Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Challenges for Real Time and Disadvantaged Grid (IST-090)

  RTO Task Group
  STO-TR-IST-090 - SOA Challenges for Real-Time and Disadvantaged Grids
  Contact STO/CSO Panel Office
  Approved: 2008
Start: 1/1/2009
End: 12/1/2011
  Maintenance of Military Posture; Collective Defence; Peace Support Operation;
  Command & Control; Intelligence Support; Joint & Combined Operations; Land Operations; Air Operations; Maritime Operations;
  Information; Interoperability; Technology; Communication; Standards; Disadvantaged grids; Real Time; SOA
  Partner Nations invited
  DenmarkFranceGermanyItalyNCIANetherlandsNorwayPolandSpainTurkeyUnited Kingdom
SOA use for real time, use over disadvantaged grids, bandwidths required to exchange SOAP messages, compression technologies, latency issues, robustness, trust in delocalised services.
The SOA approach has demonstrated many advantages for the development and implementation of C4ISR systems in general: - SOAs greatest advantage is the ability to seamlessly exchange information based on different policies and on a loose coupling of the components. [I1]. - SOA can be realized by the use of open standards: - Asynchronous mode of exchange through the SOAP protocol offers a simple way to build interoperability with a good level of decoupling between presentation and transportation of information; - Common use of XML as a basis for the different description languages of the different levels of abstraction (SOAP for exchanges, WSDL for services description, UDDI for directories) resulted in the development of a wide offer of (COTS or open source) products; - Most of the commercial programming environments offer tools to easily realise “wrappers” to use legacy applications in Web services. There are some drawbacks which become apparent in a disadvantaged (constrained) military network: - The use of XML as a message exchange format is a problem, because it is verbose and therefore needs a high bandwidth. Compression technologies can be used to mitigate this, but they need to be improved. The use of SOAP messages may be unfeasible in tactical networks with highly limited communication links. Since the use of a SOA does not require the use of SOAP, other protocols (more efficient in terms of bandwidth use) could be used instead (e.g. Data Distribution Service (DDS) or Military Message Handling System (MMHS)). - The currently used implementations of SOA result in a high latency, especially for the discovery and invocation of services. This is caused by the high levels of decoupling that are used to facilitate the creation of interoperable solutions. - The existing products are not designed for use in disadvantaged grids with a significant probability of unanticipated disconnections, because their development is mainly driven by the commercial market of WAN enterprise information systems.
The large number of legacy systems within NATO and within allied countries justifies any improvement to increase interoperability of existing applications in the overall frame of NNEC. Thus, SOA is unquestionable an area of interest for NATO C4ISR. To cover the whole spectrum of NATO systems from the strategic to the tactical level, some improvements have to be identified to make SOA applicable on battlefield disadvantaged grids. In the tactical military environment the bandwidth may be quite low and the connectivity may be intermittent with widely ranging communication gaps (seconds to days). The overall research focuses on the use of SOA on disadvantaged grids (e.g. Mobile Ad-hoc Networks) in "near real time". Sub-areas of research include: - Communication paradigms - Mechanisms to reduce needed bandwidth - Mechanisms to improve reliability - Security: Requirements posed by security will only be taken into account as far as relevant. Security is already the focus of other groups (IST-053, IST-061). To evaluate our propositions for solutions we will use a concrete scenario as a global context of the study. The scenario will incorporate use cases and services (i.e. Blue Force Tracking, Observation report, Alert notification, UAV video feed, weather forecast)

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