Providing high availability in very large workflow management systems

  • M. Kamath
  • G. Alonso
  • R. Günthör
  • C. Mohan
Workflow Management
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1057)


Workflow management systems (WFMS) support the modeling, coordinated execution and monitoring of business processes within an organization. In particular, very large workflow management systems are used in organizations with several thousand users, hundreds of thousands of process instances, and several thousand sites, all distributed over wide geographic areas. In these environments, failure of the WFMS or the underlying workflow database which stores the meta-information about the processes is not tolerable. This paper addresses the problem of providing high availability in workflow management systems by proposing a backup technique which ensures that execution of a process instance can be resumed at any point in time in the event of a failure. An essential characteristic of our backup scheme is that it allows the user to define different availability levels, reducing the cost of maintaining backups. The backup scheme is implemented using the workflow semantics, which we believe will (i) make it independent of the underlying workflow database, thus permitting the use of heterogeneous databases as primary and backup, (ii) reduce overheads, especially when compared to backup schemes provided by database systems.


Business Process Hash Table Process Instance Availability Level Primary Server 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kamath
    • 1
  • G. Alonso
    • 2
  • R. Günthör
    • 3
  • C. Mohan
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of Computer ScienceUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Database GroupInstitute for Information SystemsZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.IBM European Networking CenterHeidelbergGermany
  4. 4.IBM Almaden Research CenterSan JoseUSA

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