- Lehrstuhl für Praktische Informatik (23)
Detecting Interoperability and Correctness Issues in BPMN 2.0 Process Models
- Although BPMN 2.0 is an international standard widely used in practice, interoperability of process models is still an issue. Even between tools and engines claiming to be BPMN compliant the model exchange is often complicated or impossible as the tools produce incorrect model representations or do not support the standardized BPMN serialization format. In this position paper we present reasons for interoperability issues and show why defining a set of constraints derived from the standard is crucial to fix an important subset of those issues. We are currently developing a tool which can check this set of rules automatically.
The CHORCH Approach: How to Model B2Bi Choreographies for Orchestration Execution
- The establishment and implementation of cross-organizational business processes is an implication of today's market pressure for efficiency gains.
In this context, Business-To-Business integration (B2Bi) focuses on the information integration aspects of business processes.
A core task of B2Bi is providing adequate models that capture the message exchanges between integration partners.
Following the terminology used in the SOA domain, such models will be called choreographies in the context of this work.
Despite the enormous economic importance of B2Bi, existing choreography languages fall short of fulfilling all relevant
requirements of B2Bi scenarios.
Dedicated B2Bi choreography standards allow for inconsistent outcomes of basic interactions and
do not provide unambiguous semantics for advanced interaction models.
In contrast to this, more formal or technical choreography languages may provide unambiguous modeling semantics,
but do not offer B2Bi domain concepts or an adequate level of abstraction.
Defining valid and complete B2Bi choreography models becomes a challenging task in the face of these shortcomings.
At the same time, invalid or underspecified choreography definitions are particularly costly considering the organizational
setting of B2Bi scenarios.
Models are not only needed to bridge the typical gap between business and IT,
but also as negotiation means among the business users of the integration partners on the one hand
and among the IT experts of the integration partners on the other.
Misunderstandings between any two negotiation partners potentially affect the agreements between all other negotiation partners.
The CHORCH approach offers tailored support for B2Bi by combining the strengths of both dedicated B2Bi standards and formal rigor.
As choreography specification format, the ebXML Business Process Specification Schema (ebBP) standard is used.
ebBP provides dedicated B2Bi domain concepts such as so-called BusinessTransactions (BTs) that abstractly specify the exchange of a request business document
and an optional response business document.
In addition, ebBP provides a format for specifying the sequence of BT executions for capturing complex interaction scenarios.
CHORCH improves the offering of ebBP in several ways.
Firstly, the execution model of BTs which allows for inconsistent outcomes among the integration partners
is redefined such that only consistent outcomes are possible.
Secondly, two binary choreography styles are defined as B2Bi implementation contract format in order to streamline implementation projects.
Both choreography styles are formalized and provided with a formal execution semantics for ensuring unambiguity.
In addition, validity criteria are defined that ensure implementability using BPEL-based orchestrations.
Thirdly, the analysis of the synchronization dependencies of complex B2Bi scenarios is supported
by means of a multi-party choreography style combined with an analysis framework.
This choreography style also is formalized and standard state machine semantics are reused in order to ensure unambiguity.
Moreover, validity criteria are defined that allow for analyzing corresponding models for typical multi-party choreography issues.
Altogether, CHORCH provides choreography styles that are B2Bi adequate, simple, unambiguous, and implementable.
The choreography styles are B2Bi adequate in providing B2Bi domain concepts, in abstracting from low-level implementation details
and in covering the majority of real-world B2Bi scenarios.
Simplicity is fostered by using state machines as underlying specification paradigm.
This allows for thinking in the states of a B2Bi scenario and for simple control flow structures.
Unambiguity is provided by formal execution semantics whereas implementability (for the binary choreography styles) is ensured by providing
mapping rules to BPEL-based implementations.
The validation of CHORCH's choreography styles is performed in a twofold way.
Firstly, the implementation of the binary choreography styles based on Web Services and BPEL technology is demonstrated
which proves implementability using relatively low-cost technologies.
Moreover, the analysis algorithms for the multi-party choreography styles are validated using a Java-based prototype.
Secondly, an abstract visualization of the choreography styles based on BPMN is provided that abstracts from
the technicalities of the ebBP standard.
This proves the amenability of CHORCH to development methods that start out with visual models.
CHORCH defines how to use BPMN choreographies for the purpose of B2Bi choreography modeling
and translates the formal rules for choreography validity into simple composition rules that
demonstrate valid ways of connecting the respective modeling constructs.
