This Service Set defines Services used to discover the Endpoints implemented by a Server and to read the security configuration for those Endpoints. The Discovery Services are implemented by individual Servers and by dedicated Discovery Servers. OPC 10000-12 describes how to use the Discovery Services with dedicated Discovery Servers.

Every Server shall have a DiscoveryEndpoint that Clients can access without establishing a Session. This Endpoint may or may not be the same Session Endpoint that Clients use to establish a SecureChannel. Clients read the security information necessary to establish a SecureChannel by calling the GetEndpoints Service on the DiscoveryEndpoint.

In addition, Servers may register themselves with a well-known Discovery Server using the RegisterServer Service. Clients can later discover any registered Servers by calling the FindServers Service on the Discovery Server.

The discovery process using FindServers is illustrated in Figure 9. The establishment of a SecureChannel (with MessageSecurityMode NONE) for FindServers and GetEndpoints is omitted from the figure for clarity.


Figure 9 – Discovery process

The URL for a DiscoveryEndpoint shall provide all of the information that the Client needs to connect to the DiscoveryEndpoint.

Once a Client retrieves the Endpoints, the Client can save this information and use it to connect directly to the Server again without going through the discovery process. If the Client finds that it cannot connect then the Server configuration may have changed and the Client needs to go through the discovery process again.

DiscoveryEndpoints shall not require any message security, but it may require transport layer security. In production systems, Administrators may disable discovery for security reasons and Clients shall rely on cached EndpointDescriptions. To provide support for systems with disabled Discovery Services Clients shall allow Administrators to manually update the EndpointDescriptions used to connect to a Server. Servers shall allow Administrators to disable the DiscoveryEndpoint.

A Client shall be careful when using the information returned from a DiscoveryEndpoint since it has no security. A Client does this by comparing the information returned from the DiscoveryEndpoint to the information returned in the CreateSession response. A Client shall verify that:

  1. The ApplicationUri specified in the Server Certificate is the same as the ApplicationUri provided in the EndpointDescription.
  2. The Server Certificate returned in CreateSession response is the same as the Certificate used to create the SecureChannel.
  3. The EndpointDescriptions returned from the DiscoveryEndpoint are the same as the EndpointDescriptions returned in the CreateSession response.

If the Client detects that one of the above requirements is not fulfilled, then the Client shall close the SecureChannel and report an error.

A Client shall verify the HostName specified in the Server Certificate is the same as the HostName contained in the endpointUrl provided in the EndpointDescription returned by CreateSession. If there is a difference then the Client shall report the difference and may close the SecureChannel. Servers shall add all possible HostNames like MyHost and MyHost.local into the Server Certificate. This includes IP addresses of the host or the HostName exposed by a NAT router used to connect to the Server.