Acceleration of Web Service Workflow Execution through Edge Computing

Acceleration of Web Service Workflow Execution through Edge Computing

Junichi Tatemura Wang-Pin Hsiung Wen-Syan Li

NEC Laboratories America, Inc.
10080 North Wolfe Road, Suite SW3-350 Cupertino, California 95014 USA
Email:{tatemura,whsiung,wen} Tel:408-863-6021  Fax:408-863-6099


Integrating Web services over the Internet has difficulty in achieving reliability, in terms of availability and performance. Especially, a WSDL request-response operation, which expects immediate response from remote services, is vulnerable to network failure and latency. This paper proposes Overlay Web Service Network (OWSN), a framework of integrated Web service management and execution based on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Integrated services are described in a standard workflow language, deployed on edge servers, and access other Web services through proxies on the edge servers. These proxies, which may be generic cache proxies or application-specific proxies, encapsulate fault-tolerant/performance-conscious message handling between the edge server and the original server so that the service integrator can concentrate on business logic. The WS-Cache specification is introduced so that cache proxies and service providers can incorporate various caching techniques into Web services. The Service Level Requirement specification is also introduced in order to allow service integrator to indicate preferences for multiple service levels provided from the proxies. A J2EE-based system architecture and A prototype system for case studies are described.


Web services are loosely coupled software components which communicate with each other over the Internet using open-standard XML protocols such as SOAP. A service provider describes the interface of each service component using WSDL (Web Service Description Language) and publishes the service with a registry based on a standard called UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration). Businesses can expose their specific business functions as Web services, and users can integrate these service components into their business applications so that they can concentrate on their core businesses. Web service standards are designed to achieve interoperability of the service components and agility of the business integration. One of emerging businesses expected is a service intermediary which aggregates service components and provides value-added services for service consumers. E-commerce sites can integrate other commerce services with their own services and provide ``federated EC'' services to customers (e.g. a real estate service provider can integrate mortgage services and moving services as well as user identity and payment services). ISPs can provide not only the Internet accessibility but also ``service accessibility'' by aggregating and integrating service components. System integrators can integrate services from multiple ASPs (Application Service Providers) and provide customized outsourcing services for enterprises. As web services are widely adopted, we will see emergence of an integration tier between component-service providers and integrated-service consumers. Note that there are a service presentation tier and a service integration tier, which provide view integration and service integration, respectively. Information portal technologies mainly focus on the service presentation tier: an EIP (Enterprise Information Portal) only provides view integration based on ``portlets.'' To correlate multiple service functions with each other, the service integration tier is required between portals and service components. Although consumer portals such as Yahoo! provide both view and service integration functions, services are integrated in proprietary ways. Integrated Web services will be described in an XML-based service composition language. At the time of writing, there is no standard for Web service compositions recommended from standardization organizations such as W3C and OASIS. One of the specifications expected to be the Web service standard is BPEL4WS (Business Process Execution Language for Web Services) [14] proposed by Microsoft, IBM, and BEA Systems among other XML-based languages such as WSCI (Web Service Choreography Interface) and BPML (Business Process Modeling Language). BPEL4WS can define workflow of integrated Web services which consist of multiple WSDL operations. One of the issues of integrated Web services is difficulty in achieving reliability, in terms of availability and performance, since service components are distributed over the Internet. Especially, synchronous messaging, which expects immediate response from remote services, is vulnerable to network failure and latency. In WSDL, synchronous messaging to remote services is represented as a ``request-response'' operation, which is typically realized as SOAP-RPC or other RPC-like messages. Although RPC-like messaging is often a natural and easy way to integrate multiple Web services, response time and availability of the integrated services are easily degraded by one of the synchronous service calls. To improve availability and performance, a service integrator could incorporate various asynchronous execution techniques such as data caching, prefetching, and replication. As a result, however, the workflow will become far more complicated than the original business process and will cause higher development and maintenance costs. Integration of distributed Web services needs a simple but reliable way such that: In this paper we propose a framework of integrated Web service management and execution, called Overlay Web Service Network (OWSN), based on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Integrated services are described as standard workflows (BPEL4WS) and deployed on edge servers. Component services are accessed through proxies on the edge servers. These proxies may be either generic cache proxies or application-specific proxies deployed by the component service providers. The proxies encapsulate fault-tolerant/performance-conscious message handling between the edge server and the original server so that a service integrator can concentrate on business logic. We introduce WS-Cache specification so that cache proxies and service providers can incorporate various caching techniques into Web services. We also introduce Service Level Requirement specification which allows service integrator to indicate preferences for multiple service levels provided from the proxies. We describe a J2EE-based system architecture and a prototype system for case studies.

