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Comparing uniform and flexible policies for software maintenance and replacement

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2 Author(s)
Y. Tan ; Bus. Sch., Washington Univ., Seattle, WA, USA ; V. S. Mookerjee

The importance of software maintenance in managing the life-cycle costs of a system cannot be overemphasized. Beyond a point, however, it is better to replace a system rather than maintain it. We derive model and operating policy that reduces the sum of maintenance and replacement costs in the useful life of a software system. The main goal is to compare uniform (occurring at fixed time intervals) versus flexible (occurring at varying, planned time intervals) polices for maintenance and replacement. The model draws from the empirical works of earlier researchers to consider 1) inclusion of user requests for maintenance, 2) scale economies in software maintenance, 3) efficiencies derived from replacing old software technology with new software technology, and 4) the impact of software reuse on replacement and maintenance. Results from our model show that the traditional practice of maintaining or replacing a software system at uniform time intervals may not be optimal. We also find that an increase in software reuse leads to more frequent replacement, but the number of maintenance activities is not significantly impacted.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 3 )