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Details of Software Configuration Management

Dec, 08 2020, 01:01 pm [IST]
Details of Software Configuration Management

Software Configuration Management

When you develop computer software, change occurs, and because it happens, you need to manage it effectively. Software configuration management is a set of actions composed to regulate change, by

  • Identifying the work product that is likely to change
  • Establishing relationships among them
  • Defining mechanism for managing different versions of these work products
  • Controlling the changes imposed and
  • Auditing and reporting on the changes made

Need for SCM

There are many reasons for implementing an SCM system on a software project, all of which save time, lower costs, and reduce problems. First, SCM can provide safety for a project by keeping track of all the old data, requirements, code, time, and other components that went into a project. If you need to transfer to any of these components in the future, information is easy to find because it is all located in one place. This can be particularly useful in supporting the software years after the project was originally developed because it preserves the information that was present when the project was initially developed.

Second, by using the SCM backup system on a regular basis, you guarantee a consistent and correct record of what you have done. This type of backup system can save hours of time if a build is corrupted or destroyed. Without a well documented and executed backup system, a corrupted build could cost weeks of downtime.

Third, as SCM system takes care of many of the necessary parts of a project that would have to be done anyway. The SCM system interlinks these necessary components in a way that reporting can be done through one system, rather than having to fill out a time card for your work hours, a project timesheet for how many hours you worked on a particular project, and sift through many systems to bill clients.

SCM scenario

A typical configuration management operational scenario involves a project manager who is in charge of a software group, a configuration manager who is in charge of the configuration management procedure and policies, the software engineers who are accountable for developing and maintaining the software product, and the customer who uses the product.

Baselines

A work product converts a baseline only after it is evaluated and certified. Once a baseline is founded each change request must be assessed and verified by a formal method before it is processed.

Software configuration item

A software configuration item is an information that was created as part of the software engineering process. It is a document, an entire suite of test cases, or a named program component.

A configuration object has a

  • Unique name
  • Description
  • List of resources
  • A Realisation (a pointer to a work product for a basic object or null for an aggregate object)

The SCM repository

In the initial days of software engineering, software configuration items were handled as paper records, stored in file folders or three-ring binders, and saved in metal cabinets. This procedure was uncertain for many reasons:

  1. Obtaining a configuration item when it was required was often difficult
  2. Deciding which items were modified, when, and by whom was often challenging.
  3. Construction of a new version of an existing program was time-consuming and error-prone.
  4. Describing detailed or Complex relationships between configuration items was Virtually impossible.

Today, SCIs are managed in a project database or repository. Today, the repository is a 'thing' - a database that acts as the center for both accumulation and storage of software engineering information.

The role of the repository

The repository performs the following functions:

  • Data integrity
  • Information sharing
  • Tool integration
  • Data integration
  • Methodology enforcement
  • Document standardization

To fulfill these functions, the repository is represented in terms of a meta-model. The meta-model defines how Information is stored in the repository, how data can be obtained by tools and viewed by software engineers, how well data security and integrity can be stated, and how simply the existing model can be extended to support new needs.

SCM features

To support software configuration management, the repository must have a toolset that provides support for the following features

Versioning, dependency tracking, and Change management, requirement tracking, configuration management, and Audit trains trails.

Software configuration management process

It defines a series of tasks that have four primary objectives.

  • To identify all items that collectively define the software configuration
  • To handle modifications to one or more of these items.
  • To aid the construction of different versions of an application.
  • To guarantee that software quality is stated as the configuration develops over time.

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