Protocol Subsystem Support for Efficient and Flexible Communication Services
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Today's applications are becoming increasingly diverse in their communications service requirements and are increasingly driving the development and adoption of new protocols to accommodate them. Unfortunately, deploying new protocols is a difficult and expensive process. One reason is the high cost of developing, testing, and installing protocol implementations. To reduce this difficulty, protocols are developed and executed within environments called protocol subsystems and protocol software is often ported instead of being coded from scratch. Unfortunately, differences among today's protocol subsystems often reduce the portability and re-usability of protocol code and, therefore, present barriers to the deployment of new protocols. In addition, current subsystems and protocol architectures lack sufficient flexibility and extensibility to support the dynamic addition and adoption of new protocols necessary to accommodate the burgeoning growth of Web-based applications. This work considers approaches for providing protocol subsystem support for flexible and efficient communication services. It first assesses the effects that protocol subsystems have on protocol portability and performance. It then focuses on making existing protocol subsystems more flexible by proposing two different approaches, each optimized for a different situation, that allow protocol code implemented in one subsystem to be used without modification within other subsystems, and thus, reduce the barriers to protocol deployment. This work then examines the use of Java as an implementation and execution environment for protocols and protocol subsystems. Lastly, this work identifies why current environments limit the degree of flexibility and extensibility available to protocol programmers and presents a new protocol subsystem optimized for flexibility, extensibility, and configurability based on the provision of communication services by protocol-function composition.