CORBA Crosses the Embedded Systems Chasm

The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) has firmly established itself as the industry standard for distributed object computing in the client-server enterprise systems world. Standardization adds an important dimension to the development convenience and structural clarity of object oriented software-cross platform interoperability. In other words, CORBA compliant software, for example, created on a Sun-SPARC-SOLARIS system can and should run flawlessly on a Pentium II-Windows NT system.

Cross-platform interoperability makes it easier for embedded and enterprise systems to interact with each other. They can exchange data, load and run application objects and generally establish mutually beneficial partnerships. These activities are becoming increasingly in demand where embedded systems interact with the enterprise world in areas such as telecommunications, Internet, industrial automation, instrumentation and other applications.

As a result, interest in CORBA has risen dramatically in the embedded systems world and has attracted attention of commercial software vendors who are now beginning to introduce packaged solutions for embedded CORBA application development and deployment. While CORBA is new technology for embedded systems, it won't be too long before CORBA becomes the standard means of enabling interactive relationships between--say--HPUX-Merced systems and embedded VxWorks-PowerPC or pSOS-ARM embedded assets. The balance of this article presents a brief overview of CORBA technology, a couple of application examples and discusses some issues in harmonizing established enterprise CORBA standards with emerging embedded CORBA requirements.

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