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Advancements in cloud computing for logistics

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Advancements in cloud computing for logistics

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Adequate integrated ICT infrastructure and services are a prerequisite for keeping pace with the rapid rise of complexity and service levels in logistics. Recent studies indicate a high attractiveness and impact perspective of cloud computing for logistics service providers within few years in order to cope with the growing IT capacity demands. Within this paper, a comprehensive overview is given on R&D with relation to CC for logistics. Among these, the EU-project LOGICAL is presented in detail since it combines different aspects and benefits of CC for the logistics sector. A generic system of CC use cases in logistics and the corresponding needs for a logistics cloud architecture are discussed and compared with the implementation status of the LOGICAL cloud. Special attention is given to the problem of incompatible data and service interfaces. Instead of following the single-window, single-document concept, a semi-automated on demand interface creation service is presented as an intermediate alternative for the practitioning logistics sector.
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Advancements in Cloud Computing for Logistics
Uwe Arnold, Jan Oberländer
AHP GmbH & Co. KG
Terminalring 13, D-04435 Leipzig-Halle Airport, Germany
Email: {arnold, oberlaender}@ahpkg.de
Björn Schwarzbach
University of Leipzig,
Information Systems Institute,
Grimmaische Staße 12, D-04109 Leipzig, Germany
Email: schwarzbach@wifa.uni-leipzig.de
Abstract—Adequate integrated ICT infrastructure and services
are a prerequisite for keeping pace with the rapid rise of
complexity and service levels in logistics. Recent studies indicate
a high attractiveness and impact perspective of cloud computing
for logistics service providers within few years in order to cope
with the growing IT capacity demands. Within this paper, a
comprehensive overview is given on R&D with relation to CC
for logistics. Among these, the EU-project LOGICAL is presented
in detail since it combines different aspects and benefits of CC for
the logistics sector. A generic system of CC use cases in logistics
and the corresponding needs for a logistics cloud architecture
are discussed and compared with the implementation status of
the LOGICAL cloud. Special attention is given to the problem
of incompatible data and service interfaces. Instead of following
the single-window, single-document concept, a semi-automated on
demand interface creation service is presented as an intermediate
alternative for the practitioning logistics sector.
I. INT ROD UC TI ON
A. Market Background
THE emergence of new cloud computing services is
steadily increasing. More and more companies realize
the benefits and opportunities of using IT-resources with
unlimited scalability and on-demand services at pay per use
conditions over the Internet, as opposed to "classical" on-
premise installation and operation. A recent survey of web-
hosting and cloud computing specialist Parallels [1] indicated
that especially small and medium sized enterprises (SME) are
drivers of extraordinary growth rates above 20% per year in
this market domain worldwide.
The full potential of collaborative business processes, es-
pecially for logistics companies, is still not exhausted. The
benefits for design and organization of heterogeneously frag-
mented logistics processes based on new logistics software that
is available within minutes and allows an easy integration of
customers, suppliers and partners, are about to be appreciated
by logistics service providers (LSP). The latest Logistics Trend
Radar report, published by DHL, ranked cloud computing and
supergrid logistics among the trends of highest mid and long
term impact perspective [2] due to the expectation that these
innovative trends will foster completely new process models
and service provider types in logistics of the future.
The work presented in this paper was funded by the CENTRAL EU-
ROPE programme co-financed by the ERDF under the project LOGICAL
(www.project-logical.eu)
The trends mentioned above may be seen as a partial facet
of a larger trend: bottom-up economics, a paradigm change
which may lead to a total economic reconfiguration in the
21th century, driven by the Internet. The planning, organization
and implementation of complex logistics processes is currently
carried out by large logistics companies with complex soft-
ware systems. Cloud computing fosters the cooperation and
collaboration of numerous small and medium-sized logistics
enterprises without major capital expenditure in IT hardware
and software. An open research question is how to cope with
heterogeneous data models and interfaces on one side and
how to organize and control these cloud-based collaborative
business processes.
B. State of R&D in Cloud Computing for Logistics
The development of cloud computing platforms, services
and solutions for various business purposes is driven by dif-
ferent institutions, academic and commercial, both on national
and international levels. The project "Future Business Clouds"
(FBC) alone lists about sixty different cloud computing R&D-
projects which are funded by the EU and its member states [3].
