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Pumacy Technologies AG Bartningallee 27 Berlin, Germany +49 30 2216128-0
Pumacy Technologies AG Bartningallee 27 Berlin, Germany +49 30 2216128-0
Pumacy Technologies AG Bartningallee 27 Berlin, Germany +49 30 2216128-0
Communication and sharing of knowledge are important challenges for virtual organizations (VO) in the globalized economy. There are various tools available to virtually reduce geographical distances and to support collaboration. Also for the management of knowledge appropriate solutions are available. But VOs typically have limited time to setup the entire ITinfrastructure for their collaboration. Therefore the trend to buy ready-to-use products exists. This paper characterizes requests of VOs for SaaS products, proposes functionalities to support team work and describes challenges with their solutions in the cloud.
Categories and Subject Descriptors
H.3.5 [Information Storage and Retrieval]: On-line Information Services – Commercial services, Data sharing, Web-based services C.2.4 [Distributed Systems]: Distributed applications – Cloud Computing
Today, various collaboration platforms are established for VOs , which provide file management typically. For knowledgeintensive works this is not enough. In VOs the members require more capabilities to collect, manage and provide knowledge for its reuse in the joint projects . Sharing of experiences in VOs is mostly done by direct communication without any KM system. Preferred solutions to exchange files are project servers. However, even here are some remaining challenges: Firstly, project servers have to be accessible by all project members via the Internet. In many companies security policies hinder operation of such services. Secondly, project servers require hardware and software investments, administration and support. Often these costs cannot be specified for each project partner. Thirdly, the whereabouts of data and the possible access by end of project must be regulated. Additionally, VOs have limited time to setup and to operate an adequate infrastructure. Therefore a ready-to-use solution of a specialized provider is required, which can be bought and used instantly. The announcements of the arising cloud computing providers sound promising. This paper proposes a solution for a collaborative KM platform based on the new cloud technologies.
2. SUPPORTING FUNCTIONALITIES
Collaborative KM software has to meet several challenges to support VOs . At first, communication between project members has to be facilitated to overcome geographical and cultural distances. After that, simplified and effective sharing of knowledge has to be enabled. Last but not least, management of the collaboration environment has to be simplified. Figure 1 shows the main functionalities to support VOs.
knowledge management, virtual organizations, cloud computing, software as a service.
1. COLLABORATION IN INDUSTRY
In industry, virtual organizations (VO) are a common strategy to organize the development, production and maintenance of products. Most companies concentrate on their core competences and draw additional services from subcontractors. VOs are temporary consortiums of companies that work together with a common goal . Therefore cross company collaborations are inevitable , but knowledge management (KM) stops at organizational borders, today. It is almost impossible to achieve sharing of knowledge between various parties in these VOs. Reasons for this are geographic distances, affiliation to different organizations and often the resulting formal flow of information. Also security policies hinder direct access to knowledge.
