Semantics in service-oriented architectures

Vrijkorte, A.B. (2006) Semantics in service-oriented architectures.

Abstract:In rapidly changing markets it is of primary importance for organizations to be able to cooperate in a flexible manner with diverse external partners. In such a joint venture it is readily required to integrate business processes and their associated IT support. Unfortunately, in practice it often turns out that integrating applications and processes is time consuming, error-prone and expensive. As a consequence the realized synergy advantages are limited. An important cause for this problem is that business-to-business (B2B) applicationintegration is a manual task. On one hand some improvement may be realized by using a more structured way of working. On the other hand it is attractive to investigate possibilities for enabling automatic integration of applications and processes. Proponents of the service-oriented architecture (SoA) forsee a future in which IT support is flexible. In this future IT functions are fulfilled by components that offer their services in a centralized directory. When an application needs a specific service, the available services in the registry are searched. The most appropriate service is found and the application can automatically make use of it. Web-service technology is generally presented as a means for realizing the service-oriented architecture. Well known web-service techniques for describing (WSDL) and finding (UDDI) services however have an important shortcoming. These techniques namely describe services on a superficial, syntactic, level. From the syntactic description of a service it is not possible to unambiguously deduce what will happen in the real world when the service is used. Description of the semantic aspect of service provisioning is required to live up to the SoA promise. Semantic web-servicemethods acknowledge this requirement and strive to enable architectures which are flexible and can be automatically composed. Currently however it is unknown which requirements should apply to methods for semantic web services and how these methods should be evaluated. This report discusses the aspects that play a role in service provisioning. An important result is the summarization of important concerns in service provisioning and the resulting requirements on semantic web service methods in chapter 6. Based on this framework we derive requirements that methods for semantic web services should meet. In chapter 9 two concrete methods are evaluated. In this chapter we show that the methods proposed in the scientific literature still have significant gaps in the offered functionality. Our conclusion is that at the current v time it is unlikely that organizations can build a service-oriented architecture in which components are fully automatically connected to each other. Organizations can however make first steps toward a more semantic description of their services. Our recommendation is that organizations develop a data model of their business domain. Organizations can then describe their services in terms of this standardized domain. Taking these steps will initially facilitate a more structured approach to business process integration and in the long term it should clear the path towards partial automatic composition of architectures. vi
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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