Internet Services

Request For Information

OMG Document # ORBOS/96-06-18

Object Management Group
Framingham Corporate Center
492 Old Connecticut Path
Framingham, MA 01701-4568
Tel: +1-508-820 4300
Fax: +1-508-820 4303

Submissions Due: October 14, 1996



About OMG

The mission of the Object Management Group (OMG) is to enable rapid assembly of distributed integrated interoperable applications from component parts. To this end, OMG has established a distributed and object-based software architectural framework and is populating it with a reusable collection of component object specifications. More specifically, OMG has developed or is working on:

For more information on OMG and its technology adoption process, see the appendices covering Background on OMG and the OMG Internet Platform Special Interest Group (IPSIG), OMG Process, and the OMG RFP Template.

Objectives of this RFI

The overall goal of this Request for Information (RFI) is to collect information from various communities to help guide the OMG's IPSIG and the OMG in the adoption of specifications that will scale the OMG Object Management Architecture to the Internet and further populate or align it with Internet standards, protocols, tools, and utilities. The scope of Internet technologies is described below.

This RFI solicits relevant information in several areas: requirements, architectures, designs, projects, products, protocols, and standards (see Information Being Solicited below). The information provided will be used by the OMG IPSIG and the OMG to develop:

Who Should Respond

The OMG encourages users, consultants, systems integrators, and developers of Internet tools, protocols, products, and services to become involved with this process by responding to this RFI. OMG members and non-members may submit. Current compliance with OMG specifications is not a prerequisite for response to this RFI. The RFI response can consist of pre-existing product documentation, but should also be organized and presented in accordance with this RFI.

The OMG IPSIG and the Platform Technical Committee will use responses to this RFI to plan and structure a series of RFPs soliciting OMG IDL interfaces and corresponding semantic descriptions and sequencing constraints.


The technical scope of this RFI is the collection of technologies and needed interfaces to Internet-enable OMG-based applications, encapsulate Internet tools, and scale the existing OMG architecture to Wide Area Networks (WANs). Areas listed below are within the scope of this RFI.

Since there is potential for overlap with the scope of OMG Task Forces, especially ORBOS and Common Facilities, care will be taken to divide the work of RFP generation as seems best at the time and with the guidance of the OMG Architecture Board.

Information Being Requested

This RFI is seeking information in the categories described below. Respondents are asked only to address those areas for which they have expertise and/or interest. Please consider the purpose of this RFI when responding so your time is spent on issues that will be helpful to reviewers. Respondents may consider areas not explicitly requested if they feel the information provides useful guidance.

Requirements, Issues, Risks

Respondents are asked to clearly identify:

User community requirements and industry experience are very important in determining the urgency of technology adoption in specific areas.

Existing Relevant Standards

Responses are requested to identify relevant standards efforts associated with this RFI. These include de facto industry standards as well as de jure standards developed by recognized standards organizations. Where relevant, responses should identify:

Identification of standards groups that would provide beneficial liaison with the OMG via the OMG Standards Liaison Subcommittee is one of objectives in this RFI.

Architectural Framework

Responses are requested that identify extensions needed to scale OMG's Object Management Architecture to the Internet and to provide frameworks for interlinking various OMG CORBAservices and CORBAfacilities with Internet communications, protocols, tools, and Web-related tools. It is possible for an architectural framework to consist of multiple levels of decomposition. The lowest level would ideally represent specific RFPs that could be issued for technology adoption first. It is also possible that the architecture will consist mainly of a collection of short descriptions of complementary Internet and Web tools and interfaces that would benefit from object interfaces.


Respondents are especially encouraged to identify specific objects that need interface standards. This may include groups of such objects and may overlap with the information being requested under Architectural Framework (the previous section).

Existing and Planned Systems

Respondents are encouraged to identify where and how Internet, Web and object technology is currently being applied together in existing and planned systems and applications and where and how OMG technologies can play a role to improve interoperability or scaleability.

Instructions for Responding to this RFI

Respondents to this RFI shall designate a single contact for receipt of all subsequent information regarding this RFI. The name of this contact will be made available to all OMG members.

Responses to this RFI must be received at OMG no later than 5:00PM, US Eastern Time (21:00 UTC) August 23, 1996. Documentation submitted in response to this RFI will be available to all OMG members.