Figure 1. Functionalities for support of VOs 
This is neither limited to specific companies nor with respect to time.0 communication technologies (Twitter. There are different approaches for KM. structuring and provision of knowledge. users purchase IT-infrastructure for a freely defined time period. COLLABORATIVE KM AS A SERVICE The proposed solution is to provide a project-based KM and collaboration service in the Cloud. It can be used worldwide by all project partners. the costs are borne by the partners. However. cross links between all knowledge items are important. Of course. They can buy required IT functionalities including setup. operation and maintenance (backups and security patches). tools for surveys and voting assist to form opinions. Regarding faith in secure access to data during and after the project. With these new solutions. The usage of a common KM service by all partners simplifies capturing and retrieving of knowledge. Yellow Pages and ideas are typical knowledge articles. CLOUD COMPUTING AS SOLUTION Currently arising cloud computing technologies are a new form of virtualization in computing platforms. setup. Especially the internet-based VOs ask for integration of these tools into their collaboration environment. the availability is much higher than most companies would typically achieve hosting the system locally. Beginning in the early stages. workflows formalize the KM process. there are other ways to assist interaction between VO members with further collaboration functionalities. operation and maintenance. which are set by authors. for example semistructured wikis or management systems for structured knowledge articles. In cloud environments. As long as the data is provided. when requirements and their effects on the product are defined. But security requirements remain. technical barriers have to be solved. Figure 2. the data is deleted. It is a further development of grid computing. Regarding KM. “traditional” communication tools like email are still required. So they have to be implemented adequate to the behavior in the VO. The KM service KMcloud by Pumacy Technologies is such a SaaS solution for collaboration-oriented KM. which FOSTER defined as: “Grid Computing is concerned with coordinated resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic. software has to support collection. On the other side.”  Grid solutions are mainly used to provide computing power and storage capacity for calculation and simulation tasks  . Cloud computing shares the same vision . the product and process knowledge is documented in the cloud. involve more people in the creation process and ensure a higher quality level of documented knowledge. They can buy the required IT-solution including (virtualized) hardware. These tools reduce the distance between the partners virtually and enable more discussions. A comfortable search function has to make this knowledge reusable for other people. 3. Then the entire group can focus their efforts on the joint project. 5. The knowledge base can be extended by new articles comfortably and work processes of each project team member can be assisted by deploying existing knowledge. One approach for more interaction inside of VOs in the context of collaborative KM is to deploy workflows. KM systems were installed only in the company. For example. For example. Thereby VOs can establish an own KM environment for the duration of cooperation without having to invest into and maintain an own technical infrastructure. However. they rent virtualized Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Of course. outsourcing of applications with confidential information was not made because of security reasons. The demand to outsource IT-solutions forces the realization of cloud-based services. Project partners have to trust in the service provider in equal measure. all members of a project and respectively of a VO are interested in the project specific topics – and not in running an information technology infrastructure. Typically. because they store important contributions to the intellectual property of companies. until the usage and disposal phase. FAQs. At the same time. Just a few years ago.1 Description of the KM-Service KMcloud As shown above the current trend providing SaaS is interesting for VOs and medium sized companies. KNOWLEDGECLOUD 5. which is currently developed in the research project KnowledgeCloud . Especially the current trend to provide SaaS on a pay-per-use basis is interesting for VOs. or meta information like creation time express correlations about the background of an article. blogs and RSS). They might enforce reviews for knowledge articles before publication. we see at first current Web 2. Based on the demand-oriented settlement. multi-institutional virtual organizations. common calendars and task management support the planning. the challenges here lie more in the legal situation regarding intellectual property rights to be respected. KM as a service on basis of Cloud technologies  . There are explicit links to describe connections between knowledge items. Independent of the chosen approach. With such KM service all involved disciplines share their knowledge throughout the entire product lifecycle process. Usage of a common platform avoids media breaks and ensures the location and system-independent information delivery. If the service is no longer needed. 4. KMcloud is a solution with a new architecture based on cloud technologies (Figure 2) and on the platform KMmaster® . One advantage is that anyone can use the service without disciplinespecific knowhow. a neutral service provider can often make arrangements easier. there are various implicit links: Categories.When we take a look at the communication aspects. Therefore a ready-to-use solution of a specialized provider is required. To improve the management of VOs. any company can create its IT-environment. Lessons Learned. project partners will participate fairly in the costs. tags. Platform (hardware and basic software) as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS).
