describes ready-made products that can easily be obtained.
The term is sometimes used in military procurement specifications.
The term COTS product is defined on the basis of the ‘Federal Acquisition Regulations’. It is defined as something that one can buy, ready-made, from some manufacturer's virtual store shelf (e.g., through a catalogue or from a price list). It carries with it a sense of getting, at a reasonable cost, something that already does the job. The main characteristics of COTS are: (1) it exists a priori, (2) it is available to the general public or (3) it can be bought (or leased or licensed). The meaning of the term “commercial” is a product customarily used for general purposes and has been sold, leased, or licensed (or offered for sale, lease or license) to the general public. As for the term “off-the-shelf”, it can mean that the item is not to be developed by the user, but already exists.
In the last decade the use of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products as parts of larger systems has grown steadily.
Using one or more COTS products has effects on nearly all activities and products process: architecture and design, effort and cost estimation, validation and testing, and reliability.
Definition and classification of COTS: a proposal Accepted at ICCBSS, Orlando (FL) February 4-6, 2002.
SLMTI's MS15, MS22, MS31, BL23, and BL31Standard Products are all available with COTS configuration