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End-to-end predictability of remote operations is essential for many fixed-priority distributed real-time and embedded (DRE) applications, such as command and control systems, manufacturing process control systems, large-scale distributed interactive simulations, and testbeam data acquisition systems. To enhance predictability, the Real-time CORBA specification defines standard middleware features that allow applications to allocate, schedule, and control key CPU, memory, and networking resources necessary to ensure end-to-end quality of service support. This paper provides two contributions to the study of Real-time CORBA middleware for DRE applications. First, we identify potential problems with ensuring predictable behavior in conventional middleware by examining the end-to-end critical code path of a remote invocation and identifying sources of unbounded priority inversions. Experimental results then illustrate how the problems we identify can yield unpredictable behavior in conventional middleware platforms. Second, we present design techniques for ensuring real-time quality of service in middleware. We show how middleware can be redesigned to use nonmultiplexed resources to eliminate sources of unbounded priority inversion. The empirical results in this paper are conducted using TAO, which is widely used and open-source DRE middleware compliant with the Real-time CORBA specification.