Related Work

Web Content Delivery

In the Web content delivery context, there have been research and development done on integrating components into a piece of content on edge servers. Edge Side Includes (ESI) [7] is a markup language used to define Web page components for dynamic assembly and delivery of Web applications at the edge of the Internet. The ESI technology lets a content provider break a dynamic Web page into fragments with different cacheability. The edge server must retrieve only non-cacheable or expired fragments from the original servers. Our OWSN framework includes a similar content caching technology as a part of workflow execution: We have designed WS-Cache specification to bring extensibility to content caching intermediaries based on the Web services architecture. There have been various studies on general code execution on edge or proxy servers. Mobile code or mobile agents paradigms have been proposed for effective and reliable computation on distributed networks [11] [12]. A lot of research has been done on Active Networks [10] that incorporate general purpose computation into network nodes. Content Services Network [13] has an application proxy server as a building component that performs value-added services between a content provider and an end-user. Several specifications have been proposed to extend the functionality of proxy and edge servers. ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol)([8] arrows the proxy server to modify requests from clients and responses from Web servers in order to serve various value-added services such as content filtering, virus scanning, and format translation. IETF OPES (Open Pluggable Edge Services) working group is chartered to define a framework and protocols to both authorize and invoke distributed application services deployed on proxy servers [9]. To improve performance and reliability of web applications that provide dynamic web content, a multi-tier architecture is adopted to large-scale web sites. Caching and replication of data (or objects) are applied to each tier (i.e., web servers, application servers, and databases) [21][20]. For recent web sites which provide personalized services, reusing and managing intermediary content is important since the final HTML page is rarely reusable. The J2EE (Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition) architecture supports management of intermediary content: JSP and servlet provide facilities of caching page fragments (HTML or XML). EJBs (Enterprise JavaBeans) encapsulate data synchronization between objects and databases. The OWSN framework can be regarded as the extension of the multi-tier architecture from a web site to wide area networks: As an application server manages content integration, an edge server manages service integration. As EJBs bridge between the application server and databases, proxies bridge between the edge server and source of component services. For better performance and reliability on Web content delivery over the Internet, various technologies have been intensively studied (e.g., cache management, database replication, materialized views, server replication, and overlay routing). [2] reports that combining several technologies is important to improve end-to-end WAN service availability. The OWSN framework is designed to incorporate such technologies into integrated Web service execution.

Web Service Intermediaries and Service Management

Based on flexibility of the Web service architecture, various technologies are being developed to enhance ability of Web service intermediaries. WS-Routing [18] is a specification that defines a SOAP message path. Intermediaries can route messages between service user and provider in a flexible way in order to enhance performance, availability, and security. WSIF (Web Service Invocation Framework)[19] is a Java API for invoking Web services without hardcoding protocol binding and location information. The API provides a way of coding WSDL operation invocations at the PortType level. At execution time, an invocation can be dynamically bound to SOAP, IIOP, or any other protocols based on WSDL binding information. If application are built based on WSIF, various value-added proxies can be plugged in between applications dynamically. These enabling technologies can be incorporated into the OWSN to enhance its flexibility although the current architecture does not utilize them. Service level agreement (SLA) of Web services is important especially when component services are integrated with workflows. The proposal of WSFL (Web Services Flow Language) [15], which is a predecessor of BPEL4WS, describes need for definition of a business context between a workflow (WSFL) and a component service (WSDL) and anticipates an appropriate WSEL (Web Service Endpoint Language) will be defined for this purpose. Although the standard for Web services SLA framework is yet to come at the time of writing, intensive work on Web service SLA management is being done recently [23] [25] [26]. In this paper we do not define or assume any specific service level agreement framework. Instead, we provide service integrators with a specification for service level preference.

Other Issues on Integrated Web Services

For reliable integrated Web services, transaction control over multiple service providers is crucial. The OASIS Business Transactions Technical Committee develops the Business Transaction Protocol (BTP) specification [16] that enables coordination between XML-based services offered by autonomous organizations. WS-Transaction [17] has been also proposed for transaction management for Web services. The BPEL4WS business process language for Web services has also a compensation handling facility [14], which is essential for long-living transactions over federated services. The focus of this paper does not include transaction management issues. Our framework, however, should be kept consistent with ongoing standardization of Web services transaction management. For the service presentation tier, the OASIS WSIA (Web Services fro Interactive Applications) and WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portals) Technical Committees collaboratively develop a framework for the user-facing part of Web services. Other issues for integrated Web services on which we do not focus in this paper include security related features such as single sign-on, authentication, signature, and encryption. The OASIS Web Services Security Technical Committee develops a framework that incorporate XML-based security technologies into Web services.

Overlay Web Service Network

We propose Overlay Web Service Network (OWSN), an approach for integrated Web services based on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Service integration workflows are deployed on edge servers located close to service consumers. A component service provider can utilize a message cache proxy on the edge servers or deploy its own application-specific proxy. These proxies, which we call ``service frontend modules,'' are responsible to manage communication through the Internet between edge servers and the original service sources, which we call ``service backend modules.'' The frontend and backend modules can use private protocols suitable for the application and provide a certain service level (e.g., response time) to the integrator's workflow. The workflow does not have to be aware of such application-specific protocols. Instead, it can invoke WSDL request-response operations with specification of service level requirement including conditions of failure and priorities between multiple service level metrics (e.g., response time and data freshness).

