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This web site is intended as an active instrument for collaboration amongst people from different universities and research centers interested in the RM-ODP. It contains a collection of references and pointers to resources related to RM-ODP, as well as a discussion forum for exchanging ideas and debating ODP-related issues.

In the most pure wiki spirit, please feel free to contribute to this Web site by adding information to the collection of references and projects cited here, or by sharing your thoughts and ideas with the rest of the RM-ODP community using the forums.

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‍The Reference Model of Open Distributed Processing (RM-ODP)

The Reference Model of Open Distributed Processing (RM-ODP, ITU-T Rec. X.901-X.904 | ISO/IEC 10746) is a joint effort by ISOIEC and ITU-T, which provides a co-ordinating framework for the standardization of opendistributed processing (ODP) which supports distribution, interworking, platform and technology independence, and portability, together with an enterprise achitecture framework for the specification of ODP systems.

The RM-ODP family of recommendations and international standards defines essential concepts necessary to specify open distributed processing systems from five prescribed viewpoints and provides a well-developed framework for the structuring of specifications for large-scale, distributed systems.

The RM-ODP is based on precise concepts derived from current distributed processing developments and, as far as possible, on the use of formal description techniques for specification of the architecture.

Fundamental concepts

The framework for system specification provided by the RM-ODP has four fundamental elements:

  • an object modelling approach to system specification;
  • the specification of a system in terms of separate but interrelated viewpoint specifications;
  • the definition of a system infrastructure providing distribution transparencies for system applications;
  • a framework for assessing system conformance.

Object modelling provides a formalization of well-established design practices of abstraction and encapsulation. Abstraction allows the description of system functionality to be separated from details of system implementation. Encapsulation allows the hiding of heterogeneity, the localization of failure, the implementation of security and the hiding of the mechanisms of service provision from the service user.

ODP standards define functions and structures to realize distribution transparencies. Further, it also provides a framework for assessing system conformance. The basic characteristics of heterogeneity and evolution imply that different parts of a distributed system can be purchased separately, from different vendors. It is therefore very important that the behaviours of the different parts of a system are clearly defined, and that it is possible to assign responsibility for any failure to meet the system's specifications. The framework defined to govern the assessment of conformance addresses these issues.

New developments

As part of a continuing improvement process, new versions of core Parts 2 (Foundations) and 3 (Architecture) have been prepared to take account of recent developments in the industry and in IT technologies. These standards now incorporate concepts such as services, components, relations, patterns, etc. They complement and enhance the previous versions to allow IT architects to leverage the full potential of RM-ODP for the specification and design of large open IT systems. These new documents (FDIS v1.04, 2010) are currently available for download:

In addition, a new standard defines use of the UML 2 for expressing the specifications of open distributed systems in terms of the viewpoint specifications defined by the RM-ODP:

This standard (usually referred to as UML4ODP) defines a set of UML Profiles, one for each viewpoint language and one to express the correspondences between viewpoints, and an approach for structuring them according to the RM-ODP principles.

The purpose of UML4ODP is to allow ODP modelers to use the UML notation for expressing their ODP specifications in a standard graphical way; to allow UML modelers to use the RM-ODP concepts and mechanisms to structure their large UML system specifications; and to allow UML tools to be used to process viewpoint specifications--thus facilitating the software design process and the enterprise architecture specification of large software systems.

See also the resources page for associated resources (documents, UML profiles for various UML tools, icons, presentations, etc.).

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See also