Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

COTS Monograph Series

Government policies on the acquisition of software-intensive systems are undergoing a shift in emphasis from custom development toward the use of commercial components. In systems where using commercial components is both possible and feasible, it is no longer acceptable for the government to specify, build, and maintain a large base of comparable proprietary components.

Like any solution to any problem, there are drawbacks as well as benefits: there are significant tradeoffs when using COTS-based solutions. Thus, policies that favor COTS use should be implemented with an understanding of the complex impacts of using commercial products.

In response to this need, the SEI CBS Initiative is preparing a set of monographs that address such issues as

  • finding and selecting appropriate commercial products
  • identifying decision criteria for migrating to new or emerging COTS technologies
  • understanding the ramifications of the CBS approach on system architecture
  • developing testing strategies for systems incorporating COTS components

The first monograph in the series (Assembling Large Systems from COTS Components) provides an overview of the issues that arise when using COTS. This monograph is intended as a first-level reference for a program manager, who, when faced with a barrage of directives, memos, and policy statements, asks the question, How do I do COTS?

The table below lists the monographs that are currently available in portable document format (PDF). 

     

Monograph Title

Author(s)

Date

Audience

Format 

Assembling Large Systems from COTS Components: Opportunities,         Cautions, and Complexities

Carney, D.

6/97

general

PDF

Case Study: Correcting System Failure in a COTS Information System

Hissam, S.

9/97

technical

PDF 

Isolating Faults in Complex COTS-Based Systems

Carney, D. and Hissam, S

2/98

technical

PDF

COTS and Open Systems

Oberndorf, P.

2/98

general

PDF

Case Study: Evaluating COTS Products for DoD Information Systems

Sledge, C. and Carney, D.

6/98

management

PDF      

Case Study: Significant Schedule Delays in a Complex NDI-Based System

Carney, D.

6/98

general

PDF

A Summary of DOD COTS-Related Policies

Oberndorf, P. and Carney, D

9/98

management 

PDF

DoD Security Needs and COTS-Based Systems

Hissam, S.; Carney, D.; Plakosh, D.

9/98

management, technical

PDF