Flexibility and Manageability of IMS Projects
Zoë Stephenson, Mark Nicholson, John McDermid
Presented at the 24th International System Safety Conference, 31st July-4th August 2006, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
In the past few years, Integrated Modular Systems (IMS) have been increasingly seen as a way of reducing the cost associated with computing in high-integrity control applications. An IMS is a network of computational nodes, sensors (with redundancy) and actuators. This type of system uses specific software architectures and configuration processes to allow the deployment of the control application in different arrangements. Eventually, it will be commonplace for IMS software to reconfigure during operation - an eventuality for which it would be prudent to prepare.
Previous work compared IMS concepts with the idea of staged product lines. The product line model shows particular issues for technology support, processes and change management; our analysis indicates ways in which IMS software and configuration processes could be modified so that they are able to support the full range of possible IMS characteristics from fixed-configuration systems based on hardware-specific integration to fully-reconfigurable logical partition-based systems.
To continue this strand of work, we assess representative processes, architectures and standards for IMS development against these particular recommendations. The results are able to show any limitations that are imposed on these projects with respect to the flexibility of the IMS support infrastructure. From these results, further specific recommendations can be made regarding the future of IMS development and accompanying processes and standards.