ESOCC 2017 – Oslo

The past 27, 28 and 29 of September were dedicated to the 6th European Conference on Service-Oriented and Cloud Computing (ESOCC) in Oslo, Norway. It is one of the traditional community-run conferences in Europe with a cloud and community history dating back into the year 2012 and a (web) service history of about a decade before that. As in previous years, it featured the co-located event CloudWays: the 3rd International Workshop on Cloud Adoption and Migration, which is focused on cloud applications more than on infrastructure and platforms. The topic is thus of high interest for the Service Prototyping Lab and specially for its Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) research initiative in which we partner with Swiss SMEs to explore new cloud-native designs and architectures for elastically scalable, resilient, price-efficient and portable services. Our participation was therefore centered around the presentation of research results from one of these partnerships.

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Probabilistically Stateful Serverless Web Applications

Among the lectures offered by the Service Prototyping Lab is Scripting. Aimed at students of advanced studies, it teaches essential practical programming skills and conveys approaches how to automate the exploration of data retrieved from the Internet. Python is taught as programming languages and consequently a Python (Django) web application has thus far been used to automatically score the results submitted by students of a particular advanced task towards the end of the lecture. There’s nothing wrong with Django per se, but its roots have evidently been in the era of monolithic web applications. Armored with our Function-as-a-Service experience we decided to drop it and go purely serverless. In production.

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ROSCon 2017 – Vancouver

For third time in a row we attended ROSCon, this year held in beautiful Vancouver.
Our goals besides seeing the newest trends in the ROS and Robotics universe first hand, and finding some new robotic hardware directly from manufacturers, was to support our partners from Rapyuta Robotics (RR) in presenting and performing a demo of the first preview of their upcoming Cloud Robotics Platform.

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Migrate OpenShift applications with os2os

One of the desirable properties which users expect in a modern cloud-hosted application is portability. Users want to migrate portable applications between private and public clouds or between different cloud regions. With container images as portable application implementations and emerging sophisticated container runtimes, this should be an easy task. But when a containerised application starts to become more complex, a container platform or an orchestration tool needs to be deployed. This add specifics blueprints and together with the persistent data makes the migration of the application tough. This means that the application is not in a condition to be moved as easily between clouds or even between the orchestration tools or container platforms, losing the desirable portability property. With the idea in mind that the next generation of Cloud-Native Applications must be deployable to different cloud providers as the requirements change, we are proud to announce the first proof of concept release of os2os, a tool to migrate cloud-native applications between OpenShift installations. While our research on application migration is not limited to this single container platform, we see it as one of the more popular and technically interesting ones.

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A report on the 8th Swiss SDN workshop at last!

Following the rhythm, we held the 8th Swiss SDN workshop/meetup in mid-June this year. It was a great a pleasure and experience to get the networkers together for a full-day event hosted at ETH Zurich. We learnt about new solutions and implementations from the talks/demos given by our colleagues from the academia and the private sector.

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Cyclops 3.0 release with rule engine

Our flagship open-source framework for cloud billing – Cyclops has matured to version 3.0 today. Over the past several months, Cyclops team at SPLab has gathered community feedback, updated the architecture, changed the database backends and improved the reliability of the framework.

Cyclops 3.0 release includes:

  • New pricing and billing rule engine
  • PostgreSQL/TimescaleDB database backend
  • HTTPS support and message acknowledgments
  • More robust and failure resilient microservices

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Openshift 3.6 on Openstack – developer cluster setup

The ECRP Project uses Kubernetes/Openshift as the base for its Cloud-Robotics PaaS.  Apart from running robotic applications distributed across robots and clouds, we wanted to assess whether latency to the closest public data-center (Frankfurt for both AWS and GKE) would be low enough to run common SLAM and navigation apps. The short answer is YES, although our work there continues.

Thanks to the work of Seán, Bruno, and Remo, the ICCLab has a brand new Openstack cluster. The Cloud-Robotics crew decided to take it for a spin, and use some research grant money on public clouds also for other activities (e.g., FaaS / Serverless computing).

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Paraguayan Perspective on Cloud Applications

The Itaipu Technology Park (PTI) in Paraguay, founded in 2009, is involved with scientific and technological development which contributes positively to regional development. Several of its centres with a total number of 90 engineers and researchers put emphasis on ICT integration and the challenges connected with it. Among them are diverse plans to use cloud applications. In this context, the Service Prototyping Lab of Zurich University of Applied Sciences (SPLab) in Switzerland is conducting a two-week guest lecturing and research exchange presenting its research initiatives and outputs on the PTI premises in close proximity to Ciudad del Este.

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Supporting Container based Application Deployment to Heterogeneous Hardware using Rancher and Swarm

Rancher is a container management platform focused on delivering containers on any infrastructure. It has support for multiple environments which could make use of one of the multiple container orchestrators available (at the time of this writing) – Cattle, Kubernetes, Swarm and Mesos. In our previous blog post we showed how we built rancher-agent containers for arm64 systems in a Cattle environment. We made a few improvements since then, mostly on porting a Swarm environment to arm64, and these are documented in this blog post. Continue reading