Visitors from Itaipu Technology Park

Following up on the previous visit from Service Prototyping Lab (SPLab) at Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland to Itaipu Technology Park (PTI) in Paraguay, two young investigators from PTI’s Centre of Information and Communication Technology (CTIC) with support from CONACYT are now visiting us at the SPLab and more generally in Switzerland.

Yessica Bogado and Walter Benítez will spend some weeks to get to know the local research and development situation, get information about our ongoing research initiatives, dive into solving some hard questions, and discuss ideas for future collaboration. Furthermore, they will explore novel research methods and prototypes specifically in emerging technology areas such as cloud-native applications and serverless applications, as well as upcoming hybrid container/cloud function applications.

Walter Benítez, Yessica Bogado and the host Josef Spillner

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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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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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Rightsizing Kubernetes applications

Applications are increasingly delivered for cloud deployment as set of composite artefacts such as containers. The composition descriptions vary widely: There are Docker compose files, Vamp blueprints, Kubernetes descriptors, OpenShift service instance templates, and more. Ideally, taking these compositions and deploying them somewhere would always work. In practice, it is more complex than that. Commercial production environments are often constrained depending on the chosen pricing plan. Many applications would still run but due to over-estimating deployment information do not “fit” into the target environment. In this blog post, we look at how to “right-size” an application deployed into such a constrained Kubernetes instance, and furthermore propose a tool to automate this process.

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Container management with Kubernetes: Practical Example

Following the series that we started with the Vamp Blog post, we proceed to take a look of one more of the container management tools which includes running a simple practical example while we pay attention to the main advantages and limitations. This series happens in the context of the work on cloud-native applications in the Service Prototyping Lab to explore how easily developers can decompose their applications and fit them into the emerging platforms.

On this occasion, we inspect Kubernetes, one of the most popular open-source container orchestration tool for production environments. Kubernetes builds upon 15 years of experience of running production workloads at Google. Moreover the community of Kubernetes appears to be the biggest among all the open source container management communities. Kubernetes provides a Slack channel with more than 8000 users who share ideas and are often Kubernetes engineers. Also, one can find community support in Stack Overflow using the tag kubernetes. Inside the Github repository, we can see more than 970 contributors, 1500 watches, 18500 starts and 6000 forks. In the community it is popular to abbreviate the system as K8s. 

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Container Management with Vamp: Practical Example

In the world of containerized architectures, there are different and new container deployment and orchestration tools which help turning monolithic applications into running composite microservices. Some of them are intended to be used in a development environment like Docker-Compose or in a production environment like Kubernetes, Docker-Swarm or Marathon. Also, we can observe some tools executing atop other container schedulers, like Rancher or Vamp. In this blog post, we take a look at the latter while at the same time we continue to inspect the alternatives in order to compare all solutions eventually.

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Impressions from the UCC 2015 Conference, and Call for 2016

On four days last year, from December 7 to 10 in 2015, two representatives of ICCLab and SPLab participated actively at the 8th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC 2015) which attracted about 150 academic and industrial researchers to the island of Cyprus where the University of Cyprus hosted the event close to the city of Limassol. The high density of technical talks, tutorials and poster presentations has conveyed solutions to the current and even near future issues in cloud computing.

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Wanted: Senior Researcher / Researcher in Cloud Native Applications

The Service Engineering (SE, group at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) / Institute of Applied Information Technology (InIT) in Switzerland is seeking applications for a full-time position at its Winterthur facility.

The successful candidate will work in the Service Prototyping Lab (SPLab) and will contribute to the Cloud Native Applications (CNA) research initiative, see

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ICCLab @ 5th Conference on Complex Adaptive Systems

On November 4th 2015 Konstantin Benz, researcher at ICCLab, presented an adaptive cloud application in the “Complex Adaptive Systems” conference in San Jose, California. “Complex Adaptive Systems” is a conference organized by Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) which takes place every year and which includes topics like machine learning, data analytics and smart system architectures. Conference proceedings are published in the Procedia Computer Science journal by Elsevier.

The 5th Conference about “Complex Adaptive Systems” is dedicated to technologies that provide solutions to complex problems we face in everyday life. Complexity is everywhere. A complex system may be the traffic system in California which produces unforeseen traffic jams. Another complex system may be the power grid that delivers electric power to every household every day without any interruption. Or a complex system may be just the  order of your favorite cereals that land in your bowl for breakfast. Complex systems are more than just systems which are a little bit complicated to observe. Continue reading

MySQL Galera cluster with Fleet on CoreOS

In the context of the Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) Initiative at SPLab, we kicked off a few months ago a seed project with the aim of getting practical experience of the most common problems and pitfalls of re-architecting a legacy web application for the cloud. Here, we report on our experiences with a specific focus on the thorny problem of realizing a scalable, distributed database backend for such an application.

Cloud-native applications

The main characteristics of a cloud-native application is that it has to be resilient and elastic, and this has to be true for all the (micro)services and components that make up the application.

After choosing the Zurmo CRM application and making the Web server tier stateless, we concentrated on decomposing the application into containers, allowed multiple instances of Memcached to run concurrently, added a “dockerized” ELK stack for monitoring, and finally our own configurable auto-scaling engine (Dynamite).

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