Architecturally Significant Requirements Essay

Question:

Give a brief discussion on these points-
1. Architecturally Significant requirements
2. Attributes of Architecturally Significant requirements
3. Basic Architecture ideas

Answer:

1. Architecturally Significant requirements

The METOC anchor desk system is of great use in the process of information gathering and decision making, mainly used in crisis situations besides it can also be used in normal operations too. The architecture of METOC anchor desk system is not a new one as it was completely built from the pre-existing components, this system is a perfect instance of off-the-shelf system (Vangie Beal, COTS – commercial off-the-shelf). As this system is developed from evolutionary development method the first and foremost architecture requirement is short time to initial demonstrable capability because as the system is developed through evolution, the prototype requires timely feedback of the users so that the developers can design the most appropriate and perfect system.

As the process of developing this system is user centric, it requires thorough and quick capability increments from the earlier feedback given by the users. So the developers need to improve the productivity of the system at a faster pace. As this requirement is of high importance to the entire system it is considered as the next significant requirement towards the architecture of the system. Platform heterogeneity is the next architecturally significant requirement as there could be a huge community of users who could use different types of platforms to interact with the system, so it is important to make the system cross platform accessible to avoid incompatibility issues.

The architecture of this system requires less maintenance as it is built from off-the-shelf components so the component parts would be maintained by the developers themselves. Much importance should be given to interchangeable parts as the main goal of building an architecture of any system is that the system’s performance should be enhanced by adding to the existing thing without changing the architecture of the entire system, because the system should be adapted quickly to the technical as well as climatic evolution. As this system is used across the globe without limiting it to pacific theatres, geographical distribution is also involved in the architecturally significant requirements.

The next architecturally significant requirement is interoperability, because the system should have the ability to interact and exchange information from other systems and LAN’S as well. (John Rhodes, MATGF Meteorological and oceanographic support) Over year’s weather reporting and forecasting capabilities have been developed so that the METOC system should be interoperable to interact with these legacy tools, decision aids and other anchor desks as well. These are the architecturally significant requirements of the METOC anchor desk system besides there is a set of operators like performance, reliability, safety, security, correctness, and availability and resource constraints. These operators aren’t prominent as they are not under direct control of the developer.

2. Attributes of Architecturally Significant requirements

The METOC anchor desk system indeed contains some architecturally significant requirements which are required to build the architecture of the system. These ASR’s have been discussed and documented in the previous solution. The key attributes and characteristics of these ASR’s are presented in this document.

Short time to initial demonstrable capability: The desired quality attributes in this ASR are quick timely response and incremental capability. As the system is developed based on evolution development method, it requires the attention and feedback of the users. So the initial prototypes are submitted to the users and based on their response and definition the prototype has been developed by the developers. Because of these characteristics I choose short time to initial demonstrable capability as one of the ASR’s.

Productivity: The important attribute of this ASR is incremental capability. It is must that both the users and developers should be actively engaged throughout the system development. So the developers need to focus on productivity of the system besides dealing with the feedback of the users. Only when there is a notable improvement in the system productivity based on user’s feedback then the users are actively involved. This is one of the key characteristic for choosing productivity as one of the ASR’s.

Platform heterogeneity: platform heterogeneity is of utmost importance as the system will be accessed by many users from various platforms so it is highly recommended to maintain the platform heterogeneity so that the system is capable of serving various types of users. For example different users may use different operating systems like UNIX, Macintosh, Windows, LINUX and many other to accesses the same application (METOC anchor desk system). So as there are various platforms it is advisable to develop software that can run effectively across any platform without incompatibility issues. This is the quality attribute of this ASR.

Interchangeable parts: The main goal of building an architecture of any system is to protect it from severe changes from the future upgrades so that the main architecture remains same throughout times protecting its integrity. At the same time developments often happen in any discipline and the system need to be updated according to the new requirements. It shouldn’t be too rigid or too flexible. So the focus remains on the interchangeable parts so that they can be exchanged with new ones with minimal change to the basic form of the system. As discussed earlier these systems are built from off-the-shelf components, so the system doesn’t require much changes as the individual components can be maintained by their original developers. These are notable characteristics that made me to choose interchangeable parts as one of the ASR.

Geographical distribution: The main goal of building the METOC anchor desk system is to use it during the crisis time besides carrying out the normal operations. And this system is primarily built for information gathering and decision aiding. So it requires that this system may be used across the globe to provide its services to mankind not only restricting it to the pacific theatres. So this is one of the quality attribute of this ASR.

Interoperability: The main attribute in this ASR is the ability and capacity of the system to interact and exchange information with the other anchor desk systems which are situated across the globe. As technical advancements keep happening the system should be capable to interact with the legacy systems on the other hand it should also be capable of handling the newer ones. This is the characteristic which has high prominence as its services should be available to every part of the globe.

3. Basic Architecture ideas

METOC anchor desk system’s architecture is distributed and interconnected in nature which means the system is geographically distributed across the globe and interconnected to serve everyone. The design is concerned with the integration of architectural components such as computers, networks, video conferencing software, emulators, web browsers, collaboration and utility software. The basic architecture of METOC is to tie together these architectural components in a global network and to build an application useful during catastrophic and normal conditions. Here ORB (object request broker) approach has be taken to integrate various tools. To be more useful the system should be capable of interacting with legacy systems as well as the new ones.

These architectural ideas support my desired quality attributes as for example platform heterogeneity can be achieved by using computes that include UNIX workstations and laptops which contains various platforms. The concept of interoperability can be achieved by using emulators for example if different anchor desk systems operate in different parts of the world with different software’s running on them. So usage of emulators can reduce the issue of incompatibility by simulating the different operating system in different platforms. For example an emulator can simulate a Macintosh in UNIX system thus reducing the issue of incompatibility.

The network structure that has been used supports the ASR geographical distribution because it can connect various local area networks under any weather conditions thus providing an uninterrupted flow of communication. Also Web browsers permits users to easily access the information over network of computers. The browser contains information that can be linked to other webpages at a single mouse click. Also these browsers support wide variety of graphics.

The METOC anchor desk system is primarily built not only to restrict to pacific theatres but also to be useful across the globe, these video conferencing software can also support geographical distribution by permitting the users to interact either through audio or video also it collaborates graphics and textual data. Other software’s like collaboration software which collaborates two or more users to collaborate over an application and also utility software support the ASR geographical distribution. In the METOC anchor desk system architecture the ORB acts as a middle layer to process the various software objects like environmental, data gathering, data analysis, data visualization and joint map servers as well. CORBA is a best example of this ORB (Nelson Weidman, Implications of distributed object technology for reengineering). These are the basic architecture ideas that support the desired quality attributes/characteristics.

References

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