Common Software Platforms in System-of-Systems Architectures: The State of the Practice
June 2013 • White Paper
System-of-systems (SoS) architectures based on common software platforms have been commercially successful, but progress on creating and adopting them has been slow. This study aimed to understand technical issues for their development and adoption.
This paper was accepted for presentation at the Eighth International Conference on System of Systems Engineering (SoSE), June 2–6, 2013, in Maui, Hawaii.
System-of-systems (SoS) architectures based on common software platforms have been commercially successful. Common platforms are a goal of several DoD initiatives (U.S. Army Common Operating Environment, U.S. Navy Open Architecture, multi-service Future Avionics Capability Environment), but progress on creating and adopting such platforms has been slow. We conducted a study to understand the technical issues related to SoS common platform development and adoption, and the nontechnical constraints that must be satisfied. We interviewed 12 experts, collecting and analyzing mostly qualitative data. Although there were significant differences in approaches between developers of commercial SoS platforms, military SoS platforms, and command-and-control SoS, all reported that nontechnical constraints dominate intrinsic technical issues. We recommend that further research is needed to create systematic architecture design and analysis methods for SoS, to study agile development methods in the SoS context, and to develop approaches to documentation for constituent systems within a SoS.