Experience the Power of Workflow Engines in Kubernetes

CI/CD Pipelines, Business Processes Automation, and Beyond

Experience the Power of Workflow Engines in Kubernetes

In today's fast-paced digital world, businesses are constantly looking for ways to streamline their operations, reduce manual errors, and improve efficiency. This is where a workflow engine comes into play. Workflow engines are powerful tools that help automate routine tasks, ensuring that processes are executed consistently and efficiently. When combined with Kubernetes, a popular container orchestration platform, workflow engines can take your business operations to the next level.

CNCF Landscape - CICD Tools, the list of tools for CI/CD pipelines as for June 2024

Source:CICD's CNCF Landscape

Did you know that the CI/CD pipelines and routine tasks were not other things than workflows? Stating the obvious, workflows are not just about automating CI/CD pipelines and routine tasks but also about modeling complex business processes. Let's dive deeper into the world of workflows, understand why they are popular in sectors like banking and eCommerce, and explore how enterprises are leveraging workflow engines to implement business rules and drive efficiency even much before the CI/CD tooling started to be a thing, and even before Git, GitOps, and DevOps were born.

Understanding Workflow (BPMN)

Understanding how different business processes interact can significantly enhance operational efficiency and collaboration. Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) provides robust frameworks for modeling these interactions through choreography and orchestration. The choreography focuses on the interactions between different processes, while orchestration defines the flow of activities within a single process; think of it as a dance choreography vs. a music orchestra. 💃🏼🎼

Orchestra vs Choreography - a representation with dancers for choreography and a music orchestra

Visual representation of Choreography vs. Orchestra.

In the context of BPMN, a workflow is a systematic representation of a sequence of tasks, activities, and processes required to complete a specific business objective. "BPMN provides a standardized graphical notation that is easily understandable by all business stakeholders, allowing for the clear documentation, analysis, and optimization of complex business processes. BPMN diagrams can be easily exchanged in a standardized format across different modeling tools" [BPMN].

Workflows are so powerful that many enterprises not only use workflows but also act as providers, offering workflow implementation and system integration services. These companies help other businesses automate their processes by:

  • Consulting: Analyzing and optimizing existing business processes.

  • Customization: Developing tailored workflow solutions to meet specific business needs.

  • Integration: Ensuring seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure and third-party services.

Workflows are not necessarily about automating tasks, but also about implementing business rules. Business rules are logical guidelines that ensure business decisions lead to the right outcomes. This is highly used by non-technical users, like business analysts, to define the rules that the system should follow, for example, a business rule could be as simple as:

Simple Workflow Example

"If the customer has a credit score above 700, approve the loan application",

or as complex as:

"If the customer has a credit score above 700, approve the loan application, but if the customer has a credit score below 700, check the customer's income and approve the loan application if the income is above $50,000, or if the customer has no other loans, and the customer has been a customer for more than 2 years and has a good payment history".

Complex Workflow Example

Wow, see how complex business rules can be? That's why workflow engines are so powerful, they allow enterprises to define, deploy, and manage business rules and decision logic so that applications can make smart decisions consistently, quickly, and with minimal human intervention.

Based on the complexity of the business rules we can identify the need for a workflow engine that can handle complex, long-running business processes. This is where workflow engines like Camunda, Apache Airflow, Temporal, Zeebe, and Activiti come into play. These workflow engines provide a scalable, reliable, and flexible platform for orchestrating complex business processes and automating routine tasks.

I see you are intrigued by the power of workflows, but why are they so popular in sectors like banking and e-commerce? I think we should explore that next.

The Popularity of Workflows in Banking, eCommerce and Beyond

Workflows are gaining popularity in sectors like Banking and e-commerce due to their ability to automate routine tasks, leading to increased efficiency and improved customer experiences. They eliminate silos, making processes easier and more efficient for project owners, stakeholders, and customers. Banks are increasingly investing in technologies with standards-based modeling for collaboration between business and IT users to ensure that business processes are well understood and easily optimized and automated [Banking].


  • Regulatory Compliance: Workflows ensure that all processes comply with strict regulatory requirements.

  • Fraud Detection: Automated workflows help in monitoring transactions and detecting anomalies in real time.

