BOSH Release for the Ceph Object Storage Broker Now Available

by Omar Mahdi Kais

After announcing the broker sometime ago, we immediately started working to create a BOSH release for the broker and provide users with maximum freedom in how they want to deploy the broker and where they want to use it.

We wanted to ensure that the broker remains very simple to deploy, while simultaneously remaining easily configurable. In addition, since we are deploying on BOSH we wanted to handle as many dependencies as possible.

To accomplish these goals, we moved all service and plan configuration inside the broker’s deployment manifest, which we made sure to keep as simple as possible. Along with this, we also compile the source code on BOSH when deploying so that the user isn’t required to have Go installed if he wants to use the latest source code.

A simple deployment script is also provided so that time from repository clone to production is reduced to a minimum. This new repository along with complete documentation is now publicly available here, so feel free to use it and provide us with any feedback you might have.

Announcing the First Open Source Ceph Object Storage Service Broker

by Omar Mahdi Kais

We are happy to announce the public release of the first open source Ceph object storage service broker that is compliant with the Open Service Broker API V2, now available on GitHub.

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Sharing Our BOSH Utilities with the Community

by Omar Mahdi Kais

At the ICCLab we make extensive use of BOSH when working on our PaaS systems. We use it to deploy Cloud Foundry, different kinds of services and our own applications and tools on our internal OpenStack cloud.

While working with BOSH and the Cloud Foundry ecosystem in general, we create all kinds of different tools and small scripts to help make our lives easier, improve our workflows and speed up work.

From time to time, some of these small programs become an essential part of the work we do and improve our workflows in such a way that we think the wider Cloud Foundry community will also find them useful.

As such, we have created the bosh-utils GitHub repository to host all these utility programs that are small enough to not necessarily need their own repositories. So make sure to watch the repository for any new utilities we add and any new updates released.

The currently available utilities are:

  • Get-CredHub-Var
  • Get-Var

“Get-CredHub-Var” is a command line program that lets you very easily search and retrieve any secret stored on CredHub, with search results sorted and categorized by the BOSH deployment the secret is in. You can also make a timestamped backup by using the “backup” argument.

The “Get-Var” utility is similar to the “Get-CredHub-Var” except that instead of acting on CredHub, it searches for and retrieves secrets from local variable files that you specify.

More information and usage details for each is available on the repository. Also please feel free to give us your feedback, open issues or make pull requests. We are very happy to have community engagement and contribution.

Brief report on the ICDCS’18 conference

by Josef Spillner

The 38th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS’18) took place from July 2 – 5, 2018, in Vienna, Austria. This blog post briefly summarises from our view as participating researchers from the Service Prototyping Lab some key aspects on distributed applications and general take-away inspirations of the well-established conference.

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The role of FaaS in mixed-technology cloud and scientific computing applications

by Josef Spillner

The computer science department of AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków has produced substantial analytical research contributions to assess the suitability of cloud functions as a basis for scientific workflows and computing platforms. Therefore, representing our similar research interests in the Service Prototyping Lab at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, we arranged an intensive two-day exchange including a research seminar, some live experiments and many inspiring discussions. This blog post summarises the talks and experimental results and provides an overview about evident trends and possibilities for future research in this area.

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Call for Contributions: IEEE/ACM UCC and BDCAT 2018, Zurich, Switzerland

by Josef Spillner

Block the dates in your calendar: December 17 to 21 is high cloud time in Switzerland!

Two computer science research laboratories at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, the Service Prototyping Lab and the ICCLab, are jointly going to host the 11th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC 2018) and the 5th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Big Data Computing, Applications and Technologies (BDCAT 2018) along with a number of satellite and co-located events from December 17 to 21 in Zurich, Switzerland. This pre-christmas conference week with prestigious conferences is a unique opportunity to bring together international researchers and practitioners in central Europe. Please consider supporting the event with corporate donations, tutorials, cloud challenge entries and other contributions. Your chance to demonstrate convincing cloud technology to the world! Contact the conference organisers for any details.

