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Requirements and Performance Analysis of a Real-Time Message-Oriented Middleware

Author : Manie Steyn, BSc (Eng)

Issue : 1

Date : 1997-05-29

A proposal for a dissertation to be submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science in Engineering.


Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM) is a specific class of Network Application Layer software that operates on the principles of message passing. In general, MOM is characterised by a peer-to-peer distributed computing model supporting both synchronous and asynchronous interaction between distributed computing processes. MOM generally provides high-level services, creating an infrastructure to support very reliable, scaleable and performance-oriented distributed network applications in heterogeneous environments.

The candidate’s employer, CI Systems (Pty) Ltd in Cape Town, has developed APIS (Application Interface Services), a real-time mission-critical MOM. APIS’s transport services are provided by the Xpress Transport Protocol (XTP) while the physical layer is based on FDDI. APIS is implemented on a Pentium-based host processor card, delivering its network services to the user via a Multibus II interface. The off-host communication architecture provides for parallelism between the user application running on the host and APIS running on a local processor. It also establishes a functionally decoupled interfacing environment between the service provider and user which provides for a more reliable integration of the users application and the network.

The candidate proposes to determine by means of a literature survey, the networking requirements set by real-time distributed applications. Analysis of this data will produce requirement specifications for a real-time MOM as well as the network protocols on which the MOM is built.

The candidate also proposes to perform testing and analysis of APIS’s performance especially with regard to the added complexity of the MOM aspect. This will include the multicasting (one transmitter to many receivers) ability as well as the performance penalties due to implementation of real-time data interface management by APIS.

The proposed research work will be :

  • To investigate the networking requirements of real-time, mission-critical, distributed systems by means of a literature survey.
  • To perform latency and throughput measurements with respect to network loading, message length and message loading.
  • To obtain a time profile of the execution of a send and a receive primitive in order to study the processing overhead of APIS.
  • To draw conclusions on the suitability of APIS as a real-time network application.
  • To recommend implementation changes to enhance the performance of APIS.


Journals for the literature survey :

  • IEEE Communications
  • IEEE Network
  • IEEE Software
  • IEEE Transactions on Communications
  • Data Communication
  • Proceedings of the Annual Conferences on Local Area Networks
  • Proceedings of the Annual Conferences on Real-Time Systems

The candidates employer has contacts with a number of research organisations and groups with directly related interests as follows :

  • International High Speed Data Bus User Group (IHSBD-UG)
  • US Navy High Performance Networking (HPN) Working Group
  • Message-Oriented Middleware Association (MOMA)
  • Mentat Inc., USA - Xpress Transport Protocol (XTP)
  • Wind River Systems, USA - VxWorks real-time operating system
  • Concurrent Technologies, UK - Pentium-based Multibus II SBC