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Method and Apparatus for Application Level Management of Business Processes Composed of Web Services Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016261D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Aug-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21

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  Method and Apparatus for Application Level Management of Business Processes Composed of Web Services


Web services allow companies to offer business functionality to other companies over the Internet. There is a growing trend to implement electronic business applications by composition of Web services offered by third parties. A provider of such a composed service has only limited direct control over the overall service, because large parts of its functionality are provided by external business partners. Consequently, business partners define service level agreements that describe what functionality is required and provided by Web services. These service level agreements are defined in terms of the application domain, not on the level of the technical infrastructure. The problem now is to ensure that the technical implementation is compliant with the application level agreements. System behavior can only be monitored on the technical level; system control is desired on the application level. We propose a framework that allows for application level management of composed Web services and thereby closes the gap between low-level technical events and their application level interpretation.

The goal of application level management is to allow a service provider or a service requestor to supervise, understand and control the behavior of coupled services in terms of the business domain. We propose an approach where service partners (requestors and providers) define high-level service level agreements among each other, and we define an infrastructure that provides the technical means to supervise the service's compliance to those agreements and that allows for automatic adaptation of the service in case of misbehavior.

1.0 Field of the Invention

Application level management of systems that are composed of individual Web services is an important task for electronic business applications. Even though application level management is crucial for reliable service provision, up to now no reliable techniques have been proposed to achieve this.

Providers of business processes are specialists in an application domain. They want to concentrate on their business expertise, not on low-level technical problems that arise when they offer their services electronically to third parties. To be successful, they must be able to maintain and control their services on the business level. They need a management infrastructure, which closes the gap between the application domain and the technical details of a given implementation.

In a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), applications are built by composition of existing services. This approach is crucial for the implementation of Electronic Business applications, especially for hosted solutions as: (1) these applications are highly distributed in nature; (2) there are a number of different service providers involved; (3) they offer specialized services that may process some subtasks of larger applicat...