3 Architecture and Availability 5.16]. Due to this. all data of a customer has to be deleted from the KMcloud database. backups) strong encryption methods have to be used. There are different possibilities. first results show that single database requests are much slower than in a relational database. at weekends) from the cluster. each with their own advantages and disadvantages: a. Here. Figure 4. System Architecture & Communication Paths Now it is possible to add more computing resources with just adding a new cluster node to the system. Here.g.) from a cloud are in the foreground. etc.2 Database in the Cloud Some cloud providers offer simple NoSQL databases . the user session has to be distributed all the time over the whole cluster like it is shown in Figure 4. On the other hand money can be saved by turning off unused nodes.3. the service provider can only configure the basis software in a secure way and install updates regularly. KMcloud uses such cloud storage directly as data vault for big data sets (e. Every customer has its own community and does not see any data of other communities. Both. After the contract ends.1 Overview Basis of every KMcloud instance is a typical J2EE application with four layers. KMcloud cannot use solutions of the cloud providers for scalability and load balancing. KMcloud uses a SQL server at the moment. On client side. Semi-automatic node management: At fixed points in time. • • • 5. there is on the lowest layer a database. for backups a second provider should be used. the focus of a SaaS provider regarding data security and safety is on the application itself. KMcloud uses the Hibernate framework which understands many different SQL Dialects but no cloud database dialects. because even in the improbable case something could fail. Instead it has to realize this on its own by clustering application servers which could run on many instances in parallel. Regarding infrastructure and operating system. Therefore a JDBC driver is currently developed in KnowledgeCloud to create an interface between Hibernate and a NoSQL cloud database (see Figure 3). Therefore.g.In KnowledgeCloud concepts for scalable integration of external IT resources (computing. On server side.4 Availability KMcloud is based on the existing KMmaster® platform. 5. EJBs and JSPs are running in the context of an application server. This ensures confidentiality and integrity of data. which requires a specific application server.3. Optional private cloud solutions increase security against access by third parties. 5. As a consequence.g. which is the container of the entire application. users access the application with an Internet web browser. To have a high availability system it must be possible that if one cluster node crashes another node is able to serve client requests immediately. Such storage is optimized for scalability and safety against data loss.3. Figure 3. storage. DBs. b.3. when higher load is expected nodes are added (e. Database Architecture 5.3 File Storage in the Cloud Another service used for KMcloud is a file based cloud storage. .2 Data Security Security of their data and documents is perhaps the most important requirement of users in the cloud . customers use their own KM service and do not share any resources with any other client. Of course. Therefore it is important for the success of a SaaS provider to fulfill the demand for adequate security. The next chapters present solutions for the most relevant challenges in the cloud environment. As cloud databases are not optimized for this type of usage. These databases are extremely fast. And there are still several challenges [6. Unfortunately they are not compliant with the SQL standard so it is not possible to use them with existing applications. This has many disadvantages like lower scalability. The business logic is implemented in Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) and the creation of web pages is realized in Java Servlet Pages (JSP). in the morning) or removed (e. there are limited possibilities for KMcloud to enforce data security. scalable and cheap even with huge datasets. Regular backups in defined periods and processes achieve safety of the service against data loss.g. attached files) and as a backup service for all user and system data. But we expect that many concurrent requests will show a better relative performance. A community concept ensures confidentiality of data. 5. This approach is suitable if the system load is nearly constant or easy predictable. Manual node management: A node is added (or removed) "by hand" to the system. It can be summarized in the following activities and concepts: • • • Encrypted connections prevent the interception of data. The development is based on the described functionalities (chapter 2) and the requirements of the application scenario above (chapter 4). For all data outside of the KMcloud service (e. For this.