Most of these projects, however, are dealing with general
technological aspects of cloud computing for business. Just
about. 5% of these business clouds, however, explicitly address
the application domain of logistics and supply chain manage-
ment. In addition to these cloud developments, an impressive
number of R&D activities and institutional capacities have
been initiated internationally in the EU under the 6th and 7th
Framework Programme during the last decade upon the field
of information and communication systems in transport and
logistics. This R&D-domain is relevant for cloud computing
in logistics due to a significant focus on interoperability and
standardization of data structures in support of collaborative
and smart supply-chain management and resource efficient
co-modal transport management, especially for SME. An
overview on related EU-projects is given by [4].
The joint efforts to solve the problem of incompatible
interfaces and data structures as main obstacles of inter-
operability in the transport and logistics sector lead to a
conceptual Common Framework for Information and Com-
munication Systems in Transport and Logistics which fol-
lows the single-window, single-document approach to create
interoperability by standardization. Finally, a unified single
transport document shall be established that can be used for
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all modes of transportation. The framework consists of a
definition of different "roles" (stakeholders with unique set
of responsibilities), "business processes", related standardized
"messages" and common ontology based "data elements".
Current plans to connect the common framework community
with SMEs and proprietary systems aim at the creation of
standard web forms and so-called "connectors" (like "trans-
lators between differing formats and data models"). As a
part of the EU Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan the
common framework was developed with a holistic perspective
by means of integrating the concepts and results of several EU-
projects (e.g. FREIGHTWISE, e-Freight, INTEGRITY, Smart-
CM, SMARTFREIGHT, EURIDICE and RISING) in the EU-
project DiSCwise [4].
A second integrative initiative upon EU-level is the open
innovation network platform ETP (European Technology Plat-
form on Logistics) which is the output of the 7th FP EU-project
WINN [5], [6] and was launched under the acronym ALICE
with participation of global players in logistics and industry
in June 2013. Among others, involved R&D institutions are
the Dutch Institute of Advanced Logistics DINALOG, the
Polish competence centre of logistics ILiM and the German
Fraunhofer Institute IML. The major issue of ETP and ALICE
is virtual collaboration in supply chains. A case study of a plat-
form (T-Scale) based upon global communication standards,
which supports virtual supply chains in real time, is described
in [7].
A market-oriented approach to collaboration is matching
transport demand and offer by means of virtual market places
such as online spot exchange platforms and services. An
example of this category is the web-based system for rail
freight matching developed in the joint R&D-project CODE 24
of the Rotterdam-Genoa corridor [8], programmed by means
of open source tools at Duisburg-Essen University. A second
example is the project CloudLogistic [9] of Aachen University
and industry partners which develops a cloud platform for
matching part loads of trucks (capacities and demands) based
upon geo-coordinates. Related issues of the business model,
SLAs and billing mechanisms are included in this project.
One of the most prominent examples of establishing a
virtual market place by means of cloud computing is the
,"logistics mall" of the Fraunhofer innovation cluster for
cloud computing in logistics, developed by the Fraunhofer
institutes IML and ISST and operated by Logata GmbH [10].
Basically, the logistics mall serves as a virtual IaaS and
SaaS platform for matching demand and supply of logistics
software and related IT services. It comprises both an ASP
for running proprietary software and a SaaS engine and SOA-
bus for combining atomic services with uniform data model
and interfaces. Standardization is achieved by means of a
uniform ontology and semantic modeling leading to standard
Business Objects (BO). The mid-term development perspective
is a repository of BOs and granular SaaS components which
are selected, linked and orchestrated by means of a Logistic
Process Designer and an interactive graphics user surface. The
developers expect IT-cost reductions up to 50% especially for
SME due to the mall and its on-demand services.
The example of the logistics mall illustrates that interop-
erability of IT services and SaaS components of logistics
clouds and platforms are crucial for the capability of gen-
erating value added especially for the benefit of SME by
means of combining available SaaS components to customized
virtual process and supply chains. Numerous developments
are characterized by standardization approaches like common
ontology, semantic programming (e.g. using the language
OWL), federated data management and linked open data
concepts. Related projects are for instance CollabCloud [11]
and COCKTAIL [12] to mention just a few.
A meanwhile finished R&D-project which among other
results produced a uniform ontology (in OWL) for logistics
was InterLogGrid [13]. Based upon InterLogGrid the joint
R&D-project LOGICAL was initiated in the Central Europe
programme in order to integrate several of the issues and
benefits of the R&D-activities mentioned before: IT- and
business process outsourcing, virtual market place for logistics
services, integrative data and collaboration space and platform
for the orchestration and optimization of collaborative business
especially for the benefit of SME-size LSPs [14].
C. LOGICAL profile
LOGICAL’s [14] objective is to enhance the interoperability
of logistics businesses of different sizes, to improve the
competitiveness of Central European logistics hubs through
the development of a modern logistics cloud infrastructure.
