Conference Report : ConTEL 2015

This is an experience report of presenting a paper and attending the ConTEL 2015 conference.

The 13th Conference on Telecommunications was co-organized by Graz University of Technology and University of Zagreb at Graz in Austria. This edition of the conference focused primarily on Optical Communications and Near Field Communications. The conference was organized for two and half days and saw about 45 papers being presented.

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SafeSwissCloud

Title: Flexible Billing and Cyber Intelligence in Virtual Data Centres

Industry Partner: SafeSwissCloud

Research Partner: ICCLab, ZHAW

Funded byCommission for Technology and Innovation

Summary: Flexible billing in Virtual Data Centers allows Safe Swiss Cloud to easily apply various charging models for its products and services and thus better meet clients needs. Also, it provides its resellers and partners instant access to the flexible billing system and start making business immediately without having to invest in their own billing systems.

Cloud billing models currently in use do not deliver the required flexibility to streamline charging of existing and new cloud services with client’s needs nor do they deliver these capablities to 3rd party providers such as resellers and other partners.
Flexible billing will provide the required flexibility by introducing a highly customizable system. Flexible billing will be provided for Safe Swiss Cloud as well as its resellers and other partners

Cyber intelligence is a powerful security argument which will enable Safe Swiss Cloud to reach a client base with high security requirements. This will lead to additional clients Safe Swiss Cloud would otherwise not be able to acquire. Already today, with its current positioning, Safe Swiss Cloud attracts the interest of clients with high security requirements and consequently has to deliver on that.

The innovations proposed enable new business for resellers and partners to start selling secure Swiss cloud services immediately, with the help of a flexible rating, charging and billing system. The innovations also involve an intelligent mechanisms to detect internal and external security threats by monitoring and learning from resource consumption and network traffic patterns of the cloud.  Together these are designed to create a competitive edge for Safe Swiss Cloud.

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ICCLab vBrownBag Tech Talks @ OpenStack Summit

ICCLab had the privilege to talk about our latest research activities in “Rating, Charging & Billing” & “Performance analysis of live migrations in OpenStack” at the #vBrownBag Tech talks which were held as part of OpenStack summit in Paris. Here we provide a short summary of each talk and include the captured video for your viewing pleasure!

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Dynamic Rating, charging & billing for cloud – a micro service perspective

Rating, Charging & Billing (RCB) has been an ongoing research initiative from ICCLab. As part of this, a proof of concept (PoC) for OpenStack has been developed and released under Apache Licence v2.0. The PoC is a standalone application which can collect the resource usage data from Ceilometer for a certain time period interval, define a pricing function per user, determine the price for the resource used per user and eventually generate a bill and display it via a PDF. This is demonstrated through a video.

Even though the architecture used in PoC was able to demonstrate all the basic functionality of RCB, it was not extensible and not suitable for being deployed in the distributed environment. It was also observed that the data produced at different stages for RCB process had the potential to create a platform upon which other applications using them, could be built. With these drawbacks, an attempt has been made to redesign the architecture from a modular & micro service perspective.

Architecture

CYCLOPS Architecture

The new architecture has been split into multiple micro services consisting of User Data Records (UDR) Generator μ service, Rating & Charging μ service, Billing μ service, Message broker μ service and authentication service.

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OpenStack Summit – Deep Dive into Day 1

Towards a Self-Driving Infrastructure
With the increasing popularity of OpenStack, its imperative to have an easy process to deploy and maintain it. In this regard the researchers from Tsinghua University along with Huawei have developed a “Deployment as a Service” called Compass.
The talk described a use case of deploying about 200 VMs for a Big Data application with the main phases being installation and operation of the whole setup. The fundamental problem of operational knowledge not being transferred due to personal change was mentioned as  a main roadblock in projects like these and this is being tackled by the Compass project where the configuration steps have been reduced to bare minimum. The researchers from Huawei mentioned that the project was designed by keeping extensibility & automation as a main feature and also is independent of Openstack. The code has been opensourced and is in a stable state.
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Experience with OpenStack in Telco Infrastructure Transformation
With the wide spread adoption of NFV among the telcos, day 1 had an interesting panel discussion between the cloud vendors and the telco players which included Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, Huawei & Mirantis. From a cloud vendor perspective, Mirantis had an opinion that the virual infrastructure manager like NFV enhances the agility of a carrier and as a follow up quick survey of the audience, many attendees were aware of NFV and its advantages. Telecom companies were more concerned with the service assurance and the impact of API change that sets in due to frequent update of the open source project like NFV. However both the parties agreed to open source model being the right way forward for standardization especially in the telecom domain.
Load Balancing as a Service v2.0 – Juno and Beyond 
 LBaaS extension allows the tenants load-balance their VMs traffic. For the Juno release cloud providers such as Rackspace, HP, etc. have partnered with the community and load balancer vendors  to redefine the load balancing as a service APIs (API v2.0) to address tenant needs. Load Balancing as a Service also enables adjusting of application resources to changing demands by scaling in and scaling out of the application resources.

Srikanta Patanjali

srikantaSrikanta Patanjali is currently pursuing Master’s in Software Engineering at Hof University of Applied Science in Germany. Previously he completed his Bachelor’s (NMIT) and Post Graduate Diploma (IIIT-B) studies in Bangalore, India. He then worked for two years at IBM India and developed order capturing applications and tools for telecom industry using Java Webservices.

Srikanta has been an active IEEE volunteer for the past 7 years. He enjoys trekking, loves to explore places, meet people from different cultures & occasionally blogs.

At the ICCLab as an IAESTE trainee, Srikanta will be working along with Piyush on the topic of Rating, Charging & Billing for cloud.