A Service-Based Architecture for Dynamically Reconfigurable Workflows

TitleA Service-Based Architecture for Dynamically Reconfigurable Workflows
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsCicirelli, F, Furfaro, A, Nigro, L
JournalThe Journal of Systems and Software

In the last few years, business process management systems have been employed for handling information systems of ever increasing complexity. As a consequence, the adoption of modelling languages enabling smooth and seamless transitions among the various phases of the process lifecycle, the ability of exploiting coordination schema over distributed execution contexts and the support for dynamic evolution and reconfiguration have become software engineering issues of great importance. This paper proposes the use of PN-Engine, a decentralized Petri nets execution engine, as a business process enactment engine. PN-Engine, which is based on the Jini service architecture, supports the decentralized execution of process models specified as Petri nets (PNs) enhanced with modular constructs and offers suitable mechanisms for dealing with the aforementioned design issues. PN-Engine allows to deploy and enact a new version of an existing process model without requiring the stopping/removal of older instances that are still running. The paper presents a novel approach enabling a decentralized migration procedure where concurrent portions of older instances migrate asynchronously to the new process model. Advantages of the proposed approach are demonstrated by means of an example concerning a workflow for a wine-production process.