Vienna Software Seminar: DevOps and Continuous-*

Vienna, the second-largest city in the German-speaking world, had become a meeting place earlier this week for software and service engineers who explore the crossroads of software architecture, DevOps processes and continuous-* (software development, integration, delivery) approaches. The 1st Vienna Software Seminar had mixed business and academic participants and has been of particular interest to architects and practitioners who want to migrate applications or related processes into cloud environments and are in need of relevant methods and tools. With its interactive agile format and focus on break-out groups, the seminar was structured so that topics could be discussed in detail and grouped by interest. This report summarises the four-day event including some highlights from selected discussions from a participant perspective.

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UCC 2017 Coverage – Day 1

Our own researchers Piyush and Josef are in Austin, the capital of the lone star state Texas to attend the current iteration of IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing which takes place in conjunction with the International Conference on Big Data Computing, Applications and Technologies. ICCLab’s and SPLab’s recent research results have been accepted as multiple peer-reviewed workshop papers and a tutorial presented on the first day and a work in progress poster which will be presented in the next days.

In this series of blog posts, starting with this one, we will present our views and analysis of the results that will be presented at this event by cloud researchers from around the world.

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Cloud-Native Microservices Reference Architecture

How are cloud-native applications engineered? In contrast to the increasing popularity of the topic, there are surprisingly few reference applications available. In the previous blogpost we described a first version of a prototypical document management application consisting of composed containers which is called ARKIS Microservices. We elaborated on the challenges involved when designing and developing a cloud-native application. In addition, we showed some details about the architecture and functionalities of version 2.5 of this generic reference application .

In this blogpost, we now dive deeper into the architecture of the latest version 3.3, paying attention to each component. The document management software is a cloud-native application based on a microservices architecture. The software permits multiple tenants to manage their documents (create, read, update, delete and search patterns in documents). It manages the different tenants and offers different isolation models to store the documents of a tenant. Furthermore, the services are discoverable through declarative service descriptions, and their use is billed according to a pay-per-use scheme.

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Reflections on Teaching Internet Service Prototyping

Our lab (Service Prototyping Lab) offers a unique homonymous elective module on the bachelor’s level in computer science at the School of Engineering at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW): Internet Service Prototyping. In the recently concluded semester term, the module was organised for the first time. Several students were brave enough to vote this combined Monday-morning lecture and lab into their curriculum which takes place in the 5th semester for full-time students and slightly later for part-time students of computer science. This post reflects on the educational motivation, the design of the course, the didactic and technological concepts, and some expected and unexpected results in the wake of rapid technology changes on a monthly basis.

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Introducing Podilizer: Automated Java code translator for AWS Lambda

Overview

Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) is a relatively novel approach to run fine-grained code on the cloud. Almost all major cloud providers have opened such services in recent months. The approach still needs to be investigated in terms of evaluation, use-cases, performance and programmability. The first step of research was to overview the FaaS providers and to estimate their features and technical characteristics. The results were described in our previous blog-post. The FaaS paradigm allows one to write light-weight hosted functions targeted on a certain task and upload them to the cloud, or even author them online in Azure and Bluemix, for instance. But what if the user already has an existing application and would like to move it to a FaaS platform, or in marketing terms, to a “serverless” architecture. The Podilizer tool aims to perform an automated translation of existing Java code into uploadable functions and to deploy them to cloud in one go. This tool is related to research on the degree of automation and flexibility in terms of switching service technologies without development effort.

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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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FaaS: Function hosting services and their technical characteristics

What is FaaS?

Cloud computing has become an essential paradigm of a majority of modern applications. The service model which represents cloud ecosystems is known as Everything-as-a-Service, or XaaS, with IaaS, PaaS and SaaS being among the most well-known representatives. All of them use similar client-server communication patterns (i.e. remote APIs for programmable infrastructure, platforms and applications) and they are similar in requiring the developer to understand the service functionality and characteristics.

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Predicting cloud usage costs with Cyclops

As part of our weekly Cyclops release, RCB team releases a significant feature this week – we announce the Prediction Microservice integration in Cyclops. With this integration, Cyclops will provide simple forecasting of usage and will predict future values. The service could be used as for customers to predict their own cost and as to cloud provider to predict revenues.  Continue reading

5th Docker & 7th CloudFoundry usergroups meetup

IMG_1225Last night we organised the 5th Docker Switzerland user group meetup in Zürich. The event was co-located with the 7th CloudFoundry DACH user group meetup as well. We were overwhelmed to see the participation, the meetup page showed about a 100 people registered for the event, but about 75 showed up. Still it was a packed room at the ZHAW Lagerstrasse building in Zürich.  Continue reading