Embedded middleware

OMG DDS wire-protocol interoperability demonstrated

Ryan Cloutier

A number of different messaging types populate the small world of ultrafast embedded middleware. An Object Management Group-sponsored (OMG-sponsored) data distribution service (DDS) recently was used to demonstrate wire-protocol interoperability between some of those systems.

Vendors' systems were able to communicate in real time between five independently developed DDS-based environments: InterCOM DDS from Gallium, IBM WebSphere R3 Services Asset from IBM, OpenSplice DDS from PrismTech, RTI Data Distribution Service from Real-Time Innovations, and CoreDX DDS from Twin Oaks Computing.

The DDS wire protocol allows direct contact between different implementations of the DDS standard even if they use different programming languages or are running on different operating systems.

''[DDS] is usually used in systems that are integrated from multiple subsystems,'' said Andrew Watson, vice president and technical director at OMG. ''And it’s very important that you can go out and get a subsystem from a new vendor and plug it in and have it guaranteed that it’s going to work.''

Industries often implement DDS in mission critical applications such as defense, financial trading or air traffic control. These industries are especially dependent upon the accuracy and exchangeability of data across multiple subsystems built by several different vendors, according to Watson.

A practical example of this is the United Kingdom’s Ministry

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of Defense standard called “Generic Vehicle Architecture.” This standard, which mandates the use of DDS for data transmission inside special military vehicles, would allow land vehicles (for example, tanks or light armored vehicles) to use interchangeable components including communications equipment, command and control equipment and other electronic gadgetry from various vendors, according to Watson.

“Of course it’s very important to them that they could take a five-year-old vehicle that’s manufactured by one vendor and plug in a brand new piece of electronic equipment that they bought from a different vendor and know that they’re going to be able to talk to each other using this DDS standard,” Watson said.

Gartner voted DDS as a “Cool Technology” in 2008 and it is used in a wide variety of programs from NASA robots to the AEGIS weapon system to trading applications at Citigroup.


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