by the applications and so it is easier to judge whether or not they are likely to be suitable. Other companies may already use the applications so experience of the systems is available.

3. Some development risks are avoided by using existing software. However, this approach has its own risks, as I discuss below.

4. Businesses can focus on their core activity without having to devote a lot of resources to IT systems development.

5. As operating platforms evolve, technology updates may be simplified as these are the responsibility of the COTS product vendor rather than the customer.

 

Problems

Of course, this approach to software engineering has its own problems:

1. Requirements usually have to be adapted to reflect the functionality and mode of operation of the COTS product. This can lead to disruptive changes to existing business processes.

2. The COTS product may be based on assumptions that are practically impossible to change. The customer must therefore adapt their business to reflect these assumptions.

3. Choosing the right COTS system for an enterprise can be a difficult process, especially as many COTS products are not well documented. Making the wrong choice could be disastrous as it may be impossible to make the new system work as required.

4. There may be a lack of local expertise to support systems development.

Consequently, the customer has to rely on the vendor and external consultants for development advice. This advice may be biased and geared to selling products and services, rather than meeting the real needs of the customer.

5. The COTS product vendor controls system support and evolution. They may go out of business, be taken over, or may make change that cause difficulties for customers.

3.1 History

In 1994, then Secretary of Defense William Perry well recognized the potential for commercial products in the Directorate of Defense and authored what has come to be known as the “Perry Memo.” Entitled Acquisition Reform – Mandate for Change, Perry asserted that business policies that once made sense were no longer applicable to current technologies. Commercial-off-the-shelf, or COTS would become an integral part of DoD procurement.

With a COTS item – already built – the government cannot monitor the build process, nor should it. For example, Dell computer hardware is widely used in the DoD. Think of what a waste of time, money, and really how downright silly it would be for DoD program managers to monitor operations at a Dell facility. And so, milspecs cannot apply; they simply do not make sense (Carter & Perry, 1999). Rather, the government puts forth performance-based requirements, and then the program manager finds a COTS product that meets those needs.

 

4.0 References

1-       Software Engineering 9th Edition by Sommervillie Page 440-445

2-      http://www.ippa.ws/IPPC2/PROCEEDINGS/Article_5_Baron.pdf

 

Related Technology News:


Be Sociable, Share!

1 Comment

  • I think the biggest problem with customer off the shelf software is the lack of expertise or the core moral of the system. Although custom off the shelf software is cheap to purchase and implement, bespoke software can be created in alliance with an organisations focus and work. Thus, giving the organisation an increase in productivity and efficiency of the work force.

Leave a Reply


 

Latest Technology News

  • Top News

    Which Mobile Payment Option is Best for You?

    So, you’re ready to go mobile. Whether you’re interested in replacing an old-school cash register with a sleek iPad, want to be able to take your business to farmer’s markets and trade shows, or are just finally getting that food truck up and running, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to mobile payment solutions. Smartphone Card Readers   This is the most well-known mobile payment option, and probably the most widespread. Business Insider reports that […]

    Read more →
  • Top News

    New features of Iphone 6 and Iphone 6 plus

    Apple launched iphone 6 in two new models iphone 6 and iphone 6 plus. The release dates for these smartphone are different in different regions. You’ll be able to get your hands on the iPhone 6 on September 19th in the UK. That’s the same date as the US, so there’s no waiting around for a delayed UK release. You’ll be able to get iOS 8 for any existing devices, on 17th September. You’ll be able to pre-order the iPhone 6 […]

    Read more →
  • Top News

    Rackspace is rumored to be available for purchase

    In May news surfaced that Rackspace had employed a venture saving money firm to assess alternatives for the organization, including a conceivable deal. Presently, reports demonstrate that Centurylink may be intrigued. Bloomberg reported today that Centurylink is “looking to gain” Rackspace, refering to “individuals acquainted with the circumstances.” There has been no official word from Rackspace or Centurylink about the reports – representatives for each one organization declined to remark, yet normally organizations don’t examine merger and securing bits of […]

    Read more →
  • Top News

    Facebook passed daily one billion videos views mark

    For quite a while the thought of auto-play in-food feature ads on Facebook appeared to be a shocking thought. What preferred approach to bother clients over to have irregular features playing everywhere that they have no enthusiasm toward? All things considered, Facebook thought of a virtuoso answer for that issue: quiet them, and afterward permit clients to unmute the features they needed to see. The arrangement has worked like gangbusters and now the organization has been seeing some exceptionally noteworthy […]

    Read more →
  • Technology Top News

    Charge your IPHONE through solar panel glasses:

    A solar panel is a set of solar photovoltaic units electrically connected and fixed on a subsidiary structure. A photovoltaic unit further is a packaged and associated with solar cells. All of us are well aware with the usage of solar panels, it uses to run cars, generate electricity, heat up pool’s water, use in calculators and watches and in lot of other things. Now Sayalee Kaluskar from Mumbai, India introduces a remarkable usage of solar panel with the collaboration […]

    Read more →
  • Top News

    NSA installed spies in virtual Games

    Games “are built and operated by companies looking to make money, so the players’ identity and activity is tracked,” said Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, an author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “For terror groups looking to keep their communications secret, there are far more effective and easier ways to do so than putting on a troll avatar.” The surveillance, which also included Microsoft’s Xbox Live, could raise privacy concerns. It is not clear […]

    Read more →
  • Top News

    Discovery of DNA From Ancient Site in Spain Reshapes Human Family Tree

    The term Denisovan, distinct to both modern humans and Neanderthals, was coined just three years ago based on some limited tooth morphology, but predominantly on the distinct DNA sequenced from a 41,000 year-old toe bone found in central Asia. Since then, anthropologists have theorized that Denisovans were contemporary Asian “cousins” to Neanderthals found in Europe and the Middle East, and to modern humans who were already living throughout Africa and were venturing out of the continent for the first time […]

    Read more →