In summary, CHORCH allows integration partners to start out with a high-level visual model of their interactions in BPMN
that identifies the types and sequences of the BusinessTransactions to be used.
For multi-party choreographies, a framework for analyzing synchronization dependencies then is available.
For binary choreographies, an ebBP refinement can be derived that fills in the technical parameters that are needed for deriving the implementation.
Finally, Web Services and BPEL based implementations can be generated.
Thus, CHORCH allows for stepwise closing the semantic gap between the information perspective of business process models
and the corresponding implementations.
It is noteworthy that CHORCH uses international standards throughout all relevant layers, i.e., BPMN, ebBP, Web Services and BPEL,
which helps in bridging the heterogeneous IT landscapes of B2Bi partners.
In addition, the adoption of core CHORCH deliverables as international standards of the RosettaNet community
give testament to the practical relevance and promise dissemination throughout the B2Bi community.
Betsy - A BPEL Engine Test System
- More than five years have passed since the final release of the long-desired OASIS standard of a process language for web service orchestration, the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (BPEL). The aim of this standard is to establish a universally accepted orchestration language that forms a core part of current service-oriented architectures and, because of standardisation, avoids vendor lock-in. High expectations, in academia and practice alike, have been set on it. By now, several fully conformant and highly scalable engines should have arrived in the market. The perception of many however, is that standard conformance in current engines is far from given. It is our aim to shed light on this situation. In this study, we present the tool betsy, a BPEL Engine Test System that allows for a fully-automatic assessment of the standard conformance of a given BPEL engine. We use it to examine the five most important open source BPEL engines available today. Betsy comes with a large set of engineindependent conformance test cases for assessing BPEL standard conformance. This enables us to give a view of the state of the art in BPEL support.
Building Orchestrations in B2Bi – The Case of BPEL 2.0 and BPMN 2.0
- Various approaches for service-oriented business-to-business integration (B2Bi) rely on a top-down development methodology. The starting point is a choreography model which is subsequently partitioned into multiple orchestrations. Most current approaches use the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) for implementing the latter. At the same time, a plethora of other languages, such as Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) 2.0 process diagrams, is available. As integration partners are free to select the orchestration language of their choice, it should be easy to integrate different orchestration languages with current choreography technology. Language transformation, starting from a suitable format, is a means to achieve this. In this paper, we assess BPEL 2.0 and BPMN 2.0 process diagrams for their suitability for this transformation in a services-based B2Bi setting using a requirements framework identified through a literature study.
Bridging the Heterogeneity of Orchestrations – A Petri Net–based Integration of BPEL and Windows Workflow
- Service orchestrations are a powerful tool for
implementing intra– and interorganizational business processes
that base on services. Several heterogeneous orchestration
languages can be found in contemporary IT landscapes. While
the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (BPEL)
is the de facto standard, others gain attention, including Windows
Workflow (WF) in the .NET segment. When integrating
orchestrations, incompatibilities between them can easily arise.
In this paper, we investigate an automated Petri net–based
integration between BPEL and WF to solve these issues with
behavioral adapter services. We provide a mapping of WF to
Open Workflow Nets (oWFNs) and implement it in a compiler.
Thereby, we integrate our approach with existing approaches
for BPEL and adapter synthesis and validate the integration
with a standards–based case study using the two languages.
A Service Description Method for Service Ecosystems - Meta Models, Modeling Notations, and Model Transformations
- Globalization and rapid technological change elevates the role of the Internet in terms of business service offering and procurement. At the same time, companies specialize on core competencies on the one hand, and on the other hand, integrate with other firms into “service ecosystems” in order to serve market needs in a flexible manner. One challenge in this setting is how to develop and describe novel business services within service ecosystems for efficient trade in services over the Internet. This work proposes a method for describing business services that integrates into business service development processes. The development of such a method leads to three major challenges: Firstly, it is necessary to determine which properties are appropriate for describing business services. This work analyzes existing approaches in the marketing, information systems, and computer science domain and develops a model for a formal description that facilitates offering and discovering of business services. Secondly, business service description elicitation, documentation, and communication must be provided for the whole business service development process. This work’s approach includes the development of an appropriate modeling notation as an extension of the Unified Modeling Notation (UML). Thirdly, there is a need for transforming business service descriptions into software realization languages that are suitable for the Internet. This contribution offers an automatic transformation of business service descriptions into Web Services Description Language (WSDL) documents using model-to-model transformation scripts. The method for describing business services was evaluated by implementing an integrated modeling environment along with related transformation scripts as well as by two case studies in the insurance and IT outsourcing industry.