Business Roles

As illustrated in Figure 1, we assume the following roles to be acted by business organizations involved in integrated Web service delivery from component services to service end users: A service provider exposes service components. It deploys service frontend modules (such as a cache proxy) on a service manager's servers. It manages execution of service backend modules which communicate with the service frontend modules. A service integrator creates integrated Web services by combining service components. It deploys Web service workflows on a service manager's servers. A service manager hosts service integrators' workflows and service providers' frontend modules. It manages execution of those modules, monitors service levels, and provides accounting services to both service providers and integrators. With UDDI service registries, it may also work as a broker between service providers and service integrators and between service integrators and service consumers. A service consumer finds an integrated service provider through the service manager's registry, requests integrated services to the service integrator, and is bound to the service manager's service endpoint (i.e., an edge server).
Figure 1: Business Roles for Integrated Web Services
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=roles.eps,width=3.5in} \end{center} \vspace{-15pt} \end{figure}
Note that some of these roles may be acted by the same business organization. An ISP may act both a manager and a integrator to serve consumers. An enterprise may integrate services to consume by itself and outsource the management of them.

OWSN: a CDN Approach

Figure 2 shows how integrated services are delivered to service consumers in the OWSN framework. Service integration workflows and service frontend modules are deployed on edge servers and bound to each other according to WSDL descriptions.
Figure 2: OWSN: CDN Approach of Integrated Web Service Execution
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=endtoend.eps,width=3.2in} \end{center} \vspace{-15pt} \vspace{-15pt} \end{figure}
On edge servers, a workflow invokes component services by sending messages to frontend modules. For a service expected to give an immediate response, the workflow will call the frontend synchronously (i.e., a WSDL request-response operation). Synchronous messaging with the frontend module is less vulnerable than with the original server since the messaging is done inside server clusters managed by a single service manager. If the frontend does not require communication with the backend during execution of the workflow request, the response time will be kept short. In addition, when components are deployed on the same platform (e.g., J2EE), they can use platform-dependent messaging (e.g., Java RMI) for better performance. Between the edge server and the original server of the service provider, a frontend module and a backend module communicate with each other. The service frontend can be either (1) a generic cache proxy, or (2) an application-specific module. To minimize effects from network latency and disconnection, the frontend and backend modules utilize various communication techniques such as data prefetching, push cache, or application-specific protocols. Note that the service integrator does not have to be aware of the messaging protocols between the frontend and backend modules. Instead, the service integrator can specify its preferences for multiple service levels provided from the frontend modules.
Figure 3: System architecture
\begin{figure*} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=component.eps,width=4.5in} \vspace{-25pt} \vspace{-15pt} \end{center} \end{figure*}
Between the service consumer and edge servers, common CDN technologies [22] can be applied for better response time and availability: A request from the service consumer is redirected to the best available edge server determined based on network latency and server load.


J2EE-based Architecture

Figure 3 shows an architecture for integrated Web service delivery based on J2EE (Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition). On the edge server, a J2EE application server manages a workflow engine and EJB (Enterprise Java Bean) components. A message cache proxy and application-specific modules are implemented as EJB components. Web service integration workflows are described in BPEL4WS and deployed on the workflow engine. Note that the architecture does not assume any specific platform for service consumer and original service sources (i.e., backend modules).


We suppose that workflows are described in BPEL4WS although our basic approach can be applicable to any other business process description languages. BPEL4WS is an XML-based specification that defines a business process as a workflow which consists of ``activities''. The <receive> and <reply> activities are provided for handling a service request from a client. Invocations of other Web services are done by the <invoke> activity. Control flows can be described with various structured activities such as <sequence> (sequential steps) <switch> (conditional branches), <while> (loops), and <flow> (parallel threads of sequences). Data handling is done by the <assign> activity. Exception handling is also supported with <throw> and <catch>. The interfaces between communication partners are defined in WSDL. The <receive> and <reply> activities correspond to WSDL operations of the integrated Web service, which are exposed to service consumers. The <invoke> activity corresponds to a WSDL operation of a component service. The structure of <invoke> is as follows. We introduced an optional <sla:serviceLevelRequirement> entity, which is inserted as an extensibility element, to specify required service level for this Web service invocation. Its attribute requirement refers to a service level requirement specification which details are described in Section 5.
<invoke partner="ncname" portType="qname"
        operation="ncname" inputContainer="ncname"
  <sla:serviceLevelRequirement requirement="qname"/>
  <catch faultName="qname" faultContainer="ncname">
With the combination of partner, portType, and operation, the system can identify the specific WSDL operation to invoke. The attributes inputContainer and outputContainer indicate variables which contain sending and receiving data respectively (for an one-way operation, outputContainer is omitted). The <catch> construct handles faults occurred during execution of the WSDL operation. As for translation from external Web service calls to internal Java RMI calls to proxies, we can consider two approaches: (1) BPEL4WS workflow translation and (2) WSDL translation. Applicability of these approaches depends on the implementation of a specific BPEL4WS platform. In the workflow translation approach, the above <invoke> activity can be translated to the following structure which calls internal program components.
    <catch faultName="qname" faultContainer="ncname">
     partner="ncname" portType="qname"
     operation="ncname" inputContainer="ncname" 
Here we introduced <ext:callWSProxy>, a platform-specific activity to let the workflow call service frontend modules which are deployed as EJB components. The execution of this activity should throw the same faults the corresponding <invoke> activity throws. The <faultHandlers> handles these faults equivalently to the original <invoke> activity. Note that the <scope> is a BPEL4WS construct that provides nested contexts of execution and controls the scope of fault handling. The serviceLevel attribute is optional and refers to the service level requirement specified in <sla:serviceLevelRequirement>. The alternative to the workflow translation approach is to provide translated WSDLs which contain binding and service definitions which specify that operations are implemented as Java RMI calls to internal proxies. This approach is more consistent with the WSIF approach [19] and can be taken when the platform supports the Java RMI binding of WSDL PortType and handles service level requirement.

