The CORBA Activity Service Framework for Supporting Extended Transactions

  • Iain Houston
  • Mark C. Little
  • Ian Robinson
  • Santosh K. Shrivastava
  • Stuart M. Wheater
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2218)


Although it has long been realised that ACID transactions by themselves are not adequate for structuring long-lived applications and much research work has been done on developing specific extended transaction models, no middleware support for building extended transactions is currently available and the situation remains that a programmer often has to develop application specific mechanisms. The CORBA Activity Service Framework described in this paper is a way out of this situation. The design of the service is based on the insight that the various extended transaction models can be supported by providing a general purpose event signalling mechanism that can be programmed to enable activities — application specific units of computations — to coordinate each other in a manner prescribed by the model under consideration. The different extended transaction models can be mapped onto specific implementations of this framework permitting such transactions to span a network of systems connected indirectly by some distribution infrastructure. The framework described in this paper is an overview the OMG’s Additional Structuring Mechanisms for the OTS standard now reaching completion. Through a number of examples the paper shows that the Framework has the flexibility to support a wide variety of extended transaction models. Although the framework is presented here in CORBA specific terms, the main ideas are sufficiently general, so that it should be possible to use them in conjunction with other middleware.


Bulletin Board Activity Coordinator Transactional Activity Transaction Model Naming Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. [1]
    J. N. Gray, “The transaction concept: virtues and limitations”, Proceedings of the 7th VLDB Conference, September 1981, pp. 144–154.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    D. J. Taylor, “How big can an atomic action be?”, Proceedings of the 5th Symposium on Reliability in Distributed Software and Database Systems, Los Angeles, January 1986, pp. 121–124.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    OMG, CORBAservices: Common Object Services Specification, Updated July 1997, OMG document formal/97-07-04.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    C. T. Davies, “Data processing spheres of control”, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 17,No. 2, 1978, pp. 179–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    A. K. Elmagarmid (ed), “Transaction models for advanced database applications”, Morgan Kaufmann, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    H. Garcia-Molina and K. Salem, “Sagas”, Proceedings of the ACM SIGMOD International Conference on the Management of Data, 1987.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    S. K. Shrivastava and S. M. Wheater, “Implementing fault-tolerant distributed applications using objects and multi-coloured actions”, Proc. of 10th Intl. Conf. on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS-10, Paris, June 1990, pp. 203–210.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    G. Weikum, H. J. Schek, “Concepts and Applications of Multilevel Transactions and Open Nested Transactions”, in Database Transaction Models for Advanced Applications, ed. A.K. Elmagarmid, Morgan Kaufmann, 1992.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    G. Alonso, D. Agrawal, A. El Abbadi, M. Kamath, R. Gunthor and C. Mohan, “Advanced transaction models in workflow contexts”, Proc. of 12th Intl. Conf. on Data Engineering, New Orleans, March 1996.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    OMG, Additional Structuring Mechanisms for the OTS Specification, September 2000, document orbos/2000-06-19.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    OMG, Additional Structuring Mechanisms for the OTS, RFP, May 1999, OMG document orbos/99-05-17.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    M. C. Little, D. McCue and S. K. Shrivastava, “Maintaining information about persistent replicated objects in a distributed system”, Proc. of 13th Intl. Conf. on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS-13, Pittsburgh, May 1993, pp. 491–498.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    J. Xu, A. Romanovsky and B. Randell, “Concurrent exception handling and resolution in distributed object systems”, IEEE Trans. on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Vol. 11,No. 10, 2000.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    B. Bennett, B. Hahm, A. Leff, T. Mikalsen, K. Rasmus, J. Rayfield and I. Rouvellou, “A distributed object oriented framework to offer transactional support for long running business processes”, Middleware 2000, (J. Sventek and G. Coulson eds.), LNCS 1795, pp. 331–348, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    S. M. Wheater, S. K. Shrivastava and F. Ranno, “A CORBA Compliant Transactional Workflow System for Internet Applications”, Middleware 98, (N. Davies, K. Raymond, J. Seitz, eds.), Springer-Verlag, London, 1998, ISBN 1-85233-088-0, pp. 3–18.Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    C. Pu, G. Kaiser and N. Hutchinson, “Split-transactions for open-ended activities”, Proc. Of 14th Intl. Conf. On Very Large Data Bases, VLDB, Los Angeles, CA, September 1988.Google Scholar
  17. [17]

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iain Houston
    • 1
  • Mark C. Little
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ian Robinson
    • 1
  • Santosh K. Shrivastava
    • 3
  • Stuart M. Wheater
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.IBM Hursley LaboratoriesHursleyUK
  2. 2.HP-Arjuna LaboratoriesNewcastle-Upon-TyneUK
  3. 3.Department of Computing ScienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle-Upon-TyneUK

Personalised recommendations