ElasTest Passes European Commission’s Review Successfully!

On July 18th in Brussels project partners presented ElasTest results and progress to a tribunal of three independent experts appointed by the European Commission and the EC Project Officer. The key project objective is to improve the efficiency of testing large-scale complex software systems. The ElasTest project is coordinated by URJC. ZHAW’s ICCLab is a key project partner delivering research and technology in the area of service delivery, monitoring and billing. 

The objective of this review was to evaluate the project progress and to show all technical evolution and of course check on the administrative coordination of the first 18 months. For assessing the project, the three reviewers analysed all the public and private information related to the project.

We had an 8 hours evaluation meeting and we were able to show the progress made in research, innovation, demos, exploitation plans, sustainability, and coordination issues of course were  also presented. The most challenging part was to show the demonstration of the software developed by the different project partners: a one-hour session in which all the software artifacts were successfully demonstrated, including the ZHAW work. All of these efforts were welcomed by the reviewers. Finally, after an initial deliberation, the reviewers communicated their decision to approve the project and congratulated the team on a successful review!

The project is now focused on the second phase: once the initial platform has been developed is integrated and its up-and-running, most of our efforts will aim to dedicate to research and create a community of users around ElasTest.

For more information on ElasTest checkout our site and code repositories.

Cyclops 2.0 supports Ceilometer Data Collection!

As announced in our last blogpost about the official release of Cyclops 2.0, which is finally out and is adding new features.

The collector that is being released today is the Ceilometer Usage Collector. This collector enables Cyclops 2.0 to provide full rating, charging and billing support to an OpenStack deployment using the data provided by Ceilometer.

In addition to the announced features, our team has pushed forward in the development of the new Usage Collectors. The Usage Collectors are the entry point of data for the Framework itself. They consist of isolated microservices that gather data from a specific provider and distributes it via RabbitMQ to the UDR microservice.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 16 Continue reading

Cyclops 2.0 is here!

Our flagship open-source framework for cloud billing – Cyclops has matured to version 2.0 today. Over the past several months, Cyclops team at ICCLab have gathered community feedbacks, worked systematically updating and re-updating the framework core architecture to make the whole work-flow of billing of cloud services clean and seamless.

The core components in principle are still same as in our previous releases: udr, rc and billing micro-services, but they have been written again from scratch with main focus on modularity, extensibility, and elasticity. The framework is highly configurable and can be deployed as per the unique needs of billing use-cases of any organization.

RCB Cyclops architecture 2.0

RCB Cyclops architecture 2.0

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OpenStack Nova Events are now Billable with Cyclops

Nova manages all compute resources in OpenStack. Today, the Cyclops team is announcing support for compute events such as VM Creation, Deletion, and Modification for billing purposes in Cyclops. All this by directly tapping into the OpenStack message bus for processing critical events in real-time. Continue reading

Visualization of usage prediction in Cyclops

Cost and usage prediction can be a powerful tool in the hands of cloud operators as well as end users. Forecasting can help operators gain insights into the future trends in demand of compute, storage and network assets. From an end users’ perspective, forecasting enables them to perform budgeting. ICCLab’s RCB Initiative has been actively pursuing this subject for incorporation into Cyclops framework.

A few weeks ago, Cyclops gained a linear predictor as an additional feature, but it was not integrated in the dashboard module. In this week’s release the Cyclops team is happy to announce the Graphic Interface support for Prediction Engine. Furthermore, the prediction engine now supports random-forest prediction algorithm.

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MCN and ICCLab Demo at EUCNC

As part of our on-going work in MobileCloud Networking the project demonstrated at this year’s EUCNC, held in a very warm (> 35*C !!!) Paris, France.

The MCN demonstration was built on top of a standard cloud infrastructure, leveraging key technologies of OpenStack and OpenShift and used (open source outputs of MCN, namely hurtle – the cloud orchestration framework of the ICCLab which is used throughout MCN to enable service delivery. Also demonstrated was the use of the ICCLab’s billing solution, Cyclops that is orchestrated using Hurtle. All of this delivers a NFV-compatible, on-demand, composed service instance.

The MobileCloud Networking (MCN) approach and architecture was demonstrated aiming to show new innovative revenue streams based on new service offerings and the optimisation of CAPEX/OPEX. Of particular note and focus, the work highlighted results of cloudifying the Radio Access Network (RAN) and delivering this capability as an on-demand service.

Supporting this focus was the composition of an end-to-end service (RAN, EPC, IMS, DNS, Monitoring & Billing) instance via the MCN dashboard. This demo service is standards compliant and features interoperable implementations of ETSI NFV, OCCI and 3GPP software.

 

CYCLOPS Dashboard: Usage visualization, rate configuration & billing for OpenStack

The first version of the Rating, Charging and Billing Dashboard is now available on Github! The dashboard is targeted towards a cloud service provider and their client. It has different views for an end user and a cloud administrator. The dashboard interacts with the different micro services of Rating, Charging & Billing to get the relevant data and for storing the configuration settings.

Following are some of the salient features of the dashboard –

  • OpenAM powered authentication and authorization.
  • Association of OpenStack account with the dashboard account
  • Separate view for an end user and a cloud administrator
  • User rights management
  • Visualization of resources consumed
  • Enabling different rate policy for cloud resources
  • Visualization of the generated rate of a resource
  • Visualization of charge data generated for a user

Let’s have a look at the features in detail:  Continue reading

Rating, charging and billing for the clouds – Cyclops demo

In the past few months, the ICCLab has been developing a generic rating-charging-billing engine that would offer cloud service providers a modular framework that enables dynamic pricing activities and distributed design. The model closely follows the general accounting process, in the same time providing a lot of flexibility due to the loosely-coupled design. The platform is currently being developed in Python on top of OpenStack using its Ceilometer component for collection and extraction of the metered data. To enable this facility, we have created a custom Ceilometer client that uses REST APIs to get the needed data records. The key architectural components are:

  • Mediation module: The data coming from the monitoring devices needs to be combined in a single user session and transformed in a common format.
  • Charging module: The rating engine collects the usage records and applies the appropriate pricing strategy.
  • Billing module: The basic billed amount in a billing cycle is generated by aggregating the charge records and readjusts it by applying discounts, penalties, taxation etc.
  • User/Management interface: The service can be accessed by a web-based user-interface that allows configuration of every aspect of the RCB process.

In the video below, a demo of the first Cyclops prototype is being shown. In the scenario, we take a look at the basic admin features: listing all the tenants and their respective users, checking the user status, calculating the accumulated cost per user, as well as starting a periodic counter for the specific user. The facility for defining the pricing function for a particular user, allows the admin to choose some of the available meters and apply standard arithmetics to get the desired formula.

This is the first prototype for our RCB solution. In future, the platform would offer more advanced rating and charging models with the support for discounts, taxation, penalties etc, as well as support for other cloud platforms.