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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).

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