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Open Systems Architecture: Progress and Challenges (SATURN 2015)

April 2015 Presentation
Douglas Schmidt (Vanderbilt University)

This panel discussion focuses on open systems architecture, the progress made so far, the remaining challenges, and strategies for addressing those challenges.


Software Engineering Institute



Open systems architecture (OSA), an approach that integrates business and technical practices to create systems with interoperable and reusable components, has outstanding potential for creating resilient and adaptable systems, but the associated challenges make OSA one of the most ambitious endeavors in software architecture today. This panel discussion will focus on the progress made so far, the remaining challenges, and strategies for addressing those challenges.

Panel members will speak about OSA from several perspectives, including technical engineering, policy, contracting, and science and technology research. Participants will discuss their experiences with the practical trials of OSA and offer multiple perspectives—which might challenge one another—related to the technical, organizational, and business aspects of making it a reality.

Audience members from many different backgrounds will benefit from this discussion. OSA is a growing area of interest for the Department of Defense (DoD) as important DoD stakeholders recognize its significant potential. Federal workers who attend this panel will take away an understanding of where things really stand with OSA: How much is hype and how much is reality? General practitioners will also benefit from the lessons learned from the OSA adoption push, such as how software architecture can support reconfigurability, recomposability, and other -ilities.

OSA is a promising and important undertaking that deserves a broad, realistic treatment of what has been accomplished so far, how much of the underpinning is technical (especially architectural) versus organizational or business related, and how far we really have to go before its potential becomes reality.