  • Customer Service: Streamline customer service processes, from loan approvals to account management, reducing processing times and enhancing customer satisfaction.


  • Order Processing: Automate order management, from inventory checks to shipping, reducing manual errors and delays.

  • Personalization: Create personalized customer experiences through automated marketing workflows.

  • Returns and Refunds: Efficiently manage return and refund processes, improving customer trust and loyalty.

  • Marketing Campaigns: Automate marketing campaign workflows, from planning to execution, ensuring timely and targeted promotions.


  • Service Provisioning: Automate service activation and provisioning workflows, reducing lead times and improving service delivery.

  • Network Management: Streamline network monitoring and maintenance processes, ensuring optimal performance and uptime.

  • Customer Support: Automate ticketing and issue resolution workflows, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Billing and Invoicing: Automate billing and invoicing processes, reducing errors and improving cash flow.

Implementing Business Rules with Workflows

Enterprises leverage workflows to define and enforce business rules consistently across their operations. Business rules are logical guidelines that ensure business decisions lead to the right outcomes. Workflow engines allow enterprises to define, deploy, and manage business rules and decision logic so that applications can make smart decisions consistently, quickly, and with minimal human intervention. This is highly used by non-technical users, like business analysts, to define the rules that the system should follow to ensure:

  • Consistency: Uniform application of business rules across all departments and processes.

  • Efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks frees up human resources for more strategic activities.

  • Accuracy: Reduced human error in critical processes like compliance checks, financial transactions, and customer interactions.

System Integrators as Workflow Implementers

Some companies act as providers of workflow implementations and system integrators. They connect the enterprise system with different software systems and platforms from multiple vendors to minimize costs and ensure better efficiency. Enterprise integration allows organizations to seamlessly integrate, unify, and standardize core business capabilities across diverse IT environments.

Roles and Responsibilities of Workflow Implementers

As in the software development lifecycle, workflow implementers have different roles and responsibilities that range from analyzing and optimizing existing business processes to designing scalable and resilient workflow solutions. Here are some of the key roles and responsibilities of workflow implementers:

  • Designer: Analyze and optimize existing business processes.

  • Consultant: Provide expert advice on analyzing and optimizing existing business processes

  • Analyst: Analyze workflow performance and identify areas for improvement.

  • Auditor: Conduct audits to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and best practices.

  • Developer: Develop tailored workflow solutions to meet specific business needs.

  • Tester: Test workflows to ensure they meet functional and performance requirements.

  • Integrator: Ensure seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure and third-party services.

  • Architect: Design scalable and resilient workflow solutions that meet business needs.

  • Support: Offer ongoing support and maintenance for deployed workflows.

  • Administrator: Manage user access, permissions, and configurations for deployed workflows.

  • Trainer: Train users on how to design, deploy, and manage workflows effectively.

  • Release Manager: Oversee the entire workflow implementation process and ensure successful deployment.

Seems overwhelming, right? Let's group these roles into two main categories: Technical and Non-Technical roles. Technical roles focus on developing, and maintaining workflows, while non-technical roles involve designing, analyzing, optimizing, and managing workflows. This division of roles ensures that workflow implementations are efficient, scalable, and aligned with business objectives.

Roles and Responsibilities of Workflow Implementers

Technical and non-technical roles of workflow implementers

Additionally, to facilitate collaboration and accountability among workflow implementers, a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities is essential. This is where a RACI matrix comes into play. To create a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) matrix, we'll first group the roles that overlap, and then define their responsibilities. Here are the grouped roles and their new definitions:

  1. Business Process Analyst (BPA): Combines Designer, Consultant, Analyst, and Auditor.

  2. Workflow Developer (WD): Combines Developer and Tester.

  3. System Integrator (SI): Combines Integrator and Architect.

  4. Support Specialist (SS): Combines Support and Administrator.

  5. Trainer (T): Remains as Trainer.

  6. Release Manager (RM): Remains as Release Manager.

Now, we'll create the RACI table for these grouped roles.

