Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Gregor Petri, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Solving the Problem of Cloud Interoperability

There are a number of organizations looking into solving the problem of cloud federation

Reuven Cohen's "Elastic Vapor" Blog

In the next few years the a key opportunity for the emerging cloud industry will be on defining a federated cloud ecosystem by connecting multiple cloud computing providers using an agreeing upon standard or interface. There are a number of organizations looking into solving the problem of cloud federation.

A fundamental challenge in creating and managing a globally decentralized cloud computing environment is that of maintaining consistent connectivity between various untrusted components that are capable of self-organization while remaining fault tolerant. In the next few years the a key opportunity for the emerging cloud industry will be on defining a federated cloud ecosystem by connecting multiple cloud computing providers using an agreeing upon standard or interface. In this post I will examine some of work being done in cloud federation ranging from adaptive authentication to modern P2P botnets.

Cloud Computing is undoubtedly a hot topic these days, lately it seems just about everyone is claiming to be a cloud of some sort. At Enomaly our focus is on the supposed "cloud enabler" Those daring enough to go out and create their very own computing clouds, either privately or publicly. In our work it has become obvious the the real problems are not in building these large clouds, but in maintaining them. Let me put it this way, deploying 50,000 machines is relatively straight forward, updating 50,000 machines or worst yet taking back control after a security exploit is not.

There are a number of organizations looking into solving the problem of cloud federation. Traditionally, there has been a lot of work done in the grid space. More recently, a notable research project being conducted by Microsoft called the “Geneva Framework" has been focusing on some the issues surrounding cloud federation. Geneva is described as a Claims Based Access Platform and is said to help simplify access to applications and other systems with an open and interoperable claims-based model.

In case you're not familiar with the claims authentication model, the general idea is using claims about a user, such as age or group membership, that are passed to obtain access to the cloud environment and to systems integrated with that environment. Claims could be built dynamically, picking up information about users and validating existing claims via a trusted source as the user traverses a multiple cloud environments. More simply, the concept allows for multiple providers to seamlessly interact with another. The model enables developers to incorporate various authentication models that works with any corporate identity system, including Active Directory, LDAPv3-based directories, application-specific databases and new user-centric identity models, such as LiveID, OpenID and InfoCard systems, including Microsoft’s CardSpace and Novell's Digital Me. For Microsoft, Authentication seems to be at heart of their interoperability focus. For anyone more microsoft inclined, Geneva is certainly worth a closer look.

For the more academically focused, I recommend reading a recent paper titled Decentralized Overlay for Federation of Enterprise Clouds published by Rajiv Ranjan and Rajkumar Buyya at the The University of Melbourne. The team outlines the need for cloud decentralization & federation to create a globalized cloud platform. In the paper they say that distributed cloud configuration should be considered to be decentralized if none of the components in the system are more important than the others, in case that one of the component fails, then it is neither more nor less harmful to the system than caused by the failure of any other component in the system. The paper also outlines the opportunities to use Peer2Peer (P2P) protocols as the basis for these decentralized systems.

The paper is very relevant given the latest discussions occurring in the cloud interoperability realm. The paper outlines several key problems areas:

  • Large scale – composed of distributed components (services, nodes, applications,users, virtualized computers) that combine together to form a massive environment. These days enterprise Clouds consisting of hundreds of thousands of computing nodes are common (Amazon EC2, Google App Engine,Microsoft Live Mesh) and hence federating them together leads to a massivescale environment;
  • Resource contention - driven by the resource demand pattern and a lack of
    cooperation among end-user’s applications, particular set of resources can get
    swamped with excessive workload, which significantly undermines the overall
    utility delivered by the system;
  • Dynamic – the components can leave and join the system at will.

Another topic of the paper is on the challenges in regards to the design and development of decentralized, scalable, self-organizing, and federated Cloud computing system as well as a applying the the characteristics of a peer-to-peer resource protocols, which they call Aneka-Federation. (I've tried to find any other references to Aneka, but it seems to be a term used solely withing the university of Melbourne, interesting none the less)

Also interesting was the problems they outline with earlier distributed computing projects such as [email protected] saying they these systems do not provide any support for multi-application and programming models. A major factors driving some of the more traditional users of grid technologies to the use of cloud computing.

One the of questions large scale cloud computing opens is not about how to many a few thousand machines, but how do you manage a few hundred thousand machines? A lot of the work being done in decentralized cloud computing can be traced back to the emergence of modern botnets. A recent paper titled "An Advanced Hybrid Peer-to-Peer Botnet" Ping Wang, Sherri Sparks, Cliff C. Zou at The University of Central Florida outlines some of the "opportunities" by examining the creation of a hybrid P2P botnet.

In the paper the UCF team outlines the problems encountered by P2P botnets which appear surprisingly similar to the problems being encountered by the cloud computing community. The paper lays out the following practical challenges faced by botmasters; (1). How to generate a robust botnet capable of maintaining control of its remaining bots even after a substantial portion of the botnet population has been removed by defenders? (2). How to prevent significant exposure of the network topology when some bots are captured by defenders? (3). How to easily monitor and obtain the complete information of a botnet by its botmaster? (4). How to prevent (or make it harder) defenders from detecting bots via their communication traffic patterns? In addition, the design should also consider many network related issues such as dynamic or private IP addresses and the diurnal online/offline property of bots. A very interesting read.

I am not condoning the use of botnets, but architecturally speaking we can learn a lot from our more criminally focused colleagues. Don't kid yourselves, they're already looking at ways to take control of your cloud and federation will be a key aspect in how you protect yourself and your users from being taken for a ride.

More Stories By Reuven Cohen

An instigator, part time provocateur, bootstrapper, amateur cloud lexicographer, and purveyor of random thoughts, 140 characters at a time.

Reuven is an early innovator in the cloud computing space as the founder of Enomaly in 2004 (Acquired by Virtustream in February 2012). Enomaly was among the first to develop a self service infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform (ECP) circa 2005. As well as SpotCloud (2011) the first commodity style cloud computing Spot Market.

Reuven is also the co-creator of CloudCamp (100+ Cities around the Globe) CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas and is the largest of the ‘barcamp’ style of events.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...