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Software System Scalability: Concepts and Techniques

Rosenblum, DS; (2009) Software System Scalability: Concepts and Techniques. In: ISEC 2009 - PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2ND INDIA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CONFERENCE. (pp. 1 - 1). ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY

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With physical limits approaching in hardware, with demands on large-scale software systems continually increasing, and with the use of resource-poor wireless devices rapidly growing, issues of scale are becoming paramount in software engineering.Indeed, it is increasingly the case that software systems undergo a successful initial development, only to be found unfit for purpose in deployment, sometimes years after the initial development was completed. This happens because the systems are frequently designed without a precise understanding of, and accounting for, the evolving characteristics of the environment in which they will be deployed. This lack of understanding leads to problems of scalability and the need for radical re-design of the software to make it more scalable.The technical literature is full of references to the term scalability but devoid of precise definitions and clear understandings of the term. Furthermore, software developers lack the means to construct suitable objective characterizations of system scalability and to analyze and compare the scalability of different designs.In this talk I discuss the nature of scalability and the conflicting views that researchers and practitioners have of scalability, using several examples to illustrate the problem. I then present a precise definition of the term and a simple analysis technique that can be used to characterize, evaluate and compare the scalability of software systems. I conclude with a discussion of techniques for eliciting the scalability requirements of a software system, which are needed in order to instantiate the definition and analysis technique for a particular system design or set of candidate designs. I illustrate these ideas with a real-world example of a financial fraud detection system that already has undergone two complete re-designs due to scalability problems.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Software System Scalability: Concepts and Techniques
Event: 2nd India Software Engineering Conference
Location: Pune, INDIA
Dates: 2009-02-23 - 2009-02-26
ISBN-13: 978-1-60558-426-3
Keywords: execution environment, experimental program analysis, goal-oriented requirements engineering, microeconomics, scalability, software design
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1322561
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