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Advanced Restart Processing in Workflow Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013047D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-12
Document File: 2 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Frank Leymann: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

1 Introduction Workflow management systems support the definition and execution of business processes. Those business processes are made up of a set of activities. Each activity is carried out by executing the associated activity implementation. Activity implementations may terminate abnormally. If the activity implementation is carried out as a safe application, as described in (1), all changes are undone and the activity implementation is restarted. If the activity implementation is not carried out as a safe application, the actions taken by the workflow management system depend on which mechanism has been used to invoke the activity implementation. If the workflow management system recognizes the abnormal termination and puts the activity into inError state with an appropriate indicator. If the workflow management system can not recognize an abnormal termination, the activity stays in the running state. If a time-out value has been provided, the workflow management system puts the activity into an inError state, when the specified value has been exceeded. 2 Problem Statement

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Advanced Restart Processing in Workflow Systems

1 Introduction

Workflow management systems support the definition and execution of business
processes. Those business processes are made up of a set of activities. Each
activity is carried out by executing the associated activity implementation.

       Activity implementations may terminate abnormally. If the activity
implementation is carried out as a safe application, as described in (1), all
changes are undone and the activity implementation is restarted. If the
activity implementation is not carried out as a safe application, the actions
taken by the workflow management system depend on which mechanism has been
used to invoke the activity implementation. If the workflow management system
recognizes the abnormal termination and puts the activity into inError state
with an appropriate indicator. If the workflow management system can not
recognize an abnormal termination, the activity stays in the running state.
If a time-out value has been provided, the workflow management system puts the
activity into an inError state, when the specified value has been exceeded.

2 Problem Statement

If the workflow management system itself terminates abnormally (or even the
operating system), the workflow management is brought up again and continues
operation. All activity implementations that are carried out as transactions
are undone automatically by the transaction manager. They are restarted
automatically. Activity implementations that are not carried out as
transactions are processed as usual. If, for example, the activity is in the
running state and no time-out value is specified, the activity continues to
stay in the running state. If a time-out value is specified, the activity
eventually reaches the inError state.

     This situation is not completely satisfactory for at least the
following reasons, which are just given as examples:

There is no need to wait for the expiration of time-out values specified
for activities to take appropriate corrective actions.

If no time-out value is specified...