Background - what exists in our world today.
Businesses engage in an activity for which customers pay for provided goods or services. One or more systems are needed to support a business activity and to monitor their business. For example, an accounting system monitors business transactions as a series of changes in the cash position of a business. Historically, a system is a combination of machines, paper, etc. and a series of steps performed by one or more people.
A software system is a combination of software and hardware that work together to achieve some business goal(s). The software is an off the shelf product, custom creation by a third party, custom creation by members of a business, or some combination of these.
The available off the shelf products include an OS, software language, middleware, database, accounting software, etc. The advantage of off the shelf versus custom is lower cost, greater reliability, less time to system launch, etc.
A multiple computer software system has advantages in terms of reliability, security, and scalability. The current techniques to coordinate work between a set of computers are difficult to program such that multiple computer software systems tend to be limited to expensive customer specific soutions.
Customizable software system- what we can improve upon for your business.
The ServiceFrame Infrastructure is a new type of off the shelf product. It is a customizable software system. A copy of an infrastructure executes on each computer and communicates with other copies of itself to create a multiple computer software system. The infrastructure is customized by configuration and the addition of software using the infrastructure to help coordinate work between programs executing on different computers.
A potential user must determine costs, benefits, and risks of basing a software system on the ServiceFrame Infrastructure. The following is a list of costs, benefits, and risks that should be considered.
Costs - potential costs to a user.
a) The cost of a ServiceFrame Infrastructure educational product is relatively low. The time to learn how to write software using the infrastructure depends on an individual learner and the quality of the educational materials.
b) The cost of a re-distributable one computer ServiceFrame Infrastructure product is relatively low.
c) The cost of a multiple computer ServiceFrame Infrastructure product is relatively low.
d) The cost of administration and operation are relatively low in comparison to other multiple computer systems.
e) What is the cost of support? The ServiceFrame Infrastructure vendor plans on fixing software bugs in the infrastructure at no cost. Training, custom software, on site support, etc. must be obtained from third parties providing such services similar to what is already available for other vendor products.
f) What is the cost of custom software? This is likely higher in the beginning but lower in the long run, versus a different approach, due to initial learning but the inherent lower cost to create better software that uses the infrastructure. The long term vision is that more software services will become available as off the shelf products such that multiple computer system cost will tend to drop over time.
g) What is the cost for an implementation to support another software language? The initial cost to port a Java implementation to another software language must be born by the initial requesters. Part of this cost could be reimbursed as other users purchase the resulting off the shelf product.
Risks - potential risks assumed by the user.
a) How well does ServiceFrame Infrastructure work? An independent assessment must be performed and published. This can be augmented or replaced by experience gained from learning about and using the infrastructure on one computer.
b) What if the ServiceFrame Infrastructure vendor goes out of business? The complete software source code is available such that support can be provided by a user or third party.
c) What if a yearly license becomes too expensive? Our infrastructure implementation is protected by pending patents that expire within 20 years. The infrastructure implementation software source code is available at a relatively low cost. It is relatively easy to defeat the yearly license mechanism though this has a potential legal consequence. The current approach for product pricing is to set a relatively low price that encourages purchase and discourages alternatives. An expensive license would result in alternatives becoming available over time.
d) When will a multiple computer infrastructure product be available? This depends on customer participation in a product beta test.
Benefits - potential benefits of using ServiceFrame over existing software.a) Better reliability as work performed by a failed computer can be reassigned and performed by a working computer.
b) Better security as a server can check that a client has the authority to request an operation. A server can execute on a different computer from a client such that it is difficult for a client to defeat this form of security.
c) Better overall system performance as work is scaled across many computers.
d) Lower costs for better software as provided by the infrastructure and future off the shelf third party software services.