Technical paper submissions are furthermore open to a number of collocated workshops. Among them we would like to point out the 1st Workshop on Quality Assurance in the Context of Cloud Computing (QA3C 2018) and the 1st Workshop on Cloud-Native Applications Design and Experience (CNAX 2018) in which our research staff proudly serves as co-chairs. In total, 9 workshops are accepting papers now, a doctoral forum accepts research proposals, and a cloud challenge supports practical (demo-able) contributions with emphasis on reproducible impactful results.

Finally, we would like to mention specifically the subsequent European Symposium on Serverless Computing and Applications (ESSCA 2018) on December 21st which as a mixed industry-academic-community event acknowledges that FaaS-based applications have become mainstream but challenges remain. Got a talk on that topic? Just propose it informally to enrich the technical meeting with different perspectives. Along with ESSCA, on December 20 there will be the 4th edition of the International Workshop on Serverless Computing as part of UCC.

SPLab Colloquium on Serverless Continuum

by Josef Spillner

The third invited talk in our colloquium series in 2018 was given by Martin Garriga, at that time finishing his time as post-doctoral fellow at Politecnico di Milano’s Deep SE group, and now continuing as lecturer at the Informatics Faculty at National University of Comahue (UNComa) in Patagonia, Argentina. Martin, like several people at the Service Prototyping Lab, has been interested for quite some time in serverless computing, as evidenced by his ESOCC 2017 article on empowering low-latency applications with OpenWhisk and related tools (see details). In his colloquium talk, entitled «Towards the Serverless Continuum», he reflected on this work and proposed a wider view on a spectrum from mobile applications over edge nodes to, eventually, powerful cloud platforms.

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CLOSER’18 conference report

by Josef Spillner

In the European services and cloud computing research community, the International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science (CLOSER) has been a meeting point for academics and applied researchers for almost a decade. This year, CLOSER 2018 took place in Santa Cruz at the Portuguese island of Madeira. As for any commercially organised conference series, there are certain expectations for how well the conference is run, and there is a lot to learn for us to drive community-organised conferences and to sense the participation in cloud conferences in general. On the technical side, we presented an international collaboration work at this conference, and we dived into the respective works of others. This blog post reports about our interpretation of both the organisational and technical aspects of CLOSER 2018.

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Science Meets Industry and Innovation Alignment

by Josef Spillner

Often, researchers produce results which are neither re-used nor transferred to practice, and businesses ask for solutions which have been existing for a long time albeit perhaps not in packaged and polished form. Such misunderstandings should not happen; rather, the goal must be to align the innovation needs of businesses and the wider industry with the capabilities of researchers. For this purpose, Science Meets Industry has been proposed as a new event format to bring together scientific researchers and practitioners, in particular in the domain of information technology.

The first Science Meets Industry event was jointly organised by Silicon Saxony and its Cool Silicon cluster of excellence, and hosted by four co-located Fraunhofer institutes. Josef Spillner from the Service Prototyping Lab at Zurich University of Applied Sciences had been invited as keynote speaker and shared his thoughts about «Serverless Cyber-Physical Applications» which connected well with other talk topics during the event. This blog post not only reports briefly about the event, but details the thoughts behind talk and reflects on the need for innovation alignment by incorporating feedback and additional ideas from the discussions after the talk.

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Cloud Function Marketplaces as Enablers of Serverless Computing Communities

by Josef Spillner

In April 2017 we had announced work on an open marketplace for cloud functions, lambdas and other serverless application artefacts and launched a first static website at Github Pages. The project was sidelined, but in January 2018 we made the implementation called Function Hub publicly available and have since been running a stateless dynamic demo instance with the backend running Snafu in passive mode in our APPUiO Swiss Container Platform account. You can use any deployment tool (awscli, wsk, gcloud) to submit your cloud functions and make them available globally.

It took Amazon a bit longer until February 2018 to announce their AWS Serverless Application Repository but of course there it is now with, at the time of writing, 181 entries. We assume that it will grow rapidly and developers will very much rely on it in the future, similarly to how Docker Hub has become an essential ingredient for modern application development, and see the need for researchers to (1) gain insight into cloud function marketplace usage, (2) propose superior designs, and (3) from an applied perspective of strengthening the economies of souvereign countries, assist in developing viable alternatives. This blog post therefore briefly discusses our state of function hub design and prototypical architecture which is shared work with the Distributed Systems and Parallel Computing research group at Itaipu Technology Park, Paraguay.

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