RACI Table for Workflow Implementers

Task / RoleBusiness Process Analyst (BPA)Workflow Developer (WD)System Integrator (SI)Support Specialist (SS)Trainer (T)Release Manager (RM)
Analyze and optimize business processesRCIIIA
Develop tailored workflow solutionsCRIIIA
Ensure seamless integrationCCRIIA
Provide expert advice on processesRCCIIA
Offer ongoing support and maintenanceICCRIA
Train users on workflow managementIIIIRA
Conduct compliance auditsRIIIIA
Analyze workflow performanceRCIIIA
Test workflowsIRIIIA
Design scalable workflow solutionsCCRIIA
Oversee implementation and deploymentIIIIIR
Manage user access and configurationsIIIRIA


  • R = Responsible (The person who does the work to complete the task)

  • A = Accountable (The person who is ultimately answerable for the task)

  • C = Consulted (The person who provides information and support for the task)

  • I = Informed (The person who needs to be kept informed of the progress)

Summary of Workflow Implementers' Roles

  • Business Process Analyst (BPA): Focuses on analyzing, optimizing, and auditing business processes, providing expert advice, and analyzing workflow performance.

  • Workflow Developer (WD): Develops tailored workflow solutions and tests workflows.

  • System Integrator (SI): Ensures seamless integration and designs scalable workflow solutions.

  • Support Specialist (SS): Offers ongoing support and manages user access and configurations.

  • Trainer (T): Trains users on workflow management.

  • Release Manager (RM): Oversees the entire workflow implementation process and ensures successful deployment.

This RACI table and role consolidation help streamline responsibilities, ensuring clarity and efficiency in workflow implementation.

I see these different roles and applications of workflows are fascinating, but what-if we could leverage the power of workflow engines in Kubernetes? Let's explore that next.

  • Camunda: Known for its flexible and scalable BPMN-based workflow engine.

  • Apache Airflow: Widely used for orchestrating complex data engineering workflows.

  • Temporal: Focuses on managing complex, long-running business processes.

  • Zeebe: A scalable, high-performance workflow engine for microservices orchestration. - Zeebe is the workflow and decision engine that powers Camunda Cloud.

  • Activiti: A lightweight workflow and Business Process Management (BPM) platform.

Popular Workflow Engines

Popular Workflow Engines

Important Features and Components of a Workflow Engine


SRE-M, the acronym for Scalability, Reliability, Extensibility, and Monitoring, represents the key features of a robust workflow engine:

  • Scalability: Ability to handle growing volumes of tasks and processes.

  • Reliability: Ensuring high availability and fault tolerance.

  • Extensibility: Supporting custom task types and dynamic workflow definitions.

  • Monitoring: Real-time tracking and reporting of workflow execution.


  • Task Executors: Perform the actual work defined in the tasks.

  • Orchestrator: Manages the execution flow of tasks.

  • Persistence Layer: Stores workflow definitions, state, and history.

  • User Interface: Allows users to design, deploy, and monitor workflows.

  • APIs: Enable integration with external systems and services.

The goal of great workflow engines is not only to provide an end user's seamless experience, but also an amazing developer experience for defining, executing, and monitoring workflows. This ensures that business processes run smoothly and efficiently.

How to Implement a Workflow Engine in Kubernetes?

Implementing a workflow engine in Kubernetes involves several steps to ensure seamless execution, scalability, and resilience of workflows:

  1. Containerize the Workflow Engine: Package the workflow engine and its dependencies into a container image.

  2. Deploy Using Helm: Utilize Helm charts for deploying the workflow engine, ensuring easy management and scalability.

  3. Define Workflows with CRDs: Use Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) to define workflows and tasks within the Kubernetes cluster.

  4. Leverage Kubernetes Features: Utilize Kubernetes features like auto-scaling, monitoring, and logging to enhance the workflow engine's capabilities.

  5. Integrate with CI/CD: Implement Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to automate the deployment and updating of workflows.

  6. Monitor and Optimize: Use Kubernetes-native monitoring tools (e.g., Prometheus, Grafana) to monitor workflow execution and optimize performance.

This process may not be easy, mainly if the engine is not natively designed for Kubernetes (cloud-enabled) and there is a big chance that you will need to write custom code to integrate the workflow engine with Kubernetes. Nevertheless, still, the benefits of implementing a workflow engine in Kubernetes are immense.