Beneficiaries of the project are especially small logistics com-
panies that are enabled to use cloud-based logistics software
to collaborate with other regional and global players. Cloud
computing furthermore enhances the hubs’ attractiveness for
business activities in logistics.
LOGICAL will be simultaneously implemented at six major
Central European logistics hubs: Leipzig (DE), Bologna (IT),
Wroclaw (PL), Miskolc (HU), Koper (SI) and Ustí nad Labem
(CZ). They represent multi-modal infrastructures such as the
Airport of Leipzig/Halle, the freight village Interporto Bologna
in Northern Italy, one of the most important sea harbours in
the Adriatic Sea (Port of Koper) and the largest logistics centre
in Hungary. In this way, cloud computing is used by different
companies to organize intermodal transports using innovative
cloud services.The project started in May 2011 and ends in
October 2014.
The results of a survey in order to determine the initial
as is situation among participating LSPs, their information
demands, typical business processes and first architecture con-
cepts were described in [15]. In the following the LOGICAL
architecture and functionality will be presented in detail both
from an application oriented view and in terms of the technical
components used. Chapter V covers a special contribution to
the issue of connecting data and systems with heterogeneous
formats and data models.
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II. LOGICAL USE CASES
A. Logistics cloud computing architecture: generic use cases
Based upon the survey findings, the identified user demands
and migration requirements, major use cases of cloud com-
puting for logistics were developed from a rather practical
point of view. This process, however, cannot be considered
to be finished, since understanding the opportunities of cloud
computing in the logistics application domain grows with
usage experience. Therefore, a two-step methodology was put
into practice: at first generic use cases (use case classes)
were developed and described in order to cover the utiliza-
tion potential of a logistics cloud as completely as possible.
Afterwards, specific use case instances which originated from
communications with the survey participants and project part-
ners were presented. The collection of these specific use cases
will never be complete due to the ongoing creative process of
finding useful new applications of a logistics cloud by means
of ongoing interaction and communication with the growing
number of users. For the logistics cloud the following generic
use cases were identified and are interrelated in multiple ways
(see fig. 1):
1) Outsourcing of IT resources and related services, i.e.
hardware, software applications, and data pools from
local (on-premise) IT-systems into a cloud
2) Integration, Synchronization and Sharing of data created
and utilized by multiple users
3) Market Place for product and service offers and de-
mands, platform for adding e-commerce activities to the
corporate business models
4) Platform for the management and optimization of collab-
orative business activities of multiple business partners.
1) Generic Use Case 1: IT-Outsourcing: A meanwhile
standard application of web-based systems consists in pro-
viding and using web-hosted software applications, either by
means of an application service provider or by SaaS.
Typical IT functions which are outsourced in general busi-
ness environments are accounting software, enterprise re-
sources planning software (ERP), customer relations man-
agement software (CRM), document management software
(DMS) and project management software (PMS).
Outsourcing of logistics IT services for logistics service
providers may include transport management software (TMS),
route planning software, fleet management software, tracking
& tracing software, warehouse management system (WMS),
supply chain management software.
Outsourcing is a method which supports enterprises in con-
centration upon core competences and cutting down secondary
or overhead costs. Consequently, following the step of merely
outsourcing the IT services of secondary business processes a
higher level of this strategy is reached by completely outsourc-
ing the complete related business process, such as accounting
processes e.g. financial accounting, personnel accounting, e-
procurement & e-commerce fulfillment.
Usually, for outsourcing just one client (e.g. company) is
using the web-hosted application provided by the cloud, even
Fig. 1. System of generic use cases of a logistics cloud
if the client is represented by multiple persons (employees,
team members). Legally, this relationship can be considered
as a 1:1-relation. To find and select web-hosted application
or public cloud service a public market place will be used.
Another possibility for logistics companies is to develop and
use own privte cloud services e.g. with locked data space and
encapsulated VM.
The software applications which are offered for IT service
outsourcing can be provided as a web-hosted application
which instead of running on a local computer is running on a
virtual machine. To use separated instances of the software,
an application service provider (ASP) is used as a component
of the cloud architecture. To use the same instances of the
software like other users, the services in the SaaS runtime
engine are usable.
2) Generic Use Case 2: Synchronize & Share Data:
Using cloud computing for the integration, synchronization
and sharing of data is one of the original drivers of establishing
early cloud systems. A web-hosted managed data space is a
basic solution for synchronizing files in simple file-sharing
scenarios.
