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As the open systems movement has matured, standards have become available for almost every aspect of the computing environment-hardware, operating system, communications protocols, databases and so on. However, the advent of distributed computing has created even more complex standards requirements. Today's users need a cohesive framework that will define how the pieces of their heterogeneous networks will fit together into a single entity. Additionally, they need a single architecture that will encompass the many different technologies available for any single element of the network.
Two standards organizations recently introduced solutions to these problems almost simultaneously. The Open Software Foundation (OSF) introduced its Distributed Computing Environment (DCE), and shortly thereafter UNIX International (UI) followed with its UI-Atlas architecture. Many industry participants felt that the two architectures represented competing solutions, providing yet more confusion for users. This may be true on some levels; however, representatives of UI and OSF claim that the two architectures are not analogous to one another. In fact, UI has announced that it will support DCE within its Atlas framework, which it holds has a different and broader scope than DCE.
Raison d'Atlas. According to Director of Marketing Dave Sandel, there were many factors behind UI's decision to create the Atlas framework. Companies today don't just have UNIX; they have a lot of system software that lies on top of UNIX-networking software, transaction processing software, database software, system management software. The question is, what kind of architecture needs to exist so that you can plug in all this technology and develop open systems in a consistent manner?"
Atlas was designed to give users a choice-a major aim of open systems. It does this by …