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Verifying Cloud Services

October 14, 2013 Leave a comment

What is needed to verify cloud services? How do we know whether the service we are using works as expected?

These questions are discussed in the recent article “Verifying cloud services: present and future”, by Sara Bouchenak, Gregory Chockler, Hana Chockler, Gabriela Gheorghe, Nuno Santos, and Alexander Shraer, published in the highly visible Operating Systems Review (OSR) journal (Hana Chockler is a Lecturer in the Department of Informatics of King’s College).

The team of experts addresses the challenges in verification of cloud services – from functional correctness to service availability and reliability, to performance and security guarantees. As cloud-based services become more and more popular, there is a real and growing need in tools for verifying these services. As the authors of the article argue, currently there is no adequate technology for verification of the cloud. They discuss recent research results that can help in bridging the gaps between what is needed and what currently exists in this area and suggest novel solutions.

The article, as it turns out, strikes a chord with the cloud users and service providers.  It recently featured in ZDNet (http://www.zdnet.com/do-you-believe-in-cloud-7000020607/ ), Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2013/09/17/cloud-customers-are-not-getting-what-they-pay-for-study-says/), CloudTech ( http://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2013/sep/18/new-paper-questions-whether-cloud-consumers-get-what-they-pay/ ), StorageMojo (http://storagemojo.com/2013/09/05/verifying-cloud-services/ ), and, most recently, BCloudReady.com (http://www.bcloudready.com/cloud-buyers-beware-make-sure-youre-getting-what-you-pay-for/ ), starting interesting and lively discussions about availability and reliability of a cloud.

Do you believe in cloud?” – asks ZDNet, listing specific areas, where, according to the OSR article, more tools and information are needed:

  • trusted software and service identity;
  • functional correctness;
  • performance and dependability;
  • security.

The Forbes blog entry starts with an eye-catching title “Cloud Customers Are Not Getting What They Pay For”, summarizing the takeaway from the article as “Cloud customers expect a certain level of service when they sign on to agreements. But a lot of the time, cloud services aren’t delivered as expected, and there isn’t even a way to verify that cloud services are performing as they should.

This paper is sobering because it shows how primitive current tools for verifying cloud services are – if they exist at all” – says StorageMojo, adding: “It isn’t even clear that cloud providers themselves have the tools to know the answers to questions that corporate users should and will have.”

BCloudReady .com recommends reading the full article: “… wading through the 14 page no nonsense report is worth the read. Compiled with contributions from six of the leading cloud experts worldwide it covers everything from verifying a strong service identity to protecting yourself from a “Byzantine Provider”. Well written and clear in both its methodology and conclusions it can serve as an excellent basis for evaluating your current cloud service provider(s) or as a guide to developing your strategy for utilizing cloud services.

For more information, see “Verifying cloud services: present and future “, by Sara Bouchenak, Gregory Chockler, Hana Chockler, Gabriela Gheorghe, Nuno Santos, and Alexander Shraer. Operating Systems Review, 47(2):6-19 (2013).

Undergraduate students at IROS

The IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) is among the top two conferences for robotics (the other being ICRA). This year’s acceptance rate was 45%. My group including PhD students and undergraduate students submitted 6 papers in total and 4 papers got accepted. We were rejoiced to see a paper submitted by an undergraduate group with some support from PhD students were among the accepted papers. Another undergraduate student was a co-author of an accepted paper. This is a good encouragement to our efforts to give a World class experience to undergraduate students at King’s. Though the students who dared to submit papers to such a highly competitive international conference had to put a lot of extra effort than the norm, their achievement will put them ahead of their peers in the job markets. In the words of the students themselves, “the experience was awesome. We got to do advanced experiments, collect data, and analyze them in a professional manner we had never done before. Now we feel that we can face any design and experimental challenge and we don’t feel scared to embark upon new technical projects. It was a great experience!”.

I am pretty sure this attitude is what employers are looking for in a fresh graduate. I am sure more and more undergraduate students will volunteer to submit papers to competitive international conferences and journals and stay ahead of the competition in these tough times.

Categories: Publications, Robotics

King’s at AAMAS 2012

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

We have just received news of successes for our papers at AAMAS 2012 workshops, to be held in Valencia, Spain, in June 2012.  The topics range from adaptive and self-organizing systems, through network science, to automated trading.  This range gives some idea of the diversity in contemporary computer science research.

Martin Chapman, Gareth Tyson, Katie Atkinson, Michael Luck and Peter McBurney [2012]: Social networking and information diffusion in automated markets. In: C. Kiekintveld, O. Shehory, E. David, S. Stein and V. Robu (Editors): Joint International Workshop on Trading Agent Design and Analysis (TADA 2012) and Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce (AMEC 2012).

Samhar Mahmoud, Michael Luck, Jeroen Keppens and Nathan Griffiths [2012]:  Overcoming hub effects in scale free networks.  In: H. Aldewereld and J. Simão Sichman (Editors):   14th International Workshop on Coordination, Organisations, Institutions and Norms (COIN 2012).

Matthew Shaw, Jeroen Keppens, Michael Luck and Simon Miles [2012]:   Towards a general model of organisational adaptation: pipelines.   In: H. Aldewereld and J. Simão Sichman (Editors):   14th International Workshop on Coordination, Organisations, Institutions and Norms (COIN 2012).

Congratulations to all involved!

Photograph:  Copyright Virtourist.com
Update: there’s yet another paper at an AAMAS workshop:
Maria Emila Garcia, Gareth Tyson, Simon Miles, Michael Luck, Adel Taweel, Brenda Delaney and Tjeerd Van Staa [2012]:  An Analysis of Agent-Oriented Engineering of e-Health Systems. In Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Agent-Oriented Software Engineering (AOSE 2012).
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