A workflow is a sequence of steps involved in achieving a defined objective in any environment. These steps are in a certain order to improve execution and ensure efficiency. The end goal of a workflow defines the way the various tasks are structured, performed and tracked. The granular details such as: who performs these tasks, the order of the tasks, synchronization between jobs and flow of information required to assist the tasks, are also defined within the workflow.
On demand delivery of applications and services is the Unique Selling Proposition of the Cloud. Hundreds and thousands of users and applications run on cloud servers. These systems are designed to be fast, secure and always available. The infrastructure has to be designed to intelligently, transparently, and scalably deliver these services. Hence, workflow engineering becomes crucial to cloud computing.
Custom workflows can be embedded into the cloud computing process to enhance its capabilities. This enables the cloud to distinguish itself from traditional workflow transactions by creating a new abstraction layer within the cloud. The workflow management system is commissioned in the cloud and allows the cloud service providers to improve the efficiency via flexible resource allocation, scalability, mitigate node communication loss, fault tolerance in the cloud and, therefore, greatly reduce the cost of operation.
In another method, a workflow management system, which controls processes within the cloud at a higher abstraction level, aids in tasks, such as dynamic computing resource allocation, application instance customization and inexpensive operation of transaction processes. This management system will also help monitor the various processes scheduled in the cloud in real time and facilitate data collection to optimize the performance of the cloud.
Cloud computing is commissioned to the user using a service model approach. Workflow solutions within the cloud help mitigate problems that arise with this model. Network congestion, node failures and node communication loss, which severely hinder the performance of the cloud ecosystem, are common issues that arise that can be allayed by the implementation of workflows.
When a request is scheduled in the cloud, there are a set of definable transactions, which are carried out before the request is honored. By giving the users access to the workflow tools, it enables them to redesign and model these cloud transactions to create a sub workflow model in the cloud.
Both these approaches – workflow systems within the cloud or functioning at a higher hierarchy to the cloud – greatly help improve efficiency of the cloud and save operation costs for the cloud service providers. It also helps them monitor the various processes scheduled in the cloud, allowing them to create algorithms to improve the dynamic re-configurability of the cloud.