Message Cache

There can be three alternative levels of Web service message caching considered: (1) WSDL operation level (2) SOAP message level (3) HTTP level. Our cache proxy is designed to handle WSDL input-output operations. When an operation is cacheable (i.e., read-only), the proxy can cache the output message with the input message as the cache key. A SOAP message is less reusable than the corresponding WSDL-level message since it often includes extra information such as routing (e.g., WS-Routing) in its header. The existing HTTP caching facility is even less applicable than SOAP message caching since SOAP messaging is often implemented using the HTTP PUT method. Another reason why we take WSDL level caching is that SOAP-over-HTTP is not the only protocol that realizes Web service operations. To have messages cached, the service provider does not have to deploy any application modules on the edge server. Instead, it should provide information on cache control to the edge server. We have designed a cache control specification, called WS-Cache, to let the service provider specify which operations are cacheable and what kind of cache control is supported by the service provider. The following factors should be considered to design a WSDL level caching framework: (1) It should retain flexibility of WSDL and related Web services features such as flexibility in binding. (2) It should make use of Web services features to enhance extensibility of the cache control architecture so that various advanced cache control mechanisms can be applied on demand. Figure 4 illustrates the framework of WSDL level cache control operations. The provider is the source of the main services to which cache control is applied. The main services are defined as the port type A and implemented as the port port1. The requester is a cache proxy which communicates with the provider on behalf of actual service users. Two types of cache control operations can be realized within the Web services framework: By combining these two types of operations, various cache control technologies can be applied to cache WSDL operations.
Figure 4: WSDL level Cache Control
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=wscache.eps,width=3.2in} \vspace{-10pt} \vspace{-20pt} \end{center} \end{figure}
Since the cache control architecture is extensible, a service provider and a proxy have to negotiate with each other and find a specific cache control service which are supported by both of them. Based on the Web services framework, a cache control service for a specific service is established between the proxy and the service provider as follows:
  1. Cache proxies publish cache control types. A cache control type consists of (1) definition of embedded operations, (2) references to inbound/outbound cache control services (which are defined in WSDL), and (3) supported binding patterns. Cache control types can be defined in WS-Cache specification and published to service providers.
  2. A service provider defines and publishes cache controllers applicable to its services. A controller is an instance of a cache control type, which defines the provider-side implementation of the cache control. The controller definition includes (1) binding of embedded operations (2) ports for inbound services (3) supported binding patterns of outbound services. The service provider also defines cacheability of operations of the service port. For each operation, it specifies a list of controllers, from which a proxy can choose one for cache control. The provider publishes these definitions as a WS-Cache specification as well as the WSDL specification of the corresponding services.
  3. A cache proxy selects a controller for each operation. Given the WSDL and WS-Cache specifications of the providers services, a proxy can manage cache control of WSDL operations. To utilize outbound operations, the proxy needs to notify the corresponding port information through an embedded operation.
The following description is the overall structure of WS-Cache, which implements the WSDL level caching architecture described above:
<wscache name="ncname"? targetNamespace="uri"?
  <import namespace="uri" location="uri"/>*
    <xsd:schema ... />*
  <controlType name="ncname">*
    <operation name="ncname">*
      <input type="qname">?
      <output type="qname">?
    <inbound name="ncname" portType="qname"/>*
    <outbound name="ncname" portType="qname"/>*
  <controlBinding name="ncname" controlType="qname">*
    <binding name="ncname">*
      <-- extensibility element -->*
    <inbound type="qname">*
      <binding type="qname">*
    <outbound type="qname">*
      <binding type="qname">*
  <controller name="ncname" controlType="qname"
    <inbound type="qname">*
      <port name="ncname" binding="qname">...<port>+
    <outbound type="qname">*
      <binding type="qname">+
  <cacheable port="qname" operation="qname">*
    <cachecontrol controller="qname">*
        <operation type="qname">*
          <input> ... </input>?
          <output> ... </output>?
where characters are appended to elements and attributes as follows: ``?'' (0 or 1 occurrence), ``*'' (0 or more occurrences), ``+'' (1 or more occurrences). Typically, the above WS-Cache specification is separated into two files given from two partners. One is from a cache proxy and includes the <controlType> entity that defines a type of cache controllers and and the <controlBinding> entity that defines a set of binding patterns supported by the proxy. The other is from a service provider and includes <controller> that defines controller instances and <cacheable> that correlates the controller instances and the WSDL operations of the service provider's ports. In the <controlType> specification, the <operation> entities define embedded operations. the <input> and <output> entities specify data attached with an input (request) message and an output (response) message of a WSDL operation, respectively. Each input or output of embedded operations is a single part of XML data, for which the type attribute refers to the type definition (XML schema). The <inbound> and <outbound> entities indicate WSDL port types of the cache control ports for inbound and outbound cache control services. The port types are defined in external WSDL specifications. The <controlBinding> defines a set of binding patterns the proxy supports. The <binding> entities specify binding patterns applied to the embedded operations. The extensibility element will contain binding specific information. For example, <soap:binding> will specify the embedded operations are bound to SOAP messages (i.e., realized as SOAP header entities). Since embedded operations are attached with WSDL messages of the main operation, the binding applied to the embedded operations should be consistent with the binding of the main operation. Multiple binding patterns can be specified by describing multiple <binding> entities so that an implementer of cache controller (i.e., a service provider) can choose one which is consistent with the main operation. The <inbound> and <outbound> entities include sets of <binding> entities that refer to candidates of binding patterns. The binding patterns are defined in external WSDL specifications. The <controller> entity specifies the actual instance of a cache control type implemented by the service provider. The binding attribute specifies the binding pattern of embedded operations which is chosen from <binding>s in <controlBinding>. In the <inbound>, the <port> specifies a specific binding and locations (URIs) and indicates the actual ports for cache control provided by the service provider. The <outbound> entity contains a set of binding patterns for the corresponding outbound operations. It should be a subset of binding patterns defined in the outbound entity of controlBinding so that both the provider and the proxy support these binding patterns. The <cacheable> entity specifies a cacheable WSDL operation with the combination of port and operation. It includes a list of <cachecontrol>s which specify cache controllers supported for this operation. The cache proxy will choose one of the controllers based on the proxy's facility and expected performance. The service provider can express its preference on controllers with the order of the list. The optional <default> entity defines default data for embedded operations. By defining default, the service provider can omit to include cache control information in the SOAP message when the information is fixed for a particular operation.
Example 1
For example, a cache control mechanism similar to the HTTP cache control can be specified as:
    <xsd:element name="TTLNotify"... />
    <xsd:element name="ValidationResponse" ... />
    <xsd:element name="ValidationRequest" ... />
  <controlType name="SimpleCacheControl">
    <operation name="TTLControl">
       <output type="tns:TTLNotify"/>
    <operation name="ValidationControl">
       <input type="tns:ValidationRequest"/>
       <output type="tns:ValidationResponse"/>
  <controlBinding name="SimpleCacheControlBinding"
    <binding name="SimpleCacheSOAPBinding">
It specifies that a response (i.e., output) SOAP message can have a cache-related header entity referred to as TTLNotify. The overall structure of TTLNotify is as follows (the exact schema is omitted in the above definition due to space limitation).
<TTLNotify xmlns=...>
  <LastModified>[time stamp]</LastModified>?
  <Expires>[time stamp]</Expires>?
The entities LastModified, Expires, and MaxAge work similarly to Last-Modified and Expire headers of the HTTP 1.0 and the max-age directive of the HTTP 1.1 Cache-Control header, respectively. The entity ETag is similar to HTTP 1.1 ETags unique identifiers that are generated by the server and changed every time the object does. The embedded operation named ValidationControl is designed for cache validation similar to the HTTP If-Modified-Since header.
Example 2
Advanced cache control mechanisms such as invalidation and push cache can be implemented using inbound and outbound operations. For example, a cache invalidation protocol can be implemented as follows:

