Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

QServ: Integrating Testing and Auditing into QoS Management of Web Services

Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

QServ: Integrating Testing and Auditing into QoS Management of Web Services

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

In a web service environment, service requesters are able to locate functionally equivalent services dynamically making quality of service (QoS) the differentiating factor amongst the web services. Service providers need to formulate QoS aware services in order to remain competitive and to achieve the highest possible profit from their offerings. There are several quality attributes to consider in any operating environment and we've grouped these requirements into 5 major categories: Service Dependability, Architectural Flexibility, Operational Capability, Risk Exposure and Financial Accountability. In the web services environment the realization of the attributes in these quality categories has increased in complexity due to the distributed and dynamic nature of the environment. While much of the research, standards and specifications address these issues, to the knowledge of the authors, an end to end solution for managing the quality attributes in a web service environment that include both testing and auditing has not been proposed. This paper will describe some of the current research that has been conducted to address the various aspects of quality as well as introduce the design for an end-to-end solution that will include testing and auditing.

INTRODUCTION

It is critical that the outcomes of a service in SOA or a web services environment are consistent, reliable, valid and expected to ensure continued use and success of the service as well as for compliance with various regulations which are imposed on the business. From an auditing perspective, the responsibility of compliance to regulations like HIPPA, SOX, FISMA, IPEDS and GAISP [Robinson, 2005] fall in the hands of the Information Technology (IT) department. From a testing perspective, we must be certain that our services behave as expected functionally and performance wise especially when the services are discovered dynamically. Testing and validating our services are strongly desirable to ensure reliability of our business services. In many of our IT environments we are challenged to meet the requirements of the regulations put before us. That challenge has now been multiplied exponentially with the introduction of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web Services into application development.

There are many advantages that can be realized through Web Services but some of these advantages also raise concerns from a quality control perspective. We must be able to monitor how our environments are changing and demonstrate that as these rapid changes take place that we are in control, in compliance and do not compromise on quality. The goal of this paper is to define methods for various aspects of quality control like QoS management, testability and auditability in a SOA and Web Service enabled environment to achieve compliance.

The paper is structured as follows: First we will discuss quality attributes in a SOA/Web Services environment and provide definitions and categorizations of these qualities. Second, we will discuss current approaches for specifying and managing Quality of Service (QoS) attributes in a SOA/Web Services environment. Third, we will review some of the research in testing methods for web services. In the fourth section of the paper, we will review current research methods in auditing of web services and in the final section of the paper we propose a design for an end to end QoS management system, QServ that will include service selection, service composition, quality management, testing and auditing.

QUALITY CONTROL ATTRIBUTES

O'Brien (2005) has identified 13 quality attributes to consider in any operating environment. We have grouped these requirements into 4 major categories: Service Dependability, Architectural Flexibility, Operational Capability and Risk Exposure. In addition, we have identified a fifth category; Financial Accountability. The objective would be to maximize service dependability, architectural flexibility and operational capability and to minimize risk exposure in the web service environment. …

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