Knowledge Management in Cloud Environments
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 
Therefore a ready-to-use solution of a specialized provider is required. until the usage and disposal phase. Platform (hardware and basic software) as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS). they rent virtualized Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). which is currently developed in the research project KnowledgeCloud .0 communication technologies (Twitter. which are set by authors. For example.
4. which FOSTER defined as: “Grid Computing is concerned with coordinated resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic. It can be used worldwide by all project partners. there are various implicit links: Categories. Then the entire group can focus their efforts on the joint project. So they have to be implemented adequate to the behavior in the VO.
5. This is neither limited to specific companies nor with respect to time.
3. outsourcing of applications with confidential information was not made because of security reasons. Lessons Learned. There are different approaches for KM. Independent of the chosen approach. the costs are borne by the partners. cross links between all knowledge items are important. “traditional” communication tools like email are still required. Of course. 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. COLLABORATIVE KM AS A SERVICE
The proposed solution is to provide a project-based KM and collaboration service in the Cloud. However. the data is deleted. FAQs. operation and maintenance. KNOWLEDGECLOUD 5. CLOUD COMPUTING AS SOLUTION
Currently arising cloud computing technologies are a new form of virtualization in computing platforms. If the service is no longer needed. common calendars and task management support the planning. Regarding KM. the product and process knowledge is documented in the cloud. tools for surveys and voting assist to form opinions. Especially the current trend to provide SaaS on a pay-per-use basis is interesting for VOs. At the same time. In cloud environments. operation and maintenance (backups and security patches). The KM service KMcloud by Pumacy Technologies is such a SaaS solution for collaboration-oriented KM. blogs and RSS). software has to support collection. KM systems were installed only in the company. As long as the data is provided. tags. Usage of a common platform avoids media breaks and ensures the location and system-independent information delivery. KM as a service on basis of Cloud technologies 
. a neutral service provider can often make arrangements easier. multi-institutional virtual organizations. project partners will participate fairly in the costs. These tools reduce the distance between the partners virtually and enable more discussions. technical barriers have to be solved. the availability is much higher than most companies would typically achieve hosting the system locally. To improve the management of VOs. They can buy the required IT-solution including (virtualized) hardware. With these new solutions. Regarding faith in secure access to data during and after the project. users purchase IT-infrastructure for a freely defined time period. Typically. There are explicit links to describe connections between knowledge items. One approach for more interaction inside of VOs in the context of collaborative KM is to deploy workflows. Yellow Pages and ideas are typical knowledge articles. any company can create its IT-environment. because they store important contributions to the intellectual property of companies.1 Description of the KM-Service KMcloud
As shown above the current trend providing SaaS is interesting for VOs and medium sized companies. They might enforce reviews for knowledge articles before publication. structuring and provision of knowledge.”  Grid solutions are mainly used to provide computing power and storage capacity for calculation and simulation tasks  . for example semistructured wikis or management systems for structured knowledge articles. we see at first current Web 2. or meta information like creation time express correlations about the background of an article. A comfortable search function has to make this knowledge reusable for other people. With such KM service all involved disciplines share their knowledge throughout the entire product lifecycle process. setup. Cloud computing shares the same vision . KMcloud is a solution with a new architecture based on cloud technologies (Figure 2) and on the platform KMmaster® . For example. involve more people in the creation process and ensure a higher quality level of documented knowledge. Especially the internet-based VOs ask for integration of these tools into their collaboration environment. there are other ways to assist interaction between VO members with further collaboration functionalities. Just a few years ago. Project partners have to trust in the service provider in equal measure. It is a further development of grid computing. the challenges here lie more in the legal situation regarding intellectual property rights to be respected. They can buy required IT functionalities including setup. Beginning in the early stages.
Figure 2. On the other side.When we take a look at the communication aspects. 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. The demand to outsource IT-solutions forces the realization of cloud-based services. Of course. Based on the demand-oriented settlement. The usage of a common KM service by all partners simplifies capturing and retrieving of knowledge. when requirements and their effects on the product are defined. 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. One advantage is that anyone can use the service without disciplinespecific knowhow. But security requirements remain. workflows formalize the KM process.
This ensures confidentiality and integrity of data.
