On the design of application protocols


Sinderen, Marten Jelle van (1995) On the design of application protocols. thesis.

open access
Abstract:In the last decades, much effort has been spent on the design and provision of sophisticated communication infrastructures. The development of end-user oriented distributed system applications, leaning on top of these communication infrastructures, so far has attracted little attention. This is regrettable, since communication infrastructures can only become useful and profitable if they can be deployed in the context of a sufficient number of distributed applications.
Two important factors determine the success of distributed applications: (1) the provision of high quality application services and protocols at short time scales; and (2) the availability of standards for these services and protocols that can be used for the construction of �open� distributed systems. The achievement of both (1) and (2) can be supported by a suitable design methodology.
A design methodology entails a systematic approach to carry out complex designs, and therefore should incorporate proper concepts that enable the effective structuring of such designs. Concepts currently used for the design and structuring of application protocols appear to be inadequate for this purpose. Also a step-wise design approach that would help to master complexity and shorten development times is currently lacking.
Standards are necessary since individual users of distributed system applications prefer to be independent on any particular manufacturer or vendor when procuring products, while manufacturers prefer to have maximum implementation freedom when developing such products. An �open� protocol standard defines necessary and sufficient conditions for system parts to interact, such that the system parts can be implemented independently of each other.
ISO and ITU-TSS base the development and definition of protocol standards on a �reference model�, called the Reference Model for Open Systems Interconnection (OSIRM). This model comprises a rudimentary form of a design approach and a reference architecture that can be derived with this approach. According to the OSI-RM, the overall application protocol functionality is distributed over three hierarchical protocol layers. Each layer has been assigned a specific functionality, except the highest layer, the Application
Layer, which is made responsible for all remaining protocol functions. Because the functionality of the Application Layer is not delimited it cannot, as opposed to the other layers, be covered by a single protocol standard or a fixed set of protocol standards. Several identified sets of Application Layer protocol functions are defined by separate Application Service Elements (ASEs).
The appropriateness of the OSI-RM for the development and definition of application protocol standards can be criticized on a number of points:
- the reference architecture defined by the OSI-RM is not flexible enough to adequately cope with the diversity of interaction requirements of distributed applications.
- some design concepts are not clearly defined, thus prohibiting their effective application to structuring problems;
- the relationship between high level application requirements and proposed application protocol solutions is unclear;
- the development of application protocol standards generally takes a long time.
This thesis aims at the development of a methodology for the design of application protocols, including application protocol standards, and so addresses the problems mentioned above. The following contributions are made to achieve this aim:
- design quality criteria are proposed that can be used to guide design decisions and to evaluate designs;
- OSI design decisions and design concepts with respect to application protocols are evaluated;
- general-purpose, elementary design concepts are proposed;
- milestones in the application protocol design process are presented;
- behaviour composition and structuring techniques are developed that can be used to represent design results corresponding to the identified milestones;
- design methods are proposed to support the correct performance of design steps between milestones;
- a flexible reference architecture is proposed.
A (potential) result of the design methodology is that layered application protocol hierarchies can be avoided if they are not required by the class of distributed applications that must be supported.
Item Type:Thesis
Additional information:Imported from research group ASNA (ID number 251)
Copyright:© 1995 University of Twente, Centre for Telematics and Information Technology
Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS)
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Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/publications/66783
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