Interoperability Frameworks for Distributed Systems

Interoperability Frameworks for Distributed Systems

José Carlos Martins Delgado (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7598-6.ch092

Abstract

One of the fundamental problems to tackle when interconnecting distributed systems is to entail the minimum coupling possible while ensuring the minimum interoperability requirements. This chapter presents a solution to the coupling problem based on the concepts of compliance and conformance, in which compatibility between interacting services does not rely on a shared schema, but rather on the features that are actually used. To help systematizing the various aspects relevant to interoperability, this chapter proposes a multidimensional interoperability framework, which includes the following dimensions: Lifecycle (with typical development stages), interoperability (based on compliance and conformance, with various layers of abstraction), and concerns (to deal with non-functional aspects such as security, quality of service, and social and legal issues).
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Background

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model (ISO/IEC, 1994), constitutes one of the first systematizations of distributed interoperability, considering seven layers (Table 1). This standard deals mostly with communication issues, with the objective of sending data and reproducing it at the receiver. How those data are interpreted by the receiver and how it reacts to the data is left unspecified, encompassed by the topmost layer, Application. However, interoperability must ensure not only the exchange of data but also the meaningful use of information (ISO/IEC/IEEE, 2010), which means that this layer must be detailed.

Table 1 depicts the basic structure of several interoperability frameworks (referred to by acronym or first author) that use this layered approach, establishing a rough horizontal correspondence between layers.

Table 1.
Comparison between several layered interoperability frameworks
OSI
(1994)
C4IF
(2006)
Lewis
(2008)
Stamper
(2000)
LCIM
(2009)
EIF
(2010)
Monfelt
(2011)
ApplicationCollaborationOrganizationalSocial worldConceptualPoliticalSWOT
Cultural
Ethical
LegalLegal
PragmaticDynamicOrganizationalManagerial
PragmaticOrganizational
ConsolidationSemanticSemanticSemanticSemantic (includes syntactic)Adaptation
Application
PresentationCommunicationSyntacticSyntacticSyntacticPresentation
SessionSession
TransportMachineEmpiricsTechnicalTechnicalTransport
NetworkConnectionNetwork
LinkLink
Physical MediumPhysical worldPhysical Medium

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