5. Here.4 Availability
KMcloud is based on the existing KMmaster® platform.3. in the morning) or removed (e. etc. Database Architecture
5. at weekends) from the cluster. Regarding infrastructure and operating system.3. The business logic is implemented in Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) and the creation of web pages is realized in Java Servlet Pages (JSP).
• • •
5. customers use their own KM service and do not share any resources with any other client.) from a cloud are in the foreground.3.g. the focus of a SaaS provider regarding data security and safety is on the application itself.g. Therefore. Here. because even in the improbable case something could fail. Optional private cloud solutions increase security against access by third parties.3. On server side. 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.
5. backups) strong encryption methods have to be used. storage. EJBs and JSPs are running in the context of an application server. Figure 4. first results show that single database requests are much slower than in a relational database. Semi-automatic node management: At fixed points in time. System Architecture & Communication Paths Now it is possible to add more computing resources with just adding a new cluster node to the system. Every customer has its own community and does not see any data of other communities.2 Database in the Cloud
Some cloud providers offer simple NoSQL databases . After the contract ends.1 Overview
Basis of every KMcloud instance is a typical J2EE application with four layers. each with their own advantages and disadvantages: a. There are different possibilities. This has many disadvantages like lower scalability.
5.g. Instead it has to realize this on its own by clustering application servers which could run on many instances in parallel. And there are still several challenges [6. which is the container of the entire application. Due to this. DBs. A community concept ensures confidentiality of data. attached files) and as a backup service for all user and system data. there are limited possibilities for KMcloud to enforce data security.In KnowledgeCloud concepts for scalable integration of external IT resources (computing.3 File Storage in the Cloud
Another service used for KMcloud is a file based cloud storage. As a consequence.16].3 Architecture and Availability
5. all data of a customer has to be deleted from the KMcloud database. For this. It can be summarized in the following activities and concepts: • • • Encrypted connections prevent the interception of data. there is on the lowest layer a database. Of course. Manual node management: A node is added (or removed) "by hand" to the system. On the other hand money can be saved by turning off unused nodes. Regular backups in defined periods and processes achieve safety of the service against data loss. On client side. which requires a specific application server. users access the application with an Internet web browser. KMcloud uses such cloud storage directly as data vault for big data sets (e.
. As cloud databases are not optimized for this type of usage. the user session has to be distributed all the time over the whole cluster like it is shown in Figure 4. These databases are extremely fast. KMcloud cannot use solutions of the cloud providers for scalability and load balancing. This approach is suitable if the system load is nearly constant or easy predictable.
Figure 3. KMcloud uses the Hibernate framework which understands many different SQL Dialects but no cloud database dialects.2 Data Security
Security of their data and documents is perhaps the most important requirement of users in the cloud . Such storage is optimized for scalability and safety against data loss. scalable and cheap even with huge datasets. Therefore it is important for the success of a SaaS provider to fulfill the demand for adequate security. Both. the service provider can only configure the basis software in a secure way and install updates regularly. But we expect that many concurrent requests will show a better relative performance. when higher load is expected nodes are added (e. Unfortunately they are not compliant with the SQL standard so it is not possible to use them with existing applications. The development is based on the described functionalities (chapter 2) and the requirements of the application scenario above (chapter 4).g. KMcloud uses a SQL server at the moment. Therefore a JDBC driver is currently developed in KnowledgeCloud to create an interface between Hibernate and a NoSQL cloud database (see Figure 3). The next chapters present solutions for the most relevant challenges in the cloud environment. for backups a second provider should be used. For all data outside of the KMcloud service (e.
and Lu. Kind. 1-10. This project is co-funded by the German Government (BMWi.
9. J. 507–514. CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology 3. Hayka. Klovning. 2011.. Cloud Computing and Grid Computing 360-Degree Compared. C. New potentials for virtual product creation by utilizing grid technology. H.com. 4.  Dryndos. Website about KMmaster. S. KMcloud provides functionalities to collect. EP101090) and supervised by EuroNorm GmbH. 2008. I...
