This paper proposes a diagnostic approach to quantify the maintainability of a Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)-based system (CBS) by analyzing the complexity of the deployment of the system. The approach integrates architectural dependencies and the system’s concept of operations to derive a network-based representation of the software system. A greater understanding of the deployment complexity is gained by comparing the in-degree distribution of the derived network to the power-law distribution. The resultant measure is useful in evaluating the maintainability of the operational system while the system is being designed and throughout the lifetime of the system. The measure is applied to deployed production systems with known maintainability histories to validate the approach.

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