If you work with a legacy workflow engine that is not cloud-native, you can still leverage Kubernetes to run your workflows with a "lift-and-shift" approach. This involves containerizing your workflow engine and deploying it on Kubernetes, but they may not take full advantage of Kubernetes' features and capabilities. If you take this approach, you need to commit at the bottom of your heart to migrate to a cloud-native workflow engine in the future, to fully embrace the power of Kubernetes.

Experience the Power of Workflow Engines in Kubernetes with Quawamunda

As developers and DevOps practitioners, the need for scalable, reliable, and flexible workflow automation is paramount. Quawamunda brings together the robust orchestration capabilities of traditional workflow engines with the dynamic, cloud-native environment of Kubernetes.

Quawamunda - The Future of Cloud-Native Workflows

What is Quawamunda?

Quawamunda is a cloud-native workflow engine by design that leverages Kubernetes to automate complex business processes and routine tasks. It combines the scalability and resilience of Kubernetes with the flexibility and efficiency of workflow engines, providing a seamless workflow automation experience.

Quawamunda is a compound word derived from "Quarkus", a Kubernetes-native Java framework, and "Camunda", a popular BPMN-based workflow engine. The name symbolizes the fusion of cloud-native technologies and workflow automation, paving the way for the future of cloud-native workflows. In Spanish it sounds like "Caguama" which means loggerhead turtle, a species of sea turtle, and in Mexican slang, it means a big beer bottle, so it's a fun name to remember (at least for Spanish speakers). 🐢🍺

Key Features of Quawamunda

The SRE-M features of Quawamunda ensure a robust and efficient workflow automation experience:

  • Scalability: Run each workflow as a Kubernetes Pod, ensuring seamless scaling. Workflows end up being a series of Pods orchestrated by Kubernetes, a group of microservices that work together to complete a business process.

  • Reliability: Leverage Kubernetes' fault-tolerance and high availability features. Kubernetes ensures that the workflow engine is always available and can recover from failures quickly. The engine is implemented to be stateless, so it can be easily scaled horizontally and cold-started.

  • Extensibility: Define and manage workflows using Kubernetes CRDs. Kubernetes Custom Resource Definitions (CRDs) allow you to define custom resources and controllers, enabling you to extend Kubernetes' capabilities to meet your workflow automation needs.

  • Monitoring: Utilize Kubernetes-native monitoring tools for real-time tracking and reporting. Kubernetes provides built-in monitoring and logging capabilities, allowing you to monitor workflow execution and optimize performance, and of course, you can integrate with your favorite monitoring tools like Prometheus and Grafana.

Why Choose Quawamunda?

Quawamunda - The Future of Workflow Automation in Kubernetes

It may sound like SCI-FI, but Quawamunda is the future of workflow automation in Kubernetes. Here's why you should choose Quawamunda:

  • Scalability: Run each workflow task as a Kubernetes Pod, ensuring seamless scaling.

  • Competence: Automate routine tasks and complex business processes with ease and efficiency.

  • Incorruptibility: Benefit from Kubernetes' fault-tolerance and high availability features.

  • Flexibility: Easily define and manage workflows using Kubernetes CRDs.

  • Integration: Leverage Kubernetes' extensive ecosystem for monitoring, logging, and CI/CD.

Get Started with Quawamunda

Are you ready to revolutionize your workflow automation with Quawamunda? Dive into the future of cloud-native workflows and experience unparalleled scalability and resilience. Share your thoughts in the comments if you're interested in a detailed implementation guide and the code to create your own Quawamunda version.

Join us in pioneering the next generation of workflow automation. Challenge yourself to innovate and push the boundaries of what's possible with Kubernetes and workflow engines. Let's build the future together with Quawamunda!

Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates and insights on cloud-native workflows.


Workflow engines are not just about automating tasks; they are about modeling complex business processes, implementing business rules, and driving efficiency across enterprises. By leveraging workflow engines in Kubernetes, you can automate routine tasks, streamline business processes, and improve operational efficiency. Whether you're a developer or a DevOps practitioner, it's time to experience the power of workflow engines in Kubernetes. Take your business efficiency to the next level with Quawamunda!

Are you ready to unleash the power of workflow engines in Kubernetes? Share your thoughts in the comments and let's start the conversation!

Let's build the future of cloud-native workflows together. Go Rebels! ✊🏼


Did you find this article valuable?

Support La Rebelion Labs by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!