A semantic Framework for Resource-aware Business Process development in the Cloud


Description: Our approach allows to enhance the resource perspective within business processes in the Cloud context aiming for formalizing the consumed cloud resources using a shared knowledge base. It leads to a better resource management in business processes as well as taking advantages from the benefits of Cloud resources such economies of scale, faster provisioning times, decreased runtime costs, and reduced energy consumption.
Basically, our proposed semantic framework enables:

  1. Resource description in a formal and unique way
  2. Resource allocation management
  3. Resource constraints verification

Indeed, this framework takes into account consumed cloud resources as well as their dependencies,and includes techniques for a correct and optimal allocation. Concretely, we extend BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) as a modeling language. To do so, we developed an xsd document where we proposed an extension to the BPMN:Resource element, which is referred to "ResourceExtension". The "ResourceExtension" have two sub-classes which are "HumanResource" and "ComputingResource". The "ComputingResource" can be a "Storage" type, or a "Compute" or a "Network" type. Each "ResourceExtension" is bound to "ResourcePrivileges" and "Actions". "ResourcePrivileges" depicts the resource state (allocated or not). "Actions" represents workitems allowed to the concerned resource e.g. "execute","duplicate", etc. Then, the xsd extension will be imported to the BPMN process model through, for instance, this simple code snippet. Then, we formalize this extension by developing a cloud resource ontology referred to as CloudPrO. It aims for describing formally the resources and their dependencies (relationships) in a business process. These informations stored in a shared knowledge base can be then exploited using automatic reasoning in order to optimize the resource management.
In addition, mechanisms for resource allocation verification are implemented via formal constraints. So we complete the ontology description with the definition of resource constraints through rules, over a set of verification properties.
Furthermore, we extend the Signavio process editor, an open source web-based application and a powerful tool for mastering process management supporting the adherence to BPMN 2.0 standard, with a semantic layer implementing our semantic framework and conduct a real use case study from France Telecom/Orange Labs. The plugin takes as input a selected activity from an extended BPMN process with the aim to attach a resource that it consumes. Then, a mapping with the CloudPrO ontology is realized and a business process model annotated with the set of consumed resources is generated as output.

How To Use:
  1. The Signavio Process tool allows to design a business process model with support of BPMN 2.0 standard.

  2. The user selects the appropriate activity to which he needs to attach necessary resources to consume by simply clicking on this task. Through the use of the CloudPrO button in the south panel, the user have the possibility to access to the CloudPrO ontology


  3. Once the button activated, the same panel shows all the available resource instances in the CloudPrO ontology in order to enable the user to select the suited instance to link which meet requirements.


  4. Finally, an extended business process model is constructed and annotated with required cloud and human resources. Consequently, dependencies between activities and resources become more clear and explicit for the user.