Format of RFI Responses

The following outline is offered to assist in the development of your response. You should include:

Although the OMG does not limit the size of responses, you are asked to consider that the OMG will rely upon volunteer resources with limited time availability to review these responses. In order to assure that your response receives the attention it deserves, you are asked to consider limiting the size of your response (not counting any supporting documentation).

If you consider supporting documentation to be necessary, please indicate which portions of the supporting documentation are relevant to this RFI.

NOTE: According to the Policies and Procedures of the OMG Technical Process, proprietary and confidential material may not be included in any response to the OMG. Responses become public documents of the OMG. If the response is subject to copyright, it must include a waiver of that copyright to allow unlimited duplication by OMG staff and a limited waiver of that copyright to allow OMG members to make up to fifty (50) copies for OMG review purposes only.

How to Submit

Responses to this RFI must be received at OMG no later than 5:00PM US Eastern Time (21:00 UTC) August 26, 1996. The outside of packages/envelopes containing submissions or any other communication regarding this RFI should be clearly marked "OMG Internet Services RFI Response".

OMG requests responses and any supporting documentation to be packaged in either of the following ways:

Internet Services Technology Desk
Object Management Group Inc.
Framingham Corporate Center
492 Old Connecticut Path
Framingham, MA 01701-4568

Other communication regarding this RFI in the future may be addressed to:

Phone: +1-508-820 4300
Fax: +1-508-820 4303

Your organization should be prepared to handle requests for additional paper copies of your response and supporting documentation.


The OMG will not reimburse submitters for any costs in conjunction with their responses to this RFI.

Response Review Process and Schedule

Responses to this RFI are to be reviewed for the following express intention: providing OMG with technical information and guidance in writing the forthcoming series of RFPs.


The OMG IPSIG will review responses under direction of the OMG ORBOS Task Force. After evaluating the responses, the OMG may issue one or more RFPs in this technology area.

In contrast to this RFI, only OMG Contributing Members are eligible to respond to an RFP. For further guidance on the RFP process, see the Policies and Procedures of the OMG Technical Process and the RFP template included in the Appendices of this document.

Clarification of Responses

To fully comprehend the information contained within a response to this RFI, the reviewing group may seek further clarification on that response. This clarification may be verbal, written, or electronic. IPSIG requests (but does not require) that submitters attend the meeting following the RFI deadline to present their responses.


The schedule for responding to this RFI is as follows. Please note that early responses are encouraged.

NOTE: This schedule is subject to change based on the number of RFI responses received and the information in the responses.

For More Information

More information on the Object Management Group can be obtained via the Internet at:

WWW Homepage:

OMG provides a document server. Send e-mail to with a message body:

get docs/doclist.txt

More information on the OMG IPSIG can be obtained via the Internet at:

WWW Homepages: or


Common Facilities Architecture, Object Management Group, January, 1995, OMG TC Document 95-01-02 (postscript).

Common Object Request Broker Architecture and Specification (CORBA), Revision 2, Object Management Group, August 1995.

CORBA Fundamentals and Programming, J. Seigel, J. Wiley, 1996.

CORBAfacilities, Object Management Group, 1995.

CORBAservices, Object Management Group, March 31, 1995, OMG TC Document 95-3-31.

The Essential CORBA, T. Mowbray & R. Zahavi, J. Wiley, 1995.

Object Management Architecture Guide (OMA Guide), Object Management Group, September 1995.

Object Services Architecture, Object Management Group, August 1992, OMG TC Document 92-08-04 (postscript).

Policies and Procedures of the OMG Technical Process, Object Management Group, May 1996, OMG Document pp/96-05-03.


Background on the Object Management Group and the OMG Internet Platform Special Interest Group

OMG is dedicated to producing a framework and specifications for commercially available object-oriented environments. The Object Management Architecture Guide (OMA), published in 1990 and revised in 1995, provides an architecture with terms and definitions upon which all supporting interface specifications are to be based. Part of this architecture is the Reference Model which identifies and characterizes the components, interfaces, protocols, and design principles that compose the OMA.

Figure 1 shows the major parts of the OMA Reference Model. The circles and semi-circular figures represent software with application programming interfaces. The boxes represent groupings of objects that can make and receive requests.

