Section: Scientific Foundations

Overview of the needed paradigms

Management of telecommunications networks and services, and Web services, involves the following algorithmic tasks:

Observing, monitoring, and testing large distributed systems:

Alarm or message correlation is one of the five basic tasks in network and service management. It consists in causally relating the various alarms collected throughout the considered infrastructure—be it a network or a service sitting on top of a transport infrastructure. Fault management requires in particular reconstructing the set of all state histories that can explain a given log of observations. Testing amounts to understanding and analyzing the responses of a network or service to a given set of stimuli; stimuli are generally selected according to given test purposes. All these are variants of the general problem of observing a network or service. Networks and services are large distributed systems, and we aim at observing them in a distributed way as well, namely: logs are collected in a distributed way and observation is performed by a distributed set of supervising peers.

Quality of Service (QoS) evaluation, negotiation, and monitoring:

QoS issues are a well established topic for single domain networks or services, for various protocols — e.g., Diffserv for IP. Performance evaluation techniques are used that follow a “closed world” point of view: the modeling involves the overall traffic, and resource characteristics are assumed known. These approaches extend to some telecommunication services as well, e.g., when considering (G)MPLS over an IP network layer.

However, for higher level applications, including composite Web services (also called orchestrations, this approach to QoS is no longer valid. For instance, an orchestration using other Web services has no knowledge of how many users are calling the same Web services. In addition, it has no knowledge of the transport resources it is using. Therefore, the well developed “closed world” approach can no longer be used. Contract based approaches are considered instead, in which a given orchestration offers promises to its users on the basis of promises it has from its subcontracting services. In this context, contract composition becomes a central issue. Monitoring is needed to check for possible breaching of the contract. Coutermeasures would consist in reconfigurating the orchestration by replacing the failed subcontracted services by alternative ones.

The DistribCom team focuses on the algorithms supporting the above tasks. Therefore models providing an adequate framework are fundamental. We focus on models of discrete systems, not models of streams or fluid types of models. And we address the distributed and asynchronous nature of the underlying systems by using models involving only local, not global, states, and local, not global, time. These models are reviewed in section 3.2 . We use these mathematical models to support our algorithms and we use them also to study and develop formalisms of Web services orchestrations and workflow management in a more general setting.