Application-specific Proxies

An application-specific proxy has two APIs: a public API, which is published as a WSDL specification to service integrators, and a private API, which is used to communicate with the backend modules. Various patterns of proxies can be considered including the following three patterns:

Service Level Management

Service Level Description Framework

When the integration workflow invokes a WSDL request-response operation, it can indicate service level requirement to the proxy. In this paper we do not define or assume any specific service level agreement framework. Instead, we focus on specification for service level preference including tradeoff between competing service level metrics (such as speed and accuracy) so that a proxy can flexibly manage execution for better performance and reliability. We expect a general service level agreement framework for Web services will be standardized and our specification can be incorporated as an extensible element of the standard. Given priorities between multiple service level metrics, the system can manage graceful degradation of services: Even when overload or faults of subsystems make the system unable to provide the perfect service, it continues to operate by providing a reduced (but still acceptable) level of service rather than failing completely. The graceful degradation facility is critical for delivering high availability in Web services. Cache management, for example, has two competing service level metrics: response time and data freshness. When the requested data is in cache but stale, the cache manager should decide whether it uses the cached data or retrieve new data from the original source. When the response time of the original source is currently longer than timeout due to network congestion or server overload, the cache manager may use the cached data even it is stale. The priority between service level metrics can be different between different situations even for the same application: When the service user is browsing lots of items offered in an auction service, response time is more important than freshness of the price information. When he or she is bidding for a particular item, up-to-date price information is required. In this paper we introduce two specifications: the Service Level Description and the Service Level Requirement. The former is used by a service provider to specify service level metrics available for each WSDL operation. The latter is used by a service integrator to specify requirements of service level for each WSDL operation. The structure of <serviceLevelDescription> is as follows:
<serviceLevelDescription name="ncname"
   <serviceType name="ncname">*
     <metrics name="ncname" unit="name"?
              min="name"? max="name"?/>+

