Click here to close now.


Agile Computing Authors: Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Liz McMillan, Blue Box Blog, SmartBear Blog, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Solving the Problem of Cloud Interoperability

There are a number of organizations looking into solving the problem of cloud federation

Reuven Cohen's "Elastic Vapor" Blog

In the next few years the a key opportunity for the emerging cloud industry will be on defining a federated cloud ecosystem by connecting multiple cloud computing providers using an agreeing upon standard or interface. There are a number of organizations looking into solving the problem of cloud federation.

A fundamental challenge in creating and managing a globally decentralized cloud computing environment is that of maintaining consistent connectivity between various untrusted components that are capable of self-organization while remaining fault tolerant. In the next few years the a key opportunity for the emerging cloud industry will be on defining a federated cloud ecosystem by connecting multiple cloud computing providers using an agreeing upon standard or interface. In this post I will examine some of work being done in cloud federation ranging from adaptive authentication to modern P2P botnets.

Cloud Computing is undoubtedly a hot topic these days, lately it seems just about everyone is claiming to be a cloud of some sort. At Enomaly our focus is on the supposed "cloud enabler" Those daring enough to go out and create their very own computing clouds, either privately or publicly. In our work it has become obvious the the real problems are not in building these large clouds, but in maintaining them. Let me put it this way, deploying 50,000 machines is relatively straight forward, updating 50,000 machines or worst yet taking back control after a security exploit is not.

There are a number of organizations looking into solving the problem of cloud federation. Traditionally, there has been a lot of work done in the grid space. More recently, a notable research project being conducted by Microsoft called the “Geneva Framework" has been focusing on some the issues surrounding cloud federation. Geneva is described as a Claims Based Access Platform and is said to help simplify access to applications and other systems with an open and interoperable claims-based model.

In case you're not familiar with the claims authentication model, the general idea is using claims about a user, such as age or group membership, that are passed to obtain access to the cloud environment and to systems integrated with that environment. Claims could be built dynamically, picking up information about users and validating existing claims via a trusted source as the user traverses a multiple cloud environments. More simply, the concept allows for multiple providers to seamlessly interact with another. The model enables developers to incorporate various authentication models that works with any corporate identity system, including Active Directory, LDAPv3-based directories, application-specific databases and new user-centric identity models, such as LiveID, OpenID and InfoCard systems, including Microsoft’s CardSpace and Novell's Digital Me. For Microsoft, Authentication seems to be at heart of their interoperability focus. For anyone more microsoft inclined, Geneva is certainly worth a closer look.

For the more academically focused, I recommend reading a recent paper titled Decentralized Overlay for Federation of Enterprise Clouds published by Rajiv Ranjan and Rajkumar Buyya at the The University of Melbourne. The team outlines the need for cloud decentralization & federation to create a globalized cloud platform. In the paper they say that distributed cloud configuration should be considered to be decentralized if none of the components in the system are more important than the others, in case that one of the component fails, then it is neither more nor less harmful to the system than caused by the failure of any other component in the system. The paper also outlines the opportunities to use Peer2Peer (P2P) protocols as the basis for these decentralized systems.

The paper is very relevant given the latest discussions occurring in the cloud interoperability realm. The paper outlines several key problems areas:

  • Large scale – composed of distributed components (services, nodes, applications,users, virtualized computers) that combine together to form a massive environment. These days enterprise Clouds consisting of hundreds of thousands of computing nodes are common (Amazon EC2, Google App Engine,Microsoft Live Mesh) and hence federating them together leads to a massivescale environment;
  • Resource contention - driven by the resource demand pattern and a lack of
    cooperation among end-user’s applications, particular set of resources can get
    swamped with excessive workload, which significantly undermines the overall
    utility delivered by the system;
  • Dynamic – the components can leave and join the system at will.

Another topic of the paper is on the challenges in regards to the design and development of decentralized, scalable, self-organizing, and federated Cloud computing system as well as a applying the the characteristics of a peer-to-peer resource protocols, which they call Aneka-Federation. (I've tried to find any other references to Aneka, but it seems to be a term used solely withing the university of Melbourne, interesting none the less)

Also interesting was the problems they outline with earlier distributed computing projects such as Seti@home saying they these systems do not provide any support for multi-application and programming models. A major factors driving some of the more traditional users of grid technologies to the use of cloud computing.

One the of questions large scale cloud computing opens is not about how to many a few thousand machines, but how do you manage a few hundred thousand machines? A lot of the work being done in decentralized cloud computing can be traced back to the emergence of modern botnets. A recent paper titled "An Advanced Hybrid Peer-to-Peer Botnet" Ping Wang, Sherri Sparks, Cliff C. Zou at The University of Central Florida outlines some of the "opportunities" by examining the creation of a hybrid P2P botnet.

In the paper the UCF team outlines the problems encountered by P2P botnets which appear surprisingly similar to the problems being encountered by the cloud computing community. The paper lays out the following practical challenges faced by botmasters; (1). How to generate a robust botnet capable of maintaining control of its remaining bots even after a substantial portion of the botnet population has been removed by defenders? (2). How to prevent significant exposure of the network topology when some bots are captured by defenders? (3). How to easily monitor and obtain the complete information of a botnet by its botmaster? (4). How to prevent (or make it harder) defenders from detecting bots via their communication traffic patterns? In addition, the design should also consider many network related issues such as dynamic or private IP addresses and the diurnal online/offline property of bots. A very interesting read.

I am not condoning the use of botnets, but architecturally speaking we can learn a lot from our more criminally focused colleagues. Don't kid yourselves, they're already looking at ways to take control of your cloud and federation will be a key aspect in how you protect yourself and your users from being taken for a ride.

More Stories By Reuven Cohen

An instigator, part time provocateur, bootstrapper, amateur cloud lexicographer, and purveyor of random thoughts, 140 characters at a time.

Reuven is an early innovator in the cloud computing space as the founder of Enomaly in 2004 (Acquired by Virtustream in February 2012). Enomaly was among the first to develop a self service infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform (ECP) circa 2005. As well as SpotCloud (2011) the first commodity style cloud computing Spot Market.

Reuven is also the co-creator of CloudCamp (100+ Cities around the Globe) CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas and is the largest of the ‘barcamp’ style of events.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...