An already well-established representative of this cloud
function is the meanwhile widespread DropBox R
which of-
fers web-hosted data storage capacity at pay-per-rent condi-
tions (block tariff system based upon booked storage volume
independent from actual consumption of the memory space).
The Dropbox R
is already established with data sharing and
access right administration services.
The file synchronize & share function of the cloud can
be applied to intra- as well as extra-organization uses of file
synchronization and sharing. Typical intra-organizational uses
are:
File synchronization of mobile actors and business units,
such as trucks and other vehicles, external service teams,
smart devices of employees etc.
Linkage of subsidiaries, regional or branch offices, ser-
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vice posts etc. with the headquarter.
Business data exchange and synchronization within de-
centralized organizations.
File Exchange across borderlines of single enterprises and
organizations are:
File exchange with clients
File exchange among business partners
File exchange with infrastructure operators such as sea-
ports, airports, intermodal terminals and authorities such
as customs authorities
Since data are usually shared among multiple users and the
integration space should be a unique one, this relationship can
be considered as a n:1-relation. The cloud can be used by
clients to give business partners simple access to own files by
using a web-hosted storage software suite e.g. DropBox R
or
OwnCloud.
3) Generic Use Case 3: Market Place: Using the internet as
a channel for e-business is state-of-the-art for numerous market
participants and traders. Although e-commerce in logistics
is still a rather rare phenomenon, a logistics cloud may be
the right instrument for adding an online-component to the
commercial processes of members of the logistics community.
The cloud market place in this context can be a limited access
community market or platform open to the public. Since the
members of logistics communities cover a wide spectrum of
different services, the design of the market place should rather
be like a shop of the shops (mall) than a uniform store. Since
all functions of the cloud can be considered as a marketable
service, the cloud market place can provide access to the whole
service repository of the cloud as well as to the complete set
of services offered by the logistics communities attached.
A user of the market is addressing to multiple recipients of
his sales offer or procurement request. Thus the typical use
configuration is a 1:m-relation.
The market place function of a cloud requires the following
components of the cloud architecture: e-commerce platform
and administration system (affiliate system with purchase
monitoring, feed-back system and brokerage provision admin-
istration), data base management system, query masks, search
& matching engine.
4) Generic Use Case 4: Management platform: The fourth
generic use case class represents advanced uses of the cloud
which aim at efficiency improvements and value added by
means of additional cloud services. Matching demands and
supplies in the market place does not automatically mean
that a best fit is found. This requires optimization tools,
i.e. instruments provided by operations research and systems
analysis in order to find an optimum. This optimum may
consist in the minimization of cost, carbon footprint, failure
risk or a maximum of defined benefit functions. Applications
in the logistics domain may be:
Optimization of transports: best fit of demand and offer
of transportation capacities according to predefined goal
functions.
In a generalized form: best fit of any kind of service
demand and suitable supplies.
In sophisticated cases, the suitable supply for a service demand
may not be offered by a single party but has to composed from
the offered capacities of multiple providers as a fragmented
sequence of several basic logistic processes, such as transport,
storage, cross-docking, transport, intermodal transfer, trans-
port, storage, commissioning, final delivery etc. In such a case,
support services are needed for composing the whole process
chain and for managing the cooperation of several (hetero-
geneous) partners. Possible functions of this functionality of
collaborative business engineering and management are:
Composition of suitable logistics process chains (from the
online catalogue of single service capacities provided by
single partners and covered by the logistics communities)
Setting up of a “virtual organization” (a special purpose
vehicle for logistics projects) of the partnering service
providers
Management and administration of the business processes
of the virtual organization with devoted data work space,
ERP-service, management tools, job management and
billing services and allocation of cost and revenues to
the contributing partners.
In these complex cases of multiple actor cooperation, m
participants are addressed in the composition phase of the
fragmented process chain and nparticipants access mutually
applied data in the operation phase of the virtual organization.
Thus, the use configuration is a m:n-relation.
The collaborative business function of a cloud requires the
following components of the cloud architecture: optimization
tools, simulation of fragmented logistics process chains, cloud
hosted representations and management tools for virtual orga-
nizations.
B. Logistics cloud computing architecture: specific use cases
The specific use cases are ordered according to the generic
use case classes system presented in the previous chapter.
1) Specific Use Case 1: Logistics software catalog: The
logistics software catalog so far contains and provides typical
business and logistics software applications. At current state
the following applications are available: Standard office soft-
ware (MS Office 365), ERP software (OpenERP), document
management softeare (RICOH DMS), transport management
software (PSItms), warehouse management software (LogBase
on Demand R
)
2) Specific Use Case 2: Synchronize & Share: All four use
case categories of the LOGICAL cloud require data storage
capacity. Thus, use case 2 will be integrated as cloud data
space in other use cases.
