A component server architecture is provided that enables consumer nodes of a computer network to interact with heterogeneous software components and services distributed throughout the network, as well as network devices and data. Distributed interaction between a consumer and heterogeneous software is achieved, in part, by registering and locating the components and services (hereafter referred to collectively as components). An object-neutral global component registry with access controls of the architecture interoperates with a component management service (CMS) to transparently ensure proper administration, authentication and run-time binding access to components offered in response to requests from applications executing on the consumer nodes. The architecture is implemented on a component server node of the network that is configured to communicate with the consumer, i.e., client, nodes in client-server computing arrangements. That is, the component registry of the component server node responds to a consumer application request by locating a heterogeneous component for the consumer. The registry offers this component to the consumer by providing an appropriate interface between the object model of the consumer and the object model of the software component. This registry is preferably organized as a plurality of cooperating storage entities including a description repository, an offer repository, an interface adapter repository and an object factory repository.