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Distributed computing environment software maintenance: problems of measurement and research

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2 Author(s)
Schneberger, S.L. ; Georgia State Univ., Atlanta, GA, USA ; McLean, E.R.

Historically, the largest single life cycle computer system cost has been for maintaining information system software. More recently, the computing world has begun to undergo a significant transformation from centralized computer architectures to non-centralized or distributed computer architectures. The paper discusses a new area of research on software maintenance (and development in general), focusing on the issue of whether and to what extent the emerging technology of distributed computer operating environments directly affects software maintenance. Based on trade journal articles, the issue appears to depend on two diametrics of information system architectures: component simplicity and system complexity. The smaller (but more numerous) the system components, the easier they are to deal with individually (i.e., lower software maintenance costs) but the more difficult it is to deal with the overall system (i.e., higher software maintenance costs). This research was based on a new conceptual model for information systems complexity based on component number and variety, interaction number and variety and the overall rate of change. By applying this complexity model to distributed computing environments, this research sought empirical data from to determine whether the complexity of a distributed computer system has a greater effect on software maintenance than component simplicity, and what the related explanatory factors are

Published in:

System Sciences, 1996., Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Hawaii International Conference on ,  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

3-6 Jan 1996

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