A Pattern-based Analysis of WS-BPEL and Windows Workflow
- Orchestration languages are of paramount importance for building composite services in service-oriented architectures. Pattern-based analysis is a method that allows to determine the expressiveness of existing process languages and serves as a means of comparison between different languages. The aim of this study is the analysis and comparison of important languages for building Web Services-based orchestrations, as well as the improvement of the method of pattern-based analysis. The predominant orchestration language today is the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) 2.0. This language is a standard that has been implemented by several companies and projects, such as the OpenESB BPEL Service Engine. An additional language is Windows Workflow 4 that is shipped by Microsoft as part of the .NET framework. There are various aspects, represented by pattern catalogs, for which existing languages can be analyzed. This study suggests a methodology for ordering existing pattern catalogs according to their importance for a selected problem domain which is Business-to-Business Integration. It furthermore presents an extensive evaluation of the languages at hand and assesses the degree of support they provide for several of the most important pattern catalogs. These catalogs are the workflow control-flow patterns, the service interaction patterns, the change patterns and the time patterns.
A Process for Identifying Predictive Correlation Patterns in Service Management Systems
- By using the remote functions of a modern IT service management system infrastructure, it is possible to analyze huge amounts of logfile data from complex technical equipment. This enables a service provider to predict failures of connected equipment before they happen. The problem most providers face in this context is finding a needle in a haystack - the obtained amount of data turns out to be too large to be analyzed manually. This report describes a process to find suitable predictive patterns in log files for the detection of upcoming critical situations. The identification process may serve as a hands-on guide. It describes how to connect statistical means, data mining algorithms and expert domain knowledge in the domain of service management. The process was developed in a research project which is currently being carried out within the Siemens Healthcare service organization. The project deals with two main aspects: First, the identification of predictive patterns in existing service data and second, the architecture of an autonomous agent which is able to correlate such patterns. This paper summarizes the results of the first project challenge. The identification process was tested successfully in a proof of concept for several Siemens Healthcare products.
Proaktives Problem Management durch Eventkorrelation - ein Best Practice Ansatz
- Im Servicegeschäft werden Eventkorrelationssysteme verwendet, um bevorstehende Systemzustände vorherzusagen und damit Anlagenausfälle zu vermeiden. Aus strategischer Sicht kann dies zu höherer Anlagenverfügbarkeit und bessere Planbarkeit beitragen. Unternehmen, die von diesem Wettbewerbsvorteil profitieren wollen, begegnen dabei häufig zwei grundlegenden Problemen: die Komplexität im Service steigt mit der Anzahl der Korrelationen. Gleichzeitig geht die Kostentransparenz für den Gesamtprozess verloren. Die vorliegende Arbeit zeigt, warum diese beiden Probleme entstehen und wie sie weitgehend vermieden werden können.
Analyzing the Interoperability of WS-Security and WS-ReliableMessaging Implementations
- Since their invention as lightweight integration technology about a decade ago, Web Services have matured significantly. Today, major middleware solution vendors as well as industry communities like RosettaNet are propagating Web services even for exchanging business-critical data and implementing inter-organizational business processes. Core enablers for using Web services in this domain are stateful interactions using the Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) as well as advanced communication features like security and reliability using the WS-Security and WS-ReliableMessaging standard specifications. However, advanced communication features come at the price of complexity which challenges interoperability across different Web services stack implementations. Interoperability, in turn, is a predominant requirement for an integration technology such as Web services, in particular if inter-organizational business processes are supposed to be implemented on top of that technology. This paper approaches the problem of testing the interoperability of the so-called WS-* standards, advanced Web services communication features that are typically defined as SOAP extensions and configured using WS-Policy. Being essential to business process integration, WS-Security and WS-ReliableMessaging are selected as representatives of this group and the two major Java-based Web services stack implementations Metro and Axis2 are tested for interoperability. We operationalize the notion of interoperability for testing WS-* standards, suppose an approach for deriving test cases from WS-* specifications as well as a method for performing the test cases, and we provide a comprehensive interoperability review of the two selected Web services stack implementations.