In addition, the cloud will provide a managed file workspace
function for pooling, synchronization and sharing of files in
analogy to Dropbox R
. The related software suite which is
going to be used for this function is OwnCloud.
Several LOGICAL partners already develop or operate
cloud-based systems for the common use and exchange of
freight, customs or other official documents and files. These
systems and data share functions can be linked to or integrated
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into the LOGICAL cloud. Systems to mention in this context
are for example:
Logistics Cluster Leipzig-Halle (PP3) and its member SALT
Solutions developed a simple software tool for smartphones
linked with a web-based data space (e.g. LOGICAL cloud
workspace) which helps freight forwarders and other transport
service providers to cope with new legal requirements of safety
inspection, supervision and documentation. The traffic-manger
app of SALT is a direct example of new service products
which are developed due to the communication of the R&D
projects InterLogGrid and LOGICAL between IT companies
and experts and the application community, in our case the
logistics service providers organized in the logistics cluster
Leipzig-Halle.
Luka Koper (Port of Koper, Slowenia, PP14) developed a
planning and scheduling system (TINO) for trucks unloading
and loading on the seaport grounds in order to equalize traffic,
increase throughput capacity and support freight forwarders as
well as the port authorities in planning the logistics processes.
In addition, Luka Koper operates a web-hosted information
and service platform LUNARIS. Luka Koper now plans to
develop a web service and a new module in the cloud platform
LUNARIS that would allow registered shipping agents to
extract all data from the cloud-solution TINO that are needed
to satisfy the customs requirements for the Export Customs
manifest.
Another example of using a cloud workspace for the inte-
gration of data is the container-information-service provided
by port of Koper’s platform LUNARIS. The e-zabojnik (e-
container) application provides tracking information about
containers delivered to, stored within and departing from the
seaport grounds.
3) Specific Use Case 3: Market Place: In addition to the
logistics IT applications as presented before, the LOGICAL
cloud will contain a market place for marketing and matching
common logistics services such as transports, warehousing,
freight commissioning, and value added services.
As a first step, the offline-partner manual, which was
developed in the logistics cluster Leipzig-Halle will be trans-
formed into an online available web solution and extended
to all other logistics communities of LOGICAL. This online
catalogue of service providers, their available resources (vehi-
cles, technical equipment, warehouses, permits and licenses),
logistics competences and frequently served relations as well
as features required for international cooperation (language
skills, country experiences etc.) can be considered as the online
catalogue of the comprehensive logistics service capacities of
the LOGICAL community. Parts of the online representation
of the web-catalog of partners, competences and capacities
shall be publicly accessible for marketing purposes and can
be used by shippers for finding appropriate logistics service
providers.
The related user and service capacity data are to be stored
and managed within the LOGICAL cloud database. In addition
to the database itself the LOGICAL cloud surface has to be
established with suitable entry- and query masks.
Once the general features of the cloud users are available,
the following step will consist in the establishment of the
market place open to the public (or only to registered members
of the logistics community) where logistics service providers
can sell standardized logistics services online via the logistics
service market.
The opposite to sales offers, i.e. the placement of logistics
service demands by shippers, 4PL-providers and other logistics
clients in order to carry out online-tenders for required services
has to be introduced as an inverted version (service demand) of
the data objects representing offered services (service offers).
The final development level of the logistics service market
place will offer a semi-automatic matching service for suitable
pairs of matching demand and supply items. This service of
the cloud will require a (fuzzy) matching engine.
4) Specific Use Case 4: Management Platform: One of the
objectives of logistics communities is to foster cooperation
among community members and to develop new forms of
collaborative business. The fourth use case of the LOGICAL
cloud is meant to combine the functions of the preceding
three and to provide supporting cloud services for collaborative
business engineering.
Based on atomic logistics services (such as loading, trans-
port, customs handling, storage, packing/unpacking, quality
check, labeling, commissioning, cross-docking, final delivery,
additional value added activities), the composition of these
basic and partial logistics services to complex, fragmented
compound logistics services is necessary in order to cover
the complete supply chain of preceding, hub-specific and con-
sequent processes. The final objective consists in simulating,
monitoring and management of complex logistics processes.
