Scalable graph-based OLAP analytics over process execution data

Seyed-Mehdi-Reza Beheshti*, Boualem Benatallah, Hamid Reza Motahari-Nezhad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


In today’s knowledge-, service-, and cloud-based economy, businesses accumulate massive amounts of data from a variety of sources. In order to understand businesses one may need to perform considerable analytics over large hybrid collections of heterogeneous and partially unstructured data that is captured related to the process execution. This data, usually modeled as graphs, increasingly come to show all the typical properties of big data: wide physical distribution, diversity of formats, non-standard data models, independently-managed and heterogeneous semantics. We use the term big process graph to refer to such large hybrid collections of heterogeneous and partially unstructured process related execution data. Online analytical processing (OLAP) of big process graph is challenging as the extension of existing OLAP techniques to analysis of graphs is not straightforward. Moreover, process data analysis methods should be capable of processing and querying large amount of data effectively and efficiently, and therefore have to be able to scale well with the infrastructure’s scale. While traditional analytics solutions (relational DBs, data warehouses and OLAP), do a great job in collecting data and providing answers on known questions, key business insights remain hidden in the interactions among objects: it will be hard to discover concept hierarchies for entities based on both data objects and their interactions in process graphs. In this paper, we introduce a framework and a set of methods to support scalable graph-based OLAP analytics over process execution data. The goal is to facilitate the analytics over big process graph through summarizing the process graph and providing multiple views at different granularity. To achieve this goal, we present a model for process OLAP (P-OLAP) and define OLAP specific abstractions in process context such as process cubes, dimensions, and cells. We present a MapReduce-based graph processing engine, to support big data analytics over process graphs. We have implemented the P-OLAP framework and integrated it into our existing process data analytics platform, ProcessAtlas, which introduces a scalable architecture for querying, exploration and analysis of large process data. We report on experiments performed on both synthetic and real-world datasets that show the viability and efficiency of the approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-423
Number of pages45
JournalDistributed and Parallel Databases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bigdata analytics
  • Business analytics
  • Graph OLAP
  • OLAP
  • Process analytics

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