The Past, Present, and Future of Configuration Management
reportposted on 01.07.1992, 00:00 by Susan A. Dart
Automated support for configuration management (CM) is one aspect of software engineering environments that has progressed over the last 20 years. The progress is seen by the burgeoning interest in CM, many technical papers and conferences involving CM, a large number of CM tool vendors, and new software development environments that incorporate CM capabilities. This paper is about future issues affecting solutions to CM problems. To put the future into perspective, it is necessary to discuss the past and present situation for CM. The past evolves around CM systems built in-house and supplemented with manual procedures and policies for executing the CM functions. The present consists of a better understanding of CM, the beginnings of a common vocabulary for CM, existence of many third-party CM tools and environments supporting CM, and recognition that a single CM system does not solve all CM problems and that there is a need for better understanding of CM process support. The future involves technical, process-oriented, political, standardization and managerial challenges. These include the need to provide for new CM requirements, understand the effects of advances in environments, deal with governmental requirements on contractors for using certain CM capabilities, and acquire more management commitment for resources in solving the CM problems of an organization. One way to start addressing these challenges is through the definition of a CM services model that provides a conceptual framework for all CM capabilities. As CM is examined more closely in relation to software engineering, it becomes evident that advances in software technology are needed to aid advances in CM technology.