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A Transaction Processing Toolkit for ACTS


Distributed Transaction Processing (DTP) standards provide a means for co-ordinating complex inter-actions between distributed software. Whereas such open mechanisms have been used within the IT domain, their applicability to telecommunication software has only recently begun to be appreciated.
The main objective of the ACTranS project is to develop, validate and promote a DTP toolkit, called the ACTranS toolkit, adapted to the needs of telecommunications users.
This includes:
Providing Open Management Group DTP, X/Open DTP and interoperability between the two, according to the TINA Distributed Processing Environment (DPE) requirements,
Demonstrating the usability of DTP functionalities in Telco applications through user trials,
Disseminating technology and training users.
Year 1 has seen the achievement of the transactional RPC prototype version of the ACTranS toolkit.
Year 2 has seen the output of the OTS version of the toolkit.
Years 3 will see the introduction of the ACTranS toolkit into separate service and network management applications.
Year 4 will see the merging of these applications, using the ACTranS toolkit, and their use in the integrated trial.
Promotion of the ACTranS toolkit will be achieved through a major dedicated cross-industry body, the Open Group, and contributions to the standards bodies.
Expected Impact
The ACTranS consortium is enhancing the integrity of telecommunication applications and services by using IT developments. Also, the consortium is building more awareness of DTP in the Telco world and of its applicability to real-world Telco applications.
In turn, telecommunication specific requirements for capacity, throughput and availability must be paid due consideration by the IT community.
Technical Approach
An existing version of the ACTranS toolkit, comprising a number of portable and re-usable components, is progressively enhanced to meet the needs of the telecommunication sector. Presently available components include:
OMG Object Transaction Service (OTS),
transactional remote procedure call (TxRPC) based on OSF/DCE and OSI TP, as requested by SPIRIT,
interoperability between OMG OTS and X/Open TxRPC,
a Network Element Resource Manager (NERM), to handle non-transactional network elements within the scope of a transaction.
Further requirements (e.g. nested transactions) are identified by the project's User Group and other projects within the ACTS programme (to which the toolkit is offered). Utilisation and applicability of the toolkit will be validated by a series of experiments and trials.
Summary of Trial
Using the ACTranS toolkit, the ACTranS user group designs, implements and experiments on National Hosts applications for managing:
a "news on demand" multimedia application,
configuration changes in the integrated broadband network supporting the news on demand application,
existing non-transactional network elements on which the network is built.
Key Issues
First, the challenge for ACTranS is to work within a global and generic telecommunication service architecture, and within the functional architecture of a DPE, used as a service execution platform. Then, ACTranS proposes a functional architecture of the distributed transaction facility in accordance with the other DPE functions (communication infrastructure, object naming and addressing, security,...).

ACTranS Toolkit Architecture in Trial

ACTranS Integrated Trial Deployment

Finally, within this architecture, ACTranS takes into account the requirements expressed by users in the telecommunication world, such as:
relaxing some of the ACID properties (atomicity, consistency, isolation, durability) to respect the request for performance and availability,
taking into account memory resident objects and resources, as well as existing Telecommunication Management Network (TMN) and/or Intelligent Network (IN) non-transactional equipments,
encompassing service management, network management and (non-transactional) network element management within a single transaction.

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Participants (10)