6. Kooperationsplattformen für virtuelle Unternehmen. et al. 2004.-L.  Pumacy Technologies AG. Security and Privacy Challenges in Cloud Computing Environments. In Proceedings of 14th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising (ICE).kmmaster. Kazi. A comparison of load balancing techniques for scalable Web servers. There are various optimization approaches available to optimize load balancing .  Takabi.-L. So session replication appears as little as possible.. J. 9. 693699. Raicu. 2010. 2000. and Langenberg. Zhao. Krause. International Journal of High Performance Computing Applications 15. www. Will NoSQL Databases Live Up to Their Promise? Computer 43. In the first phase. Is Cloud Computing Really Ready for Prime Time? Computer 42. W. O. manage and provide knowledge.. To avoid that the load balancer is a single point of failure it's started on every node but only one is used. 58-64. Gärtner. Joshi. 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.  Foster. REALIZED SYSTEM
The development in the project KnowledgeCloud is accomplished in two main phases. and Tuecke.M.5 Load Balancing
To distribute the user request between the several KMcloud instances a load balancer is needed. H. Elmaraghy. 2010.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. The service core supports multi-tenancy.. 12-14.3. 1... IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine 8. In case the active load balancer drops out it can easily be replaced by a load balancer on another node. 605-634. CIRP Annals . 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.  Lu.. 2009. A Scientific Foundation of Collaborative Engineering. 2001.B.  Kaufman. ZWF Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 105.c.
8. H. Service providers like Pumacy Technologies benefit from the new cloud technologies..  Leavitt. R.S.  Langenberg.. 2008. The anatomy of the grid: Enabling scalable virtual organizations. The necessary knowledge is structured. This approach is very complex because many parameters have to be taken into account. Can Public-Cloud Security Meet Its Unique Challenges? IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine 8.kmcloud. Langenberg.D. and Stark. and Langenberg. the KMcloud service makes use of various cloud resources... 3. and Kure. D. 2. 184-175. and Stark.. D. several enhancements will be added until the end of the project.
Automatic node management: The cluster decides internally if nodes are added or removed. IEEE Network 14. 4. The rollout of KMcloud (www. Application nodes and data storage are allocated dynamically based on the requests. REFERENCES
 Bryhni.  Pumacy Technologies AG.. 500–504.  Stark. R. 2010. It could be booked as a cloud service but this will result in further charges. CIRP Annals . Y.Manufacturing Technology 58. Kesselman.. G... I. 200-222. 55-57. It is also very high scalable. D. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The presented results with respect to the KM service KMcloud have partly been developed during the project KnowledgeCloud.  Foster. F. 2011. To enhance the availability of the system further. Langenberg. managed and provided for the use by the whole project team. Schuh. The service needs almost no set-up time and can be used as long as the collaboration in the VO continues. a pilot environment with basic functionalities is developed. R. R. Competing in engineering design -The role of Virtual Product Creation.kmcloud. After that. 24-31. Open Journal of Knowledge Management 3. G. and Wilhelm. From the view of the provider. Configuration of knowledge templates is available for every customer.. Thus. S. In IEEE Grid Computing Environments Workshop 2008. N.
7. R. M. Hayka. nodes for fallbacks can be started in additional locations of other IaaS providers. 3. H.
.de. 2007. 143-146.-Y. D. L. E. 15-21. Each node receives its requests from a load balancer. Potenziale der Grid-Technologie in der Produktentwicklung. the staffs can focus their work on high quality results of the collaborative project.  Hayka. 2010. 2011. ZWF Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 99. H. Löh. 1 (January 2009).C.-J. Collaborative Virtual Engineering for SMEs: Technical Architecture.
5.. Knowledge management in virtual communities.  Krause. D.Manufacturing Technology 56. 6.. N. H. C.  Leavitt. 13-19. CONCLUSIONS
With the SaaS-System KMcloud project partners are able to share their relevant knowledge across organizational boundaries easily. H... Because a load balancer for a few nodes is fairly easy to setup there is no need to use a billed service for that. Therefore it scales flexible and can be used for a single client or for hundreds of VOs. Website about KMcloud.. structure. 2(February 2010). S. 2009. They change into complete solution providers (software + service) and reach new markets around the world. 7-8.  Stark. F. and Welker. www. 2010. and Ahn. A. I. The service core scales flexible..