system of systems (SoS) definition

Contributor(s): Ryan Punzalan

System of systems (SoS)  is the viewing of multiple, dispersed, independent systems in context as part of a larger, more complex system. A system is a group of interacting, interrelated and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. 

The goal of an SoS architecture is to get maximum value out of a large system by understanding of how each of the smaller systems work, interface and are used. Such designs require systems thinking -- a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way constituent parts interoperate, work over time and function within the context of a larger, evolving system. 

In the data center, independent constituent parts of a large system are connected through SoS-defined software interfaces called middleware.  Such programs ensure that constituents do not compete for subtasks within the larger system and provide messaging services so that constituent systems can communicate. 

 

 

 

 

This was first published in February 2012

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