Reliability model for component-based systems in cosmic (a case study)

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International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering


Software component technology has a substantial impact on modern IT evolution. The benefits of this technology, such as reusability, complexity management, time and effort reduction, and increased productivity, have been key drivers of its adoption by industry. One of the main issues in building component-based systems is the reliability of the composed functionality of the assembled components. This paper proposes a reliability assessment model based on the architectural configuration of a component-based system and the reliability of the individual components, which is usage- or testing-independent. The goal of this research is to improve the reliability assessment process for large software component-based systems over time, and to compare alternative component-based system design solutions prior to implementation. The novelty of the proposed reliability assessment model lies in the evaluation of the component reliability from its behavior specifications, and of the system reliability from its topology; the reliability assessment is performed in the context of the implementation-independent ISO/IEC 19761:2003 International Standard on the COSMIC method chosen to provide the component's behavior specifications. In essence, each component of the system is modeled by a discrete time Markov chain behavior based on its behavior specifications with extended-state machines. Then, a probabilistic analysis by means of Markov chains is performed to analyze any uncertainty in the component's behavior. Our hypothesis states that the less uncertainty there is in the component's behavior, the greater the reliability of the component. The system reliability assessment is derived from a typical component-based system architecture with composite reliability structures, which may include the composition of the serial reliability structures, the parallel reliability structures and the p-out-of-n reliability structures. The approach of assessing component-based system reliability in the COSMIC context is illustrated with the railroad crossing case study. © 2008 World Scientific Publishing Company.

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