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ture and middleware open standard. To be an appropriate Open Standard for SoS integration, the standards body has to mandate both a wire protocol (for integratability) and programming interface (for portability). However, while this provides the basis for an interoperable OA, it is still insufficient. Communication and

connectivity may have been openly standardized, but the meaning of the information f low has not. Both the DoD with the UCS program, the MoD with the GVA program and the OpenGroup’s FACE program are seeking to be able to address this issue by defining a System Data Dictionary (SDD) (also known as a Data Model) that defines

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Interoperability in IOA To accomplish a fully interoperable SoSA, you need to achieve three levels of interoperability: Technical Interoperability: Bits and bytes are exchanged in an unambiguous manner via a set of standardized communication protocols. [Transports] Syntactic Interoperability: A common data format is defined for the unambiguous sharing of information. [Messages] Semantic Interoperability: The meaning of data is exchanged through a common information model and the meaning of information is unambiguously defined and shared. [Data] However, even if you enable all these capabilities in a SoS, you may not achieve an IOA. There is one more key

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content and context of the data that is communicated around the SoS. It is not a wire protocol or message set, but rather a full specification of the data and its meaning, which can then be instantiated appropriately on different technologies to exchange information. Included in this SDD is a set of metadata that defines the formation associated with every piece of data, and this semantic data contextualizes it, or allows it to be re-contextualized to the application using it. Some Open System programs have been focused on portability of applications. However, while they will deliver cost benefits in the first program, they will find as the functionality of one application evolves, or requirements change, or new capability is inserted, that portability is not interoperability. Introducing different capabilities and features will have a cascading domino effect of costly change requests through the SoS. Without the rigorous definition of the data and its semantic meaning, integration will always be ad hoc. Instead, advanced programs have recognized that application portability is a goal, but that system-level interoperability is the higher order functionality that is needed (Figure 1).

8/14/13 2:35 PM

COTS Journal  

August 2013

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