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Communications Systems Architecture

Objective

Within the office and communications environments there is a trend towards multivendor systems with distributed computing power. By its very nature information and the associated input/output resources are distributed on different nodes and accessed by many users from a variety of terminal devices. It is this complex picture which motivated the CSA consortium to investigate how such systems could be constructed and managed in a consistent manner. The team was convinced that major benefits could be realised if a consistent platform could be provided for application systems irrespective of whether the underlying resources were single system/single vendor or distributed over multivendor systems.
The overall aim of the project was to specify and design an architecture that provides an environment consistent with the above objectives. In order to achieve this the following architectural requirements were identified:
-abstraction from heterogeneity of different hardware and operating systems, thus providing portability
-abstraction from distribution, thus providing location-transparent communication
-support for communication with non-CSA systems
The five-year project was organised into two major phases:
-Identification of the needs for communication by analysis of user requirements, followed by development of the architectural specification (years 1 and 2).
-Development of a prototype system based on currently available technology using appropriate standards and existing communication networks, followed by the demonstration of distributed applications on top of this system (years 3, 4 and 5).
Within the office and communications environments there is a trend towards multivendor systems with distributed computing power. By its very nature information and the associated input/output resources are distributed on different nodes and accessed by many users from a variety of terminal devices. This complex picture motivated the investigation into how such systems could be constructed and managed in a consistent manner.

The overall strategic architecture was defined and based on an object oriented approach for structuring the problems associated with the office and communications environments. The architecture provided integrated techniques for managing resources and handling communication between entities. A prototype machine was demonstrated in September 1988. It incorporated those features required to provide abstraction from the underlying hardware and operating system of a single machine. A prototype system consisted of a number of these machines, and illustrated the architectural features that support abstraction from distribution.
The overall strategic architecture was defined in December 1986. It is based on an object-oriented approach for structuring the problems associated with the office and communications environments. The architecture provides integrated techniques for managing resources and handling communication between entities.
A prototype machine was demonstrated in September 1988. It incorporated those features required to provide abstraction from the underlying hardware and operating system of a single machine. A prototype system demonstrated at the 1989 ESPRIT Conference exhibition consisted of a number of these machines, and illustrated the architectural features that support abstraction from distribution. Some distributed applications were implemented and demonstrated as well.

Coordinator

Roke Manor Research Ltd
Address
Roke Manor Old Salisbury Lane
SO51 0ZN Romsey
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

ITK Informations-Technologie Kiel GmbH
Germany
Address
Holzkoppelweg 5
24118 Kiel
MARI Applied Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Boldon Business Park Witney Way
NE35 9PE Boldon
SYNERGIE INFORMATIQUE & DEVELOPPEMENT
France
Address
102 Boulevard Malesherbes
75017 Paris
VALVO BAUELEMENTE PHILIPS GMBH
Germany
Address
Vogt-kölln-straße
2000 Hamburg