Last updated on 10 September 2017
In computing, object identifiers or OIDs are an identifier mechanism standardized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and ISO/IEC for naming any object, concept, or "thing" with a globally unambiguous persistent name.
Syntax and lexicon
An OID corresponds to a node in the "OID tree" or hierarchy, which is formally defined using the ITU's OID standard, X.660. The root of the tree contains the following three arcs:
Each node in the tree is represented by a series of integers separated by periods, corresponding to the path from the root through the series of ancestor nodes, to the node. Thus, an OID denoting Intel Corporation appears as follows,
and corresponds to the following path through the OID tree:
- 1 ISO
- 1.3 identified-organization,
- 1.3.6 dod,
- 188.8.131.52 internet,
- 184.108.40.206.4 private,
- 220.127.116.11.4.1 IANA enterprise numbers,
- 18.104.22.168.4.1.343 Intel Corporation
A textual representation of the OID paths is also commonly seen; for example,
Each node in the tree is controlled by an assigning authority, which may define child nodes under the node and delegate assigning authority for the child nodes. Continuing with the example, the node numbers under root node "1" are assigned by ISO; the nodes under "1.3.6" are assigned by the US Department of Defense; the nodes under "22.214.171.124.4.1" are assigned by IANA; the nodes under "126.96.36.199.4.1.343" are assigned by Intel Corporation, and so forth.
- In computer security, OIDs serve to name almost every object type in X.509 certificates, such as components of Distinguished Names, CPSs, etc.
- Within X.500 and LDAP schemas and protocols, OIDs uniquely name each attribute type and object class, and other elements of schema.
- In Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), each node in a Management Information Base (MIB) is identified by an OID.
- IANA assigns Private Enterprise Numbers (PEN) to companies and other organizations under the 188.8.131.52.4.1 node. OIDs down-tree from these are among the most commonly seen; for example, within SNMP MIBs, as LDAP attributes, and as vendor suboptions in the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
- In the United States, Health Level Seven (HL7), a standards-developing organization in the area of electronic health care data exchange, is the assigning authority at the 2.16.840.1.113883 (joint-iso-itu-t.country.us.organization.hl7) node. HL7 maintains its own OID registry, and as of January 1, 2008 it contained almost 3,000 nodes, most of them under the HL7 root.
- DICOM uses OIDs.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses OIDs to manage the many complex values sets or "vocabularies" used in the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) Vocabulary Access and Distribution System (VADS).
- In Microsoft's COM and DCOM, OBJREFs have an object identifier (OID) field.
This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.
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