The supply chain process model contains different and mul-
tiple process steps (activities) which are executed by different
logistics service providers. 4PL-Providers are the main target
group of this use case which represents a strategic development
direction of logistics clusters (e.g. the logistics cluster Leipzig-
Halle). In this way logistics clusters can provide a modern
communiction platform for their logistics service providers
in order to enable and support cross-company cooperation
and collaboration. In particular, the simulation of different
combinations and variants for the implementation of complex
logistics contracts is interesting to find out the most suitable
variant for customers and service providers. Once a suitable
chain of basic logistics services is identified and represented
as a digital model of the comprehensive logistics process
including the description of transport flows, freight quantities,
resource volumes, times, cost and other parameters, this model
can be used for the management of the process in forward
(push-process) or reverse (pull-process) direction.
For the management and optimization of multimodal corri-
dors and transports, Interporto Bologna developed cloud-based
platforms and embedded applications CoSPaM and M2 TC.
One of the consequences of composing single logistics
services to compound, fragmented service chains by means
of collaborative business engineering will be the creation of
purpose or project specific consortia of the contributing service
UWE ARNOLD, JAN OBERL ¨
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Fig. 2. LOGICAL cloud architecture, technical view
providers. Business administration of these organizations will
need additional support like the technical support services
of planning, optimizing and controlling the service chains as
indicated before.
Thus, the management platform needs to be established with
business administration services for the management of "vir-
tual organizations". Like for a single company, the platform
will have to provide access and configuration functions in
order to apply the IT services of use case 1 to the virtual
organization representing the cooperation consortium.
III. LOGICAL AR CH IT EC TU RE
The following sections describe the technical components
and so far selected software products of LOGICAL cloud
architecture at current development status in Leipzig.
Fig. 2 displays the technical view of the LOGICAL cloud as
presented recently. This architecture consists of the Hardware
layer and different software layers:
IaaS-layer (Infrastructure as a Service),
SaaS-layer (Software as a Service), with specialisation
to logistics software, called “logistics applications as a
service” (LAaaS)
and BPaaS-layer (Busines Process as a Service) with
specialisation to logistics processes in sense of “logistics
processes as a service” (LPaaS)
So far the applications mentioned in chapter II-B1 are planned
to be provided by means of ASP.
The cloud service repository (software catalog) will be used
to store, administrate, select and manage the SaaS-offers of
the system. The service repository needs to be developed
yet. Apart from the software the repository will contain
addressing data for the selection and activation of single SaaS
applications.
The logistics cloud as outlined in the use case section will
need additional SaaS applications to reach full functionality.
Eventually required and yet to be specified or developed ap-
plications are for instance a search engine, a (fuzzy) matching
engine, supply chain simulation tools, transport optimization
tools, service composition tools to build complex supply
chains, software services for the management of virtual orga-
nizations and interfaces to external exchange gateway services.
Logistics applications and logistics processes are specified,
addressed, and activated by the cloud user on the top layer of
the cloud architecture. The cloud portal serves as entry gate,
orientation, service browsing, service selection and control
instrument.
The LAaaS-layer and LPaaS-layer consists of the logistics-
specific embedded applications and IT-services. In cases of
existing web-based user-interfaces of single embedded appli-
cations and SaaS applications, these pages very likely need
modifications for the integration into the cloud environment,
e.g. in order to go back to the preceding cloud portal pages
and to link with cloud workspace and composition service
components. For the externally hosted platforms which are
to be linked with the LOGICAL cloud via data exchange
gateway, suitable cross-addressing and linkage tools need to be
developed and implemented. The user interface is developed
using ASP.NET.
IV. IM PL EM EN TATION STATUS
The implementation of the LOGICAL cloud architecture
startet in 2012. The implementation is separated into four main
implementation project: data management, end user portal,
administative portal and service management including user
identification.
This section gives an overview of the current state of each
of the four subprojects.
A. Model-view-controller
The whole LOGICAL project architecture is following the
model-view-controller (MVC)-software architecture pattern
that separates data (model), functionality (controller) and end
user frontend (view). This approach increases modularity and
code reusability. [16]
A model is a POCO (Plain Old CLR Object [17]) that is
used to describe the data that is representing a domain specific
entity that carries no business logic.
The visual representation of a model is provided by a view
that contains information on how the data of the model need
to be arranged. Different visual representations, e.g. a print
and an onscreen version of the same entity, are generated by
multiple views for the same model.
Each view has a corresponding controller that comprises all
the functional logic needed by the view, i.e. there is one public
method for every single action of the view.