   <serviceLevel serviceType="qname"
    portType="qname" operation="qname"/>*
The <serviceLevelRequirement> specification allows the service integrator to define a service level function $sl$ which maps a set of service metrics $\vec{m}$ (provided in the service level description) into an overall service level $s\; (0 \le s \le 1)$. The service provider's proxy manages tradeoff between service level metrics based on this function. The following is an example of service level requirement specifications:
    portType="qname" operation="qname"
    <level value="1">
      <cond metrics="sld:Freshness" max="0"/>
      <cond metrics="sld:ResponseTime" max="100"/>
    <level value="0.8">
      <cond metrics="sld:Freshness"
            min="0" max="1000"/>
      <cond metrics="sld:ResponseTime" max="100"/>
    <level value="0.6">
      <cond metrics="sld:Freshness"
            min="0" max="1000"/>
      <cond metrics="sld:ResponseTime" 
            min="100" max="500"/>
  <fault level="0.2" faultName="qname" />
where <serviceLeevlMatrix> maps service level metrics (i.e., sld:Freshness and sld:ResponseTime) into the overall service level. The <fault> entity specifies the service level at which the execution is failed and the proxy returns a WSDL fault message indicated with the faultName attribute. As described in Section 4.2, each <invoke> activity can include
<sla:serviceLevelRequirement requrement="qname"/>
to specify a service level requirement indicated with the requirement attribute. Thus, the integrator can specify different requirement for each <invoke> that invokes the same WSDL operation. Given a service level function $sl(\vec{m})$, $s$-availability can be defined as a probability:
\begin{displaymath}\mbox{{\it s}-availability} = P(sl(\vec{m}) \ge s)\; (0 \le s \le 1)\end{displaymath}

When service level agreement is considered, the service provider and consumer can refer to various level of availability such as 1.0-availability, 0.8-availability, and $s_{0}$-availability ($s_{0}$ is a service level threshold for operation fault). After a certain service level agreement is achieved between the integrator (workflow) and the provider (proxy), a reward function (i.e., mapping from service level to reward) $rew(s)$ can be defined based on the service provider's reward. Note that penalties for poor service levels can be represented as negative values of the reward function. Since the service level $s$ is a random variable due to nondeterministic behavior of the total system, the management strategy of the proxy can be formalized as maximization of the expectation value $E[rew(s)]$.

Service-Level-Aware Cache Management

Cache fetching control

Latency-recency profile [6] has introduced cache management based on a client's preference for response time and freshness. In this approach, a parameterized score function is defined to decide whether cached data is used or new data is downloaded from the remote server. In our case, such preference is given as a more generic function. For response time $r$ and data freshness $f$, a matrix <serviceLevelMatrix> defines the overall service level $sl(r,f)$. If the probability density function $p(r)$ of the source server's response time $r$ is known, the decision can be done as follows: If
\begin{eqnarray*} max_{r_{TO}} \{ & \int_{0}^{r_{TO}} p(r)sl(r,0)dr & \ & + ... ...^{\infty} p(r)sl(r_{TO},f_{0}+r_{TO})dr \} & > sl(0,f_{0}) \ \end{eqnarray*}

then the proxy should request the source server for new data with setting timeout as $r_{TO}$. Otherwise it should use cached data which freshness is $f_{0}$. If the request to the source server is timed out, it should use cached data which freshness is $f_{0}+r_{TO}$. Given a <serviceLevelMatrix> and the source server latency histogram (measured or estimated), the decision table can be pre-computed for any data freshness $f$. When a reward function $rew(s)$ is defined for service level $s$, $sl()$ in the above equation is replaced with $rew(sl())$ to maximize the service reward.

Cache replacement control

Traditional cache replacement strategies, such as LRU and LFU, are usually designed in order to maximize the overall cache hit ratio since every hit of cached data has the equal value. In our framework, cache replacement should be done to improve the overall service level instead of hit ratio: the management task is to maximize expected service level gain from keeping cached data in a limited memory space. Since it is impractical to predict the future access pattern and estimate the expectation value for each cached item for each time, simplified algorithms should be developed. As a preliminary study, we have developed a cache replacement control algorithm which improve service level in terms of response time. Section 7 describes the algorithm and preliminary experiment results.

Case Study

In this section, we demonstrate feasibility of our framework through a case study. We discuss (1) applicability of service frontend modules, and (2) validity of WS-Cache design and its benefits for service integrators (i.e., easiness of describing workflows and service level requirements).

