MDB – A Distributed Database System to Support Cooperative Product Development 2001-01-3434
Today, co-operative distributed teams characterize typical product development environments in industry. But such processes depend to a high degree on the availability of high performing information systems, that enable and support co-operation in distributed teams. In general, the architecture of such systems has to reflect the characteristics of the co-operative business processes to be supported. Although the necessary technologies, like database systems and computer networks are commercially available, the development and entrepreneurial use of distributed systems in engineering is still object of many research projects.
The MDB1 developed at Fraunhofer IAO is a prototype of a distributed information system. The system specifically manages material related content. It is currently used as global reference source for material knowledge in a global operating company producing gas turbines. The MDB uses a client/server architecture, but other than usual client/server solutions with a central server, the MDB is based on a distributed database system. Using a DDBMS2 offers some advantages over traditional centralized client/server solutions or intranet systems.
This article describes some results and experiences made in the development of distributed information systems. Although the specific project referred to deals specifically with a material information system, the results are in general transferable to other areas of distributed information management in product development.