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Seamlessly Updating a Business Process in a Workflow Engine

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130735D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Nov-03
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-03
Document File: 3 page(s) / 65K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article discusses a mechanism incorporated in WebSphere Business Integration 4.3.0 that allows seamless update of a business process definition with a new business logic, while the workflow engine is functioning normally. The workflow engine performs execution of business logic on the workflow on the business data. The seamless update that is discussed in this article deals only with change in business logic and not the case where there is a change in the way business logic subscribes to business data.

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Seamlessly Updating a Business Process in a Workflow Engine

In today's world, a company has to respond dynamically to changing business needs. A solution designed with WebSphere Business Integration 4.3.0 allows seamless update of a business process definition ( Collaboration Template). The business logic contained in the business process/workflow that are automated needs to be updated seamlessly and with minimal or no downtime. The quick solution that is followed is to restart the business process components and adapters, and during the restart, the workflow components analyze the environment, and accordingly, the new business processes takes affect.

The problem with restarting the business process or workflow is an obvious down-time. Also, when the business process boots up, it may recover the events that entered the system during downtime. This may lead to an additional overhead of recovery time after which the business process actually becomes live. The other issue is manual intervention. The user has to shutdown the business process, restart, and ensure that the system is back to normal and functioning properly as it was before. The user has to use his own 'smarts' to ensure that the system is functioning appropriately after the change. There should be way to automatically incorporate the change in business process as quickly as possible without any manual intervention, which will solve the problems mentioned above.

The mechanism discussed in this disclosure provides a solution by adding a 'layer of intelligence' to analyze the change in the business process and take appropriate actions to 'ripple' this change both across the appropriate application adapters and the engine, thus eliminating downtime of the business process, and seamlessly update the business process quickly without manual intervention .

A business process is modeled in WebSphere Business Integration (WBI) using a Collaboration Template. A Collaboration Template defines the workflow for the business logic execution. A Collaboration Object on the other hand, is a component, and is an instance of the Collaboration Template. Collaboration Objects process business data (events) and execute the business logic, orchestrating with the application adapters that communicate to external applications outside the WBI System.

When the business logic in the Collaboration Template is changed and deployed (updated) in the WBI Server, an analysis of the change is made for every collaboration that is executing based on the Collaboration Template. If the Collaboration Template change is only in the business l...