We develop a framework that provides a semantic description of cloud resources and strategies to resolve conflicts in business process development. This framework aims at ensuring a correct and controlled use of resource allocation with a free-of-conflict. To this end, the framework supplies a common understanding which corresponds to a semantic and unified description of cloud resources, policies to assign cloud resources to business processes based on this description, and a set of social relations connecting business processes components namely task, person, machine, and resource. A general explanation of this framework is given through an exploratory paper.
Basically, Our contributions include:
Cloud Resource Description:
The cloud offers three main types of resources at the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model which can be spread into virtual machines (VMs). They consist of compute, storage, and network resources.
The Compute resource are a collection of Physical Machines (PMs) where each contains one or more processors, memory, network interface and local I/O (e.g., virtual machines). They represent information processing resources.
The Storage resources depict persistent storage services where each service have varying levels of data consistency and reliability.
The network resources serve to interconnect physical machines with a high bandwidth network.
Our framework for conflict resolution of resources considers (i) the structured nature of the business world in terms of business processes and (ii) the unstructured nature of the social world in terms of messages shared like tweets, spontaneous relations established between users, etc. Our framework taps into the social data that could help deploy business processes over the cloud. By social data we mean social relations that exist between tasks, between resources, between cloud providers, between users, and between all of them. For instance, knowing that a cloud provider can support a peer as part of some strategic alliances can help address users' last-minute requests.
We take into consideration the networks that are built upon the three components of a business process namely social network of persons, support network of machines, and configuration network of tasks. These networks are used to establish the coupling level between tasks, the partnership levels between machines, etc. In addition to these networks we capitalize on CloudPrO in our previous work which provide semantic and formal definitions for cloud resources in business processes.
Actually, there is a common consensus on the role that social technologies could play in improving business process management. However despite research efforts to incorporate social tools into processes, the contributions remained not tangible especially for cloud-based business processes. In this work we discuss a specific challenge, which is the lack of standardization to describe resources used by business processes deployed on the cloud. Building upon our previous work on social business processes we develop a framework We aim to ensure a free-of-conflict resource allocation during the process development.
As illustrated in Fig. 1 we express SoSeC-BPO in RDF/RDFS so that we manage it as a knowledge base upon which SPARQL queries are run in order to define conflict resolution strategies. The knowledge base is continuously updated whenever a business process is re-engineered or resources are re-assigned.
To this end, we develop a Social Semantic for Cloud-based Business Processes Ontology (SoSeC-BPO) that supports free-of-conflict resource allocation. This ontology enables to standardize the social relations between a business process components.
Resource Conflict Resolution:
In the case of resource or task constraint violation, conflicts hampering business process completion can occur. To address these conflicts, our framework suggests strategies defined as semantic rules. According to our ontology, a conflict can be defined for a set of resources and handled by a strategy (Conflict Strategy) that consists of actions. Thus, we specify semantic rules following (E)vent-(C)ondition-(A)ction structure (On Event If Conditions Do Actions). In our work, events represent conflicts and conditions denote constraints. Actions suggests the strategies which are a set of solutions to take for resolving the conflict in question. These actions may include the elasticity feature of cloud by increasing resources capacities, or make additional resources or tasks. Many solutions can exist for the same conflict. To formally describe our ECA-based conflict resolution strategies, we use Semantic Web Rule Language (SWRL) in conjunction with Web Ontology Language (OWL) and Rule Markup Language (RuleML). We present in Table 1 the SWRL descriptions referring to our rules in accordance to the running example.
We describe herein all strategies in detail:
Proof of concept: To validate our framework, we extend the Signavio process editor, which is an open source web-based application and a powerful tool for mastering process management, 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 a BPMN process with the aim to attach a resource that it consumes. Then, a mapping with the SoSeC-BPO ontology is realized and a business process model annotated with the set of consumed resources is generated as output. Resources are described with attributes, properties and if exist its relations with another resources.
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