B. Data management
The basis of the cloud is data. There are different kinds of
data like data of the cloud users, data of the user’s companies
and data about alle the services provided by the user’s. These
data are provided by the data management subproject. It
consists of a model of approximately 80 classes, two views for
every model and for every view one controller. The first view
is the end user’s interface to create and edit his data entries
into the LOGICAL database.
1086 PREPRINTS OF THE FEDCSIS. KRAK ´
OW, 2013
The more important view in terms of clouding is the API-
view of the data. There is one REST-API-view for every
model class that provides the methods to access the cloud data
by other services inside and outside the cloud. This access
is secured by the use of Oauth2.0. This ensures that only
authorized services can access this API. The Oauth2.0-server
forwards the login information to the OpenId 2 based user
identification system.
If there are changes to the model, the adoption of those
changes will be done to keep the full coverage of the API
C. Service management and user identification
The user identification is based on OpenId 2 [18] that
provides a method to identify a end user without requiring the
relying party, i.e. the cloud service, to request the end user’s
credentials, e.g. username and password. OpenID 2 is using
a decentralized system consisting of an OpenID provider and
multiple relying parties. The implementation of the OpenID
2 authentication system of the LOGICAL cloud is completed
and fully functional.
The same subproject of the logical cloud is responsible for
managing all the different available services. Service Providers
need to specify some information about their services, i.e.
name, description, URL to the logo and a class in a DLL
offering state dependent information of the service. This class
offers methods for:
Pricing information returns a string that is shown to the
end user to show the current pricing model of the service.
Service state returns a value out of usable, notbooked,
stopped, processing and usable that is representing the
current state of the service for a particular user.
Actions available to the end user that basically are a URL
the end user is directed to and a name of the action.
This DLL is dynamically loaded into the service management
engine. Since there are a multitude of possible services a
webservice for all of this information would not be feasible
in terms of timing.
D. Administrative portal
The third subproject is the administrative portal that pro-
vides services to the LOGICAL cloud provider to keep the
cloud operating. Some of these services are:
User management: Provides functionality to manage end
users of the cloud, especially activation and suspension
of an end user.
Accounting: Provides functionality to charge the end
users for their service consumption and to support the
cloud service provider by monitoring payments.
Exception handling: Provides functionality to recover
misfuntional services, e.g. reset virtual machines, recov-
ery of wrong data.
E. End user portal
The LOGICAL cloud end user portal is the entry point for
end users. It provides information on all the different services
that are available via the cloud. The services are assigned
to different categories the end users can choose from. After
selecting a category the end user receives a list that shows all
the information necessary to decide which service is the best
fitting for the user and offers the actions defined by the service
management layer.
F. Summary
The implementation of the LOGICAL cloud architecture is
almost finished. The only major part left is the accounting
system which will be implemented in the next months.
Another task for the next months is to identify services that
will bring a great benefit to the end users and to incooperate
them into the cloud. Since there are always new services this
will be an ongoing, task for the whole lifetime of the cloud.
V. SEMI-AUTOMATED INTERFACE CREATION
Compatibility of data structures and interoperability of SaaS
components resp. IT-systems of collaborating partners still are
prerequisites for achieving the targeted main benefit of the
LOGICAL cloud: easy collaboration among different partners
along heterogeneous fragmented supply chains. The survey
carried out in the initial phase of the LOGICAL project
revealed that more than 50% of the existing inhouse-interfaces
of software applied by the interviewed LSPs are not at all
functioning or insufficient.
Thus, in the beginning of the development a standardized
data model concept based upon uniform ontology (InterLog-
Grid ontology in OWL, transferred into SQL by means of a
specific converter) was selected as a solution to the task of
creating IT-interoperability. Workshops and discussions with
representatives of the final user group, however, indicated
that there is considerable reluctance among practitioners to
adopt a standard ontology and to adapt the data models of
existent data bases and proprietary software. Therefore, from
a practical point of view for intermediate cloud operation an
indirect path of linking existing documents and IT-systems
with differing data formats and data structures was chosen:
like in the Common Framework[4] customized "connectors"
(here "upload vehicles", see fig. 2) are introduced for data im-
and export.
Now the creation of customized "connectors" turned out
to be a new bottleneck of system usability. Assuming an
unlimited number of possible source-target-couples of data
formats and underlying data models to be mapped, the idea of
developing a sufficient repository of preconfigured “connec-
tors” rapidly exceeds feasibility constraints. Thus, in cooper-
ation with Leipzig-Halle cluster-member RICOH, a method
of semi-automated creation of data interfaces (connectors)
was developed and applied to the problem of mapping differ-
ently formatted freight documents (waybills) into each other.
