Objective Interface Explores Security Architecture at OMG Meeting

11/8/2004 - Addressing the needs of technologists grappling with the balance between security and functionality in enterprise architectures, Objective Interface Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in embedded and real-time middleware solutions, announced its sponsorship of the Object Management Group's (OMG's) technical meeting here this week, during which a day has been set aside to focus on the Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) architecture.

On Wednesday, November 3, OMG has a day-long special session devoted to Information Assurance in High-risk Environments, with particular emphasis on the MILS architecture developed in coordination with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Security Agency and now being adopted for use throughout the government and military.

The OMG Technical Meeting attracts more than 600 leading technologists and industry leaders from member organizations around the globe. Also on the agenda for the meeting is further action on four Objective Interface-originated proposals for modifications and extensions to OMG's Real-time Common Object Request Broker Architecture (RT CORBA) and to other OMG standards.

Security, Information Assurance and the OMG
The government and military are currently applying MILS to solve critical security and reliability problems, said Bill Beckwith, chief technology officer of Objective Interface. Given our dependence on securing the Global Information Grid, of which the broader Internet and the World Wide Web are part, MILS is becoming increasingly important to establishing a standard security architecture.

Highlighting the fact that three major Real-time Operating System (RTOS) vendors are building products that conform to the MILS architecture, Beckwith added that because many of those considering MILS are also users of OMG's RT CORBA and other specifications that improve the level of information reliability and delivery, the organization is considering what can be done to layer OMG standards on MILS. The OMG is also evaluating ways to enhance RT CORBA's operation in high-risk environments.

Beckwith will explain the MILS architecture at the Wednesday session of the technical meeting. In addition, the OMG and Objective Interface have assembled a number of key government and business representatives to present at the Wednesday session, including: Joseph Jarzombek of the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Ben A. Calloni, Ph.D., research program manager at Lockheed Martin; David Chizmadia, senior security assurance architect at Promia, Inc., and Michael McEvilley of The MITRE Corporation. These presenters will address a range of MILS-focused topics, including: why and how MILS is being used; its use in embedded and enterprise wide systems; how to achieve Common Criteria Certification under MILS; and best practices around using MILS in banking and other commercial environments. The session will end with a panel and the creation of a list of MILS recommendations to the OMG, said Beckwith.

Proposals to the OMG
Scheduled for further discussion at the meeting are three technology proposals submitted earlier this year from Objective Interface:

High Assurance ORB: Submitted in collaboration with Rockwell Collins, this proposal advocates for a CORBA safety-critical profile appropriate for certification to DO-178B Level A. It will also include a definition of safe subsets of C++ and Ada and their mapping into CORBA using the profile.

High Performance Enablers: Advances in interconnect technology such as Infiniband, VIA, Rapid IO, Hypertransport and PCI Express, said Beckwith, need to be integrated into CORBA effectively. The proposed extensions will allow CORBA to be used with these interconnection topologies without changing software, methodologies or tools, he said. They will also allow low-latency and/or high-throughput applications running on localized clusters to easily integrate with broader distributed CORBA environments.

Reliable Ordered Multicast: This is a proposal for an inter-ORB protocol, said Beckwith, which addresses the need for a flexible, reliable-ordered multicast protocol in many enterprise and embedded applications. Within the IP family of protocols, there are multicast protocols that allow multiple senders to transmit to multiple recipients reliably, he said. However, they have not kept up with the changes in the Internet stemming from congestion created by the ever-increasing number of users. Thus, these protocols are not necessarily reliable anymore, at least with regard to transmitting data in the right order. This proposal marks our attempt to overcome these problems and make these protocols reliable on a highly scalable basis.

Also on the agenda for further action is a new RFP submitted at this meeting by Objective Interface on Data Distribution Service (DDS) interoperability. DDS is a specification for simple data-centric publish-subscribe communications that does not define an interoperable wire protocol. The RFP submitted by Objective Interface requests two significant enhancements to the DDS standard: interoperability between DDS products and interoperability with the CORBA event service.

Through this proposal, we are promoting a common wire protocol to DDS, said Beckwith. As presently defined, DDS, unlike CORBA, does not include such a protocol, which means that Company A's DDS can't talk to Company B's DDS. In addition, Objective Interface is seeking to integrate DDS more closely with CORBA so that developers can easily use both technologies for their programming solutions.

Other Technical Meeting Activities
Other activities during the week-long meeting of the OMG technical committees include coverage on Monday, November 1 of the OMG's C4I (Command & Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) activities with a keynote address by Lee Holcomb, CTO of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. On Tuesday, November 2, there will be a focus on e-Government with speakers from the Government Services Administration and companies incorporating OMG's Model Driven Architecture into government IT. On Thursday, November 4, the focus will be on the activities of the OMG's Healthcare Domain Task Force.

About Objective Interface
Objective Interface is a worldwide leader of embedded and real-time middleware solutions. The company provides CORBA, DDS and secure communications middleware development tools to meet the high-performance needs of telecommunications, data communications, industrial automation, consumer electronics, military and aerospace markets. Objective Interface products, sold worldwide, are used in a variety of real-time and embedded applications including communication systems, network management, vehicle control systems, telecommunication systems and nuclear fusion ignition facilities. For more information, visit www.ois.com, call 1-800-800-OIS7, or e-mail inquiries to: info@ois.com.

About the Object Management Group
The Object Management Group (OMG) is an open membership, not-for-profit consortium that produces and maintains computer industry specifications for interoperable enterprise applications. Its flagship specification is the multi-platform Model Driven Architecture (MDA). OMG's own middleware platform is CORBA , which includes the Interface Definition Language OMG IDL and protocol IIOP.

OMG Task Forces standardize Domain Facilities in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications, aerospace and the military/government domain. The technical committees meet five times a year at various locations around the world to take action on critical standards issues.

Model Driven Architecture® and CORBA® are registered trademarks of the Object Management Group. OMG and Object Management Group are trademarks of the Object Management Group.

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