Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Kevin Jackson, Elizabeth White, Nishanth Kadiyala, Stackify Blog, Peter Davidson

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 [email protected] 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.