Federated EC

As a case study, we have have implemented a prototype system for federated EC, which aggregates multiple EC services. Sellers of particular products provide catalog and purchasing facilities as Web services. A service integrator correlates products from multiple sellers and integrates them with other value-added service components such as content filtering. Our prototype of federated e-commerce systems integrates five Web services: it provides users a single access point to retrieve information related to a movie category, including top movies, reviews, theater and ticket information, and DVDs of similar movies. Figure 5 shows a console window for experiments. On the upper left hand side, the console provides a menu to select movie categories and location information. On the lower left hand side, the monitor shows the workflow and the call status of each Web services, such as response time and if there is a cache hit. On the right of the window, the output of integrated services including various useful information related to the movie of users' interests is visualized.
Figure 5: A Federated E-commerce System based on Integrated Web Services
\begin{figure*} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=screen.eps,width=6in} \vspace{-10pt} \end{center} \vspace{-15pt} \end{figure*}
In the rest of this subsection, we discuss applicability of service frontend modules (proxies) for various component services in the federated EC case. Table 1 summarizes mapping between applicable proxy types and component services. Among these services, we have implemented a catalog integration service in order to demonstrate a cache proxy.
Table 1: Applying proxies to component EC services.
proxy type component services
cache proxy catalog integration
filtering-based personalization, content filtering
resource-distribution-based ticketing, purchasing, advertisement
no proxy applied user authentication, billing, payment

Cache proxies can be applied to catalog integration. The main part of federated EC is aggregating merchandise information from multiple EC services and provide an integrated catalog which is customized to the service consumers. Even when the integrated catalog is too personalized to reuse for others, each component retrieved from the source is often reusable. The components have various life time: a large portion of information on merchandise is static while inventory information is dynamic. For some services such as auction, price information can be quite dynamic. Filtering-based application proxies can be applied to service components such as personalization and content filtering. Many modern Web applications utilize personalization engines which encapsulate decision making processes based on personalization logic. Likewise, Web service integration workflows may utilize ``personalization services'' instead of coding personalization logic into the workflows. A rule engine can be deployed as an application-specific proxy, and rules can be managed through private APIs between frontend and backend modules. Content filtering, a service to filter out content according to clients' policies, is a typical value-added service provided by intermediaries [8]. A filtering module can be deployed as an application-specific proxy. A filtering policy can be given directly by the workflow or be downloaded from a WSDL port of the client (which is cacheable). We can consider applying resource-distribution-based proxies to. ticketing and purchasing. When a service provider is selling a limited number of items, proxies and the backend should manage inventory information to avoid oversell the items. Each proxy reserves some portion of the inventory so that it can assure that a user can purchase the item without sending synchronous message to the source server. When the user purchased the item, the proxy asynchronously send a purchase order to the source server. One of the difficult issues in implementing such a proxy is that its action should be consistent with Web services' transaction management such as BPEL4WS's compensation handler. Simple content caching is not enough for advertisement delivery since it requires measurement and management of the influence to viewers. There are suppliers and consumers of advertisement: an ad supplier offers a limited number of advertisement exposures, and an ad consumer receives a limited number of advertisements which are relevant to his or her interest. Therefore, the advertisement service should manage the inventory of advertisement tasks. It can utilize proxies similar to ones for ticketing and purchasing. It is hard to apply proxies to component services such as user authentication, billing, and payment. Since they handle information which corresponds to individual users, it is hard to cache data for reuse or distribute resources (e.g., available credits) among resource-distribution proxies. Moreover, caching and reusing user information for multiple sessions may not be allowed for security and privacy reasons. One possible solution for performance and availability issues of such services is that an ISP who hosts workflows also provides authentication and billing services. In such cases, messages between workflows and authentication/billing services are locally managed by a single organization. In fact, most ISPs already have platforms for such user management tasks although they may not provide Web services interfaces.

Catalog Integration

In this section, we discuss applicability of cache proxies based on WS-Cache to catalog integration. We also have conducted experiments on cache management based on this setting, which is described in Section 7. In our example, the workflow integrates five different services (five WSDL operations) which provide movie related information: movie ranking, movie reviews, movie information, theater/ticket information, and DVD information. All the WSDL operations the workflow invokes are information retrieval services which are cacheable. These operations, however, are different in content life time and cache hit ratio. Moreover, the service sources may support different levels of cache controls: some service sources may not support any cache control facility. The workflow has different data freshness requirements for different content services. Table 2 shows these differences among operations in our case study.
Table 2: Cacheability of component services
service change frequency provider's support requester's requirement
Category/Ranking regularly changed TTL (1 week) -
Movie Information may be changed TTL (1 week) -
DVD Information may be changed - 3 days
Reviews changed when a customer posts a new review TTL (1 hour) 2 months
Theater/Ticket Information may be changed when a customer buys a ticket TTL (0-5 min) 1 hour for browsing / 0 sec for buying

Suppose the movie ranking data is updated weekly. Since the service provider knows when its output data becomes stale, it can utilize the SimpleCacheControl cache controller effectively. A SOAP message which contains a WSDL output of this operation will include a TTLNotify entity in its header:
<S:Envelope xmlns:S=...>
  <S:Body>  ...  </S:Body>
For the DVD information service, we use the existing Web services from It supports the DirectorSearchRequest operation which receives a director's name and returns product information related to the director. Note that the Web services are not cache-aware. Without modifying the existing Web services implementation, can support TTL-based message caching by providing the following WS-Cache specification. Although a SOAP header for output of DirectorSearchRequest has no cache-related information, data in <default> is used as if it is in the SOAP header.
<wscache targetNamespace="urn:amazonWSCache"
  <controller name="amazonDataCache"
  <cacheable port="amz:AmazonSearchPort"
    <cachecontrol controller="tns:amazonDataCache">
       <operation type="ctl:TTLControl">
Given the WS-Cache description of Web services, the cache proxy can offer QoS enhancement of the services by publishing the following service level description to service integrators.
  <serviceType name="ContentResponse">
    <metrics name="Freshness"
             unit="second" min="0"/>
    <metrics name="ResponseTime"
             unit="second" min="0"/>
  <serviceLevel serviceType="tns:ContentResponse"
In a BPEL4WS workflow, each <invoke> can indicate its service level requirement with a reference to a specific requirement:
For a ticket information retrieval operation, the workflow can specify two different requirement (prioritize response time or freshness) for two different point of invocation (when browsing or when starting purchase order workflow).