With respect to the as-is-situation in the field, the operative
cloud concept deliberately refrains from requiring successful
establishment of single-window/single-document standards as
a mandatory condition. Instead, the system provides a separate
tool for the on-demand creation of "connectors" (mapping
procedures) which are associated to a specific pair of data
UWE ARNOLD, JAN OBERL ¨
ANDER: ADVANCEMENTS IN CLOUD COMPUTING FOR LOGISTICS 1087
Fig. 3. Workflow of semi-automated interface creation
formats and stored in a mapping repository. Thus, the system
is gradually learning during the course of being used and grad-
ually increasing the number of already covered mapping tasks
(data/document-format pairings). Once a mapping task occurs
which already was tackled before, the mapping procedure does
not have to be redeveloped again. Instead a pattern recognition
service provides the matching mapping procedure which is
applied.
Fig. 3 shows the main parts of the workflow of the semi-
automated interface creation use case. Most of documents that
need to be processed are paper based, therefore they need to be
scanned prior they can be worked on by the software service.
The scanning process can be done by existing scanners or
a rented scanner that is preconfigured for sending scanned
documents directly to the cloud.
Documents that are digitized will be processed directly by
the cloud service. To upload such documents, and documents
scanned with existing scanners as well, to the cloud a web
service with a web interface is provided, that takes files of
different formats, e.g. pdf, jpeg and tiff.
After the documents are stored in the cloud they are
analyized by a pattern regocnition service to determine the
type of the documents. If the type of the document is known
and a mapping is available in the repository the mapping of
the data of the document to the LOGICAL database is done
by the LPS-service.
Otherwise, a new mapping procedure is created by means
of manul linkage of data fields of the original document and
the entry mask of the LOGICAL data base. This procedure is
supported by the interactive graphics linking features of the
LSP and stored as a new mapping procedure in the mapping-
repository.
The user of this service can configure a set of third party
systems for every document type where these documents
should be forwarded to. This process step is done by a Extract,
Transform, Load job that extracts the data from the LOGICAL
database and loads them to the third party software. If the ETL
job requires some data that are not available due to problems
with quality (paper based documents and OCR) or input field
left blank in the original document, the problem is reported to
the user and the user can choose whether to add the missing
data or to delete the document.
If the user is operating a third pary software that is not
known by the cloud, the user can request a ETL-job for his
software. This new job will be available to all cloud users,
once it is created.
VI. CO NC LU SI ON
Cloud computing, with it’s service on demand philosophy,
enables even small logistics service providers to cooperate
with each other. The challenges for the logistics service
providers are even more complex if they want to cooperate
transnational. The paper has shown the use cases of the LOG-
ICAL cloud in general and detail, that have been developed
to enable transnational cooperation. One of these use cases
is the semi-automated interface creation that helps logistics
service providers with converting documents of one type into
another without the need of a comprehensive ontology. The
whole set of use cases that are covered by the LOGICAL
cloud are resulting in a multitude of new possibilities for
logistics service providers to create new added value services
with international partners and to be one step ahead compared
to the competition.
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1088 PREPRINTS OF THE FEDCSIS. KRAK ´
OW, 2013
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Parallels global smb cloud insights 2013: Profit from the cloud
  • Parallels
Parallels, "Parallels global smb cloud insights 2013: Profit from the cloud," 2013. [Online]. Available: http://bit.ly/1dXrQ4e
Presentation of the final software prototype for an online freight exchange
  • R Föhring
  • A S Kuhlmann
  • S Zelewski
R. Föhring, A. S. Kuhlmann, and S. Zelewski, "Presentation of the final software prototype for an online freight exchange," 2013. [Online].
Available: http://bit.ly/13fEF4F [13] PSI Logistics GmbH
  • Prosyst
Prosyst, "Cocktail," 2006. [Online]. Available: http://bit.ly/13fEF4F [13] PSI Logistics GmbH, "Interloggrid," 2009. [Online]. Available: http://bit.ly/1blyNQD
Openid authentication 2.0 -final
  • Openid
  • Net
OpenID.net, "Openid authentication 2.0 -final," 2007. [Online]. Available: http://bit.ly/xDivq 1088 PREPRINTS OF THE FEDCSIS. KRAKÓW, 2013
One common framework for information and communication systems in transport and logistics
  • J T Pedersen
  • P Paganelli
  • F Knoors
  • N Meyer-Larsen
  • P Davidsson
J. T. Pedersen, P. Paganelli, F. Knoors, N. Meyer-Larsen, and P. Davidsson, "One common framework for information and communication systems in transport and logistics," 2011. [Online].