Figure 1: OMA Reference Model

Through a series of RFPs, OMG is populating the OMA Reference Model with detailed specifications for each of its components and interfaces. The OMA's Object Model describes what an object is and what constructs are available for defining OMG objects. The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) specification defines the OMG ORB, a mechanism which allows clients to issue requests to, and receive responses from, conforming objects (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Common ORB Architecture

Using the ORB, requests for an object's services are made without regard to the location or implementation of the object providing the service, i.e., without regard for the mechanisms used to represent, store, manage, invoke or communicate with the object. Objects made available through the ORB publish their interfaces using the Interface Definition Language (OMG IDL) as defined in Chapter 4 of the CORBA specification. OMG IDL provides a language-independent way of specifying an object's operations and attributes.

To construct inter-working, portable clients and object implementations, there must exist a set of basic Object Services which provide functions for realizing and maintaining objects. Object Services provide the basic operations for logical modeling, naming, lifecycle, managing and physically storing objects. For example, Object Services define the operations used to create, find, move and delete objects, as well as the operations used to define an object and its implementations. RFPs issued and adopted by OSTF cover Life Cycle, Events, Naming, Persistence, Externalization, Concurrency, Transactions, Relationships, Security Services, Object Queries, Properties, Licensing, Collections, Trading, Startup, and Security services.

To construct richer environments, a collection of Common Facilities is useful. These include (or will include) Distributed Document Component Facility based on OpenDoc, Time Operations, Internationalization, Data Interchange, Mobile Agents, Repositories, Asian Input, Meta Object Facility, Workflow, Task Management, Desktop, Instance Configuration and Change Management, Automation and Scripting, Rendering/Imaging, Rule Management, and Security Management.

The OMG IPSIG was created at the OMG meeting in Ottawa, Canada, in September 1995. Its mission is to bring together interested parties and determine if there is sufficient interest in extending OMG OMA to the Internet. If responses to this RFI show that there is clear benefit in doing so, the IPSIG may request at a future OMG meeting that its status be upgraded to that of a Task Force. In the meantime, the IPSIG will work through existing OMG task forces to help develop an Internet Services Architecture and Roadmap and issue RFPs.

OMG Process

OMG adopts specifications for interfaces, based on existing technology, by explicit vote on a technology-by-technology basis. The specifications selected each fill in a portion of the OMA Reference Model. OMG bases its decisions on both business and technical merit. The OMG Domain and Platform Technical Committees (TCs) provides technical guidance to the OMG in making decisions about specifications. These TCs are composed of representatives of OMG member companies. Each TC is operated by a Vice President working full-time for the OMG itself (as opposed to being an employee of a member company).

The TCs operate in a Request for Proposal mode, requesting technology to fill open portions of the OMG OMA Reference Model from international industry. The responses to such a proposal, taken within the specific RFP response period, are evaluated by a Task Force of the relevant TC with the full TC then voting on a recommendation to the Board for approval of a specific addition to the set of OMA specifications. The OMG Architecture Board has veto power to insure RFPs request technologies consistent with the OMG OMA. In practice, members of the OMG Architecture Board work with Task Forces to insure RFPs will be consistent. Once a specification (a technology, not source or product) has been adopted by the OMG Board, it is promulgated to industry through a variety of distribution channels.

RFIs such as this one are issued with the intent to survey the industry to obtain information that provides guidance which will be used in the preparation of forthcoming RFPs.

The OMG's fast track process allows for faster adoption of technology in the case where an existing OMG compliant specification exists and there is likely to be no competition.

RFP Template

A probable outcome of the RFI process is for OMG to identify new interfaces that members believe should be added to the suite of OMG standards. OMG typically accomplishes this by issuing Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Recently, OMG completed a template RFP that further describes the OMG Object Management Architecture and lists architectural principles that technology submissions to OMG must satisfy. To provide RFI respondents with additional information on the OMG architecture and process, a copy of the OMG RFP template is appended here in postscript, MIF, and Word for Windows formats and is available to non-members of OMG by sending E-mail to with a message body:

get docs/ab/
get docs/ab/96-04-01.mif
get docs/ab/96-04-01.doc