4.  Langenberg.-L. H.. 2010.. Gärtner.kmcloud. Because a load balancer for a few nodes is fairly easy to setup there is no need to use a billed service for that. 184-175. Hayka. 1. 2011. 2010. nodes for fallbacks can be started in additional locations of other IaaS providers.D.de. A comparison of load balancing techniques for scalable Web servers. New potentials for virtual product creation by utilizing grid technology. H.-Y. 2010. Cloud Computing and Grid Computing 360-Degree Compared. and Stark.. Schuh. 1 (January 2009). A.  Hayka. 2009. International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications 15. F. This project is co-funded by the German Government (BMWi. Will NoSQL Databases Live Up to Their Promise? Computer 43. 143-146. I. The whole system except the database is redundant that any component of it could drop out and nearly no impact on the whole service is noticeable. 2(February 2010). J. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The presented results with respect to the KM service KMcloud have partly been developed during the project KnowledgeCloud. KMcloud provides functionalities to collect. and Wilhelm. Löh. 5.. Joshi.de) will be in the near future with the following key functionalities: KMcloud service is operating in a cloud environment and is accessible from the Internet.  Pumacy Technologies AG. A Scientific Foundation of Collaborative Engineering. www. Can Public-Cloud Security Meet Its Unique Challenges? IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine 8. 6. I.. W. C...3. 3.  Pumacy Technologies AG. and Stark.kmmaster. 6. G. Potenziale der Grid-Technologie in der Produktentwicklung. Application nodes and data storage are allocated dynamically based on the requests. G. 2008.  Stark. In Proceedings of 14th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising (ICE). Website about KMmaster.  Takabi. There are various optimization approaches available to optimize load balancing . Raicu. 9.. Klovning. 24-31. the staffs can focus their work on high quality results of the collaborative project. Zhao. H. 605-634. Collaborative Virtual Engineering for SMEs: Technical Architecture. In IEEE Grid Computing Environments Workshop 2008. R.  Kaufman.Manufacturing Technology 56. REFERENCES  Bryhni. To enhance the availability of the system further. From the view of the provider. In the first phase.  Leavitt. D.M. Kind. The service needs almost no set-up time and can be used as long as the collaboration in the VO continues. The service core supports multi-tenancy. N.. 2011.. O. S. R. After that. H. 2010. Each node receives its requests from a load balancer. R..com. C. several enhancements will be added until the end of the project. and Kure.. The necessary knowledge is structured. 55-57.  Lu. Competing in engineering design -The role of Virtual Product Creation. The rollout of KMcloud (www. Open Journal of Knowledge Management 3.5 Load Balancing To distribute the user request between the several KMcloud instances a load balancer is needed. This approach is very complex because many parameters have to be taken into account. It is also very high scalable. D. The anatomy of the grid: Enabling scalable virtual organizations.C. CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology 3. 13-19.  Foster. manage and provide knowledge.. D.-L. Langenberg. Knowledge management in virtual communities.. 2008.Manufacturing Technology 58. Therefore it scales flexible and can be used for a single client or for hundreds of VOs. To lower the inner cluster communication the load balancer keeps track of sessions so a subsequent request will be sent to the node which already has the affected session data. 4. IEEE Network 14. and Tuecke. the KMcloud service makes use of various cloud resources. 200-222. Kazi. S. 7-8. 2. 2009. 1-10. L. So session replication appears as little as possible.  Leavitt. Hayka. 15-21. Y. D.. CONCLUSIONS With the SaaS-System KMcloud project partners are able to share their relevant knowledge across organizational boundaries easily. Kooperationsplattformen für virtuelle Unternehmen. ZWF Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 105. EP101090) and supervised by EuroNorm GmbH. a pilot environment with basic functionalities is developed. Configuration of knowledge templates is available for every customer. H. Elmaraghy. D.S. S. 2007. 507–514.... Automatic node management: The cluster decides internally if nodes are added or removed.  Stark. 2001. Kesselman. IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine 8.kmcloud. and Ahn. REALIZED SYSTEM The development in the project KnowledgeCloud is accomplished in two main phases. . I. 2000.c.  Foster. 58-64.. 8. 2010. M. E.... H. 2004. et al. and Langenberg. 2011. The service core scales flexible. 693699. 12-14.. 500–504. ZWF Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 99. and Langenberg. N. Service providers like Pumacy Technologies benefit from the new cloud technologies.  Dryndos. and Welker. They change into complete solution providers (software + service) and reach new markets around the world. www. managed and provided for the use by the whole project team.B. 7. 3. 9. R. CIRP Annals . Website about KMcloud. Security and Privacy Challenges in Cloud Computing Environments... In case the active load balancer drops out it can easily be replaced by a load balancer on another node. structure. Is Cloud Computing Really Ready for Prime Time? Computer 42. and Lu. It could be booked as a cloud service but this will result in further charges. H. Thus. To avoid that the load balancer is a single point of failure it's started on every node but only one is used. CIRP Annals .-J. R. F. J.  Krause. Krause. Langenberg.