Common Services

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Modern, distributed computing applications assume a number of supporting services such as inter-process communication, name services, temporary storage allocation, exception handling, security, backup and directory services. Much excellent work has already been done in the area of open system environment reference models. Examples of such services include:

Operating system services provide the core services needed to operate and administer the application platform, and provide an interface between application software and the platform. These services include the following:

– Kernel operations provide low-level services necessary to create and manage processes, execute programs, define and communicate signals, define and process system clock operations, manage files and directories, and control input-output processing to and from the external environment.

– Commands and utilities include mechanisms for operations at the operator level, such as comparing, printing, and displaying file contents; editing files; pattern searching; evaluating expressions; logging messages; moving files between directories; sorting data; executing command scripts; and accessing environment information.

– Real-time extension includes the application and operating system interfaces needed to support those application domains requiring deterministic execution, processing, and responsiveness. The extension defines the applications interface to basic system services for input/output, file system access, and process management.

– System management includes capabilities to define and manage user resource allocation and access (i.e., what resources are managed and the classes of access defined), configuration and performance management of devices, file systems, administrative processes (job accounting), queues, machine/platform profiles, authorization of resource usage, and system backup.

– Operating system security services specify the control of access to system data, functions, hardware, and software resources by users and user processes.

Network services provide the capabilities and mechanisms to support distributed applications requiring data access and applications interoperability in heterogeneous, networked environments. These services include the following:

– Data communication includes API and protocol specifications for reliable, transparent, end-to-end data transmission across communications networks.

– Transparent file access provides access to available files located anywhere in a heterogeneous network.

– Personal/micro computer support provides support for interoperability with systems based on other operating systems, particularly microcomputer operating systems, which may not be formally specified in a national or international standard.

– Remote Procedure Call services include specifications for extending the local procedure call to a distributed environment.

– Network security services include access, authentication, confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation controls and management of communications between senders and receivers of information in a network.

Security services provide capabilities and mechanisms to protect sensitive information and treatments in the information system. The appropriate level of protection is determined based upon the value of the information to the application end-users and the perception of threats to it. These services include the following:

– Identification/authentication service confirms the identities of requesters for use of information system resources. In addition, authentication can apply to providers of data. The authentication service may occur at the initiation of a session or during a session.

– Access control service prevents the unauthorized use of information system resources. This service also prevents the use of a resource in an unauthorized way. This service may be applied to various aspects of access to a resource (e.g., access to communications to the resource, the reading, writing, or deletion of an information/data resource, the execution of a processing resource) or to all accesses to a resource.

– Data integrity service ensures that data is not altered or destroyed in an unauthorized manner. This service applies to data in permanent data stores and to data in communications messages.

– Data confidentiality service ensures that data is not made available or disclosed to unauthorized individuals or computer processes. This service will be applied to devices that permit human interaction with the information system. In addition, this service will ensure that observation of usage patterns of communications resources will not be possible.

– Non-repudiation service ensures that entities engaging in an information exchange cannot deny being involved in it. This service may take one or both of two forms. First, the recipient of data is provided with proof of the origin of the data. This protects against any attempt by the sender to falsely deny sending the data or its contents. Second, the sender of data is provided with proof of delivery of data. This protects against any subsequent attempt by the recipient to falsely deny receiving the data or its contents.

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