What is a Distributed Component Object Model?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Over the last several decades, computer scientists have worked on improving overall computer performance by using distributed component technology. The distributed component object model (DCOM) was created by Microsoft® to enable the distribution of Microsoft® software components across multiple computer servers. This technology enables servers to be clustered in a company, which creates large company-wide scalability.

Distributed component object model was first introduced with Windows® NT operating system in the late 1990s. This technology was a progressive addition to the standard common object model (COM) framework that is used in most Microsoft® software applications. While the COM framework provided a method to access multiple applications from one machine, it did not work with external machines on a company network.

Sharing components and software services are standard practices today on the Internet. Some examples are seen on trip reservation sites that connect to hotels, airlines, and car rental agencies. This technology makes it possible for computers to share software applications across multiple networks. The distributed component object model is the technology that makes many Microsoft® applications work across a network.

There are many competing technologies that are similar to Microsoft's® distributed component object model. These technologies include COM, COM+ and web services. DCOM is primarily used by organizations that use Microsoft® products.


One of the drawbacks to using the distributed component object model is the need to use the entire Microsoft® collection of products to support these components. This includes the Windows® operating system, web servers, and database layer. DCOM is a proprietary to Microsoft® and requires underlying Microsoft® technology to function properly.

DCOM is considered an inter-process communication layer technology. It allows a computer to access another application on a separate computer on the network. This enables applications to be shared across multiple servers.

Most corporations have evolved from using DCOM and COM technologies into more progressive web service software. This type of software is more flexible than standard DCOM because it can run one multiple software configurations and hardware platforms. This is essential for software on the Internet because external clients are typically more generic.


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