Cache Management: Preliminary Experiment Results

Cache Replacement Management

We have developed a response time gain (RTG) cache replacement algorithm that takes into consideration (1) user access patterns, (2) page invalidation pattern, (3) temporal locality of the requests; and (4) performance gain of a cache hit. The caching priority of each page is re-calculated periodically. In the current implementation, the priority is re-calculated every minute. Note that the frequency of re-calculation does have an impact on the cache hit rate. Potentially, the more often the caching priorities are re-calculated, the higher are the cache hit rates. The frequency of re-calculation should be dynamically adjusted by considering the trade-off between the benefit of higher hit rates and the additional cost incurred due to frequent re-calculations. The access rate and the invalidation rate is the access count and invalidation count within a time period. The caching priority of a page during a time period $t$, $Caching\_priority(t)$, is calculated based on the response time gain for a cache hit ($rtg$), the access rate ($ar$), and the invalidation rate ($ir$) as
\begin{displaymath}rtg \times ( 1 - \alpha ) \times \frac{ar}{ir} + \alpha \times Caching\_priority(t-1) \end{displaymath}

where $\alpha$ is the temporal decay factor whose value is between 0 and 1. A value of $1$ for $\alpha$ makes the system treat all access patterns equally, while a value of $0$ makes the system consider only the access patterns during the current time period. In the experiments the value of $\alpha$ is set to $0.8$. The intuition behind this formula is that it estimates the average number of accesses for the page between any two successive invalidations. The higher this number the larger the benefit to keep this page in the cache. And, when there are two Web service results of the same priority, we select the content which yields a high response time gain for a cache hit. After we calculate the caching priority of each page, we calculate the caching priority of each operation by aggregating the access rate and invalidation rate for all results belonging to the same operation. Consequently, we are able to select only a small number of Web service results, but maintain a high hit rate and a high performance gain.

Experimental Results

Based on this prototype we have conducted a series of experiments to evaluate the effectiveness and performance gains of the proposed Web Service Overlay Network framework. The total number of WSDL operation results are 6000 and are as follows: Category/Ranking: 500; Theater/Ticket information: 2000; Movie review: 1500; Movie information: 500; and DVD information: 1500. Figure 6 shows the correlation between the user request distribution percentages and each movie category which is based on the Zipf law. The cache size is set as 600, 1200, and 1800 result sets (i.e. 10%, 20%, and 30% of total number of all possible Web service result sets). The network and process latency of Web service response times are distributed from 1 second to 3 seconds.
Figure 6: User request category distribution
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=request-distribution.eps,width=3.6in} \vspace{-15pt} \vspace{-15pt} \end{center} \end{figure}
The first experiment we conducted is to measure the response time gains through the Web service caching in the integration tier. We set the network and process latency for all Web services as 2 seconds and we vary the cache size from 600 result sets to 1800 result sets (i.e. 10% to 30%). Figures 7 and 8 show the experiment results. Our observations are as follows: We also vary the network/process latency setting and observe the response time. The experiment results are shown in Figure 9. Again, our algorithm performs better than two other algorithms and when the network/process latency increases, the benefit of Web Service Overlay Network is more significant. As the experiment results show, the Web Service Overlay Network framework can accelerate the Web service response time up to 5 times in our evaluation.
Figure 7: Cache hit rates of different cache size
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=hitrate.eps,width=3.7in} \vspace{-10pt} \end{center} \vspace{-15pt} \end{figure}
Figure 8: Average response time of different cache size
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=responsetime-size.eps,width=3.7in} \vspace{-10pt} \end{center} \vspace{-15pt} \end{figure}
Figure 9: Average response time for configurations with various network/process latency (Cache size = 20%)
\begin{figure} \begin{center} \epsfig{file=responsetime-latency.eps,width=3.7in} \vspace{-10pt} \end{center} \vspace{-15pt} \end{figure}


We proposed Overlay Web Service Network, a framework of integrated Web service management and execution based on a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Integrated services are described in a standard workflow language, deployed on edge servers, and access other Web services through proxies on the edge servers. These proxies, which may be generic cache proxies or application-specific proxies, encapsulate fault-tolerant or performance-conscious message handling between the edge server and the original server so that the service integrator can concentrate on business logic. We proposed the WS-Cache specification so that cache proxies and service providers can incorporate various caching techniques into Web services. We also introduced the Service Level Requirement specification in order to allow service integrator to indicate preferences for multiple service levels provided from the proxies.


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