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Business and IT-Cloud Alignment using a Smart Socket

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CloudSocket (Business and IT-Cloud Alignment using a Smart Socket)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

1. Motivation:
Cloud-computing is seen as a chance for companies that enter this global IT marketplace and buy IT offerings on demand. Although it seems that the cloud is ready to invite enterprises into this radical improvement of IT usage, the reality is different when it comes to business and IT-Cloud alignment. There is a gap between the business and IT domains in terms of awareness, common understanding or expertise.

2. BPaaS Idea:
The targets of this project are SMEs facing a high entry barrier in the form of a gap between pragmatic, legally influenced and well-defined business processes and a gigantic Cloud market with numerous offerings that rarely consider the business episodes of an entrepreneur but rather focus on technical details. Business processes are a commodity when defining business activities in a human understandable way.
CloudSocket envisions the idea of “Business Process as a Service” (BPaaS), where domain-specific business processes are seen as know how platforms that are enriched with business and IT alignment know-how using business rules and semantics in order to provide a smart CloudSocket Brokerage platform.

3. CloudSocket Vision:
This project puts forth the idea of a “hybrid process” modelling framework applying well-known techniques for semantic, rule-based inference, meta modelling and knowledge management to bridge the gap between business needs and the use and exploitation of Cloud resources and services. The proposed framework implements a layered approach for managing the complexity of bridging the semantic distance from business process to workflow configuration of BPaaS in the Cloud.

4. CloudSocket Approach:
BPaaS focuses on the mapping between domain specific business processes and Cloud offerings and hence is not another configuration of a SaaS solution, but a holistic support of the whole business process management life cycle, consisting of the design, the allocation, the offering, the execution and the evaluation of a business process, running in a multi-cloud environment.

5. BPaaS Challenge
Beside the challenge to find common terms between the business and the IT-Cloud partners, the following main challenges apply:

• Business Process based Cloud Offering Requirement Definition
• BPaaS and Cross-layer cloud service orchestration
• Adaptive – BPaaS adaptation in a Multi-cloud Environment
• Cloud Service and Cloud Component Interoperability
• Business Process based Billing and SLAs
• Smart Service Management and cross-layer BPaaS Monitoring
BPaaS Research
The BPaaS Research on smart, adaptive, cross-level and multi-cloud enabled resource allocation had been finalised, and implemented in the form of research prototypes. Cross-cloud and cross-layer BPaaS monitoring and adaptation frameworks have been realised by supporting the harvesting and semantic linking of information from different sources. Dashboards for monitoring have been realised.

BPaaS Implementation
The CloudSocket is a BPaaS management platform supporting the whole BPaaS lifecycle and comprising corresponding lifecycle-specific environments: (a) Design-, (b) Allocation-, (c) Marketplace and Execution- as well as (d) Evaluation-Environments. Final set of prototypes has been developed by improving the first prototype and by introducing research findings into the tools.
The tool are available at the Website.

BPaaS Demonstration
Executable workflows – Sending Invoices and Multi-Channel Social Medial Campaign – have been improved. Additional – partly semi-automatic workflows and a set of services – have been added. The setup of the CloudSocket was demonstrated at the Broker site. Initial feedback was collected.

CloudSocket Evaluation
Evaluation had been performed at the use case site, by demonstrating CloudSocket and collecting feedback from external stakeholders. A research evaluation on the overall approach and lessons learned had been performed. Cost and benefit analysis had been calculated to assess the business potential from a Broker point of view.

Dissemination follows the project's dissemination roadmap. Research publications have been reached and focus has been put in social media and webinars. More end user-oriented publications had been performed using magazines, journals and online demonstrations. Cooperation and exploitation of results is ongoing. The Innovation Shop is published at the Website

Exploitation and Training focused on inviting business guests to the partner meetings, finallising the joint exploitation in conjunction with an Exploitation Booster event. A Training Platform is published at the Website. The contribution to open platforms and communities ensure sustainability of the results.
The BPaaS approach has been elaborated in the form of: (1) BPaaS Design Environment, (2) BPaaS Allocation Environment, (3) BPaaS Marketplace, (4) BPaaS Execution Environment as well as (5) BPaaS Evaluation Environment. Prototypes as well as reference material for business processes, abstract workflows, allocation bundles and executable workflows are available at the project Website.

Progress Beyond State of the Art:

(a) Business Process Requirement Definition have been used to describe cloud offerings.

(b) Domain specific Cloud Offering Definition using a semantically enriched cloud offering repository:
A BPaaS modelling language has been developed by extending BPMN with a cloud-specific requirement description.
The potential impact is that domain experts need less technical know-how to specify their IT-cloud offerings.

(c) BPaaS orchestration:
BPaaS Design-, Allocation-, Marketplace and Execution-, as well as Evaluation Environment have been integrated to support the whole BPaaS lifecycle including design, orchestration and monitoring. The potential impact is that business processes can be orchestrated within the cloud.

(d) Adaptive Allocation and Orchestration in a Multi-cloud Environment:
Decision Modelling using DMN has been merged with cloud-deployment configuration using CAMEL. Corresponding extensions have been realised. The potential impact is that brokerage gets better manageable as the cloud environment reacts on business rules formulated by domain experts. Support for cross-layer service selection has also been worked out which regards service selection.

(e) Cloud Service and Cloud Component Interoperability:
The orchestration of multi-cloud deployments on the IaaS level has been extended to also cover the PaaS level in a cloud independent way. The potential impact is an easier handling of multi-cloud solutions as well as the coverage of additional cloud orchestration scenarios.

(g) Business Process based Billing and SLAs:
A cross-layer monitoring framework has been worked out enabling that cloud offerings – especially if they are combined as business processes – can be better monitored. A process based billing is hence possible.

(g) Smart BPaaS Management and Monitoring:
To support BPaaS management, the cross-layer cloud monitoring must be abstracted back to high level decision makers. An evaluation ontology has been developed to capture and semantic lift different information sources. Conceptual Analytics enabling the evaluation of KPIs and enalbes deailed improvement of the BPaaS.
CloudSocket Vision
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CloudSocket Approach identifying Cloud challenges