CloudSpaces: From application-centric to person-centric models

Pedro Garcia López
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Topics recommended for the 2016-2017 Work Programme: 

We consider that Software-Defined Technologies will have a relevant role in the next years. Software will mandate the autonomic management of cloud services (network, storage, computing) simplifying their massive adoption. Novel programming abstractions and middleware systems will be required to interact with several autonomic software layers. Another important topic is about decentralised overlay technologies and decentralised software systems linking the next generation Internet. Decentralisation is at the heart of the Internet, and the massive deployments of fibre technologies will considerably facilitate edge-to-edge approaches. In particular, since the network layer is ossified, novel overlays combined with Software defined technologies will facilitate the interoperation of heterogeneous resources. A good example is the transparent interconnection of data centres and home computing resources across Europe for creating novel applications. Finally, cyberphysical systems are going to be of paramount importance. Mixed reality environments will require advanced distributed computing platforms with extreme scalability. Personal Information Systems will drive our interactions with Digital Information and social networks. Thanks to immersive devices and 3D interfaces, a next generation of Personal Systems will emerge capturing the best of Personal Clouds, Social Networks, and Virtual Desktops.

Projects major results: 

CloudSpaces' aims to provide an advanced scalable data management agent offering advanced storage, sync and share mechanisms. On top of which we devised novel adaptive replication algorithms providing dynamic membership reconfiguration of untrusted repositories as well as advanced consistency mechanisms. At this moment, we already have a working prototype called StackSync. StackSync is an open source personal cloud built on top of OpenStack Swift that includes novel sharing and interoperability capabilities. It was presented officially to the OpenStack community in the last Summit in Atlanta [1]. Due to the impact of the presentation we had several deployments of StackSync around the world in countries such as Spain, France, Vietnam, Czech Republic or Switzerland among others. The URV is also evaluating StackSync with a subset of their students in order to consider it as an official synchronisation solution and offer it to the whole community. Moreover, we also released a key-value hybrid cloud storage system that robustly replicates data over untrusted public clouds while keeping metadata on trusted private premises called Hybris. We planned to implement techniques ensuring secure, trust-worthy and privacy friendly interactions within the CloudSpaces environment. To this end, we proposed a set of privacy-aware data sharing mechanisms that will employ hybrid technical approaches like obfuscation, anonymisation, encryption, digital signatures, and information hiding. We already released a prototype called PrivySeal, a software that provides easily usable privacy technologies to end users who want to share their data on any cloud service. It is based on published research and employs crowdsourcing and a psychologically grounded model for risk estimation. We avoided vendor lock-in thanks to both semantic and syntactic interoperability techniques. We will define a new standard to share and exchange resources between heterogeneous Personal Clouds. CloudSpaces has already defined a freely-implementable and generic specification of a protocol for allowing Personal Cloud interoperability.

Potential exploitation strategy: 

There is a big opportunity for those IaaS providers who want to offer an innovative Personal Cloud to their customers. Cloud storage is a real need for the foreseeable future, so organisations will demand efficient and secure solutions. That’s why an IaaS provider can take advantage of StackSync by providing clients with the following services: Public or Hybrid clouds based on the StackSync technology; and reselling cloud storage services as a “white label” cloud. StackSync will help IaaS providers to deploy an enterprise Personal Cloud for thousands of users at low cost. They will be able to update their services portfolio and engage customers with a Personal Cloud specially designed for organisations. Software providers will improve their solutions building them on top of the StackSync platform and offering innovative services to their clients. They can take advantage of cloud storage features and bundle their software with a Personal Cloud, focused on the organisation’s needs: security, scalability and openness. If a software provider wants to partner with an IaaS provider, StackSync can be deployed by the IaaS partner so the software provider would only need to care about its solution development. StackSync proposes two deployment scenarios focused on SMEs in order to boost their storage in the cloud: StackSync-P (Private Cloud), and StackSync-H (Hybrid Cloud). StackSync-P can be deployed on-premise, so that companies can finally retake the control of their data. SMEs benefit from OpenStack Swift as a proven open-source cloud technology that can be adapted to their storage needs on the go. StackSync-H keeps metadata of all outsourced data on-premise and provides robustness by replicating data across multiple commodity clouds, in a fully transparent way. SMEs will benefit from the best of both Public and Private Clouds. StackSync-H can be tuned to optimize reliability, cost and performance. Public institutions like governments, hospitals, or universities have strong security and privacy requirements, so it’s very important for them to use a Personal Cloud storage that meets these restrictive needs. StackSync keeps citizens data in a cloud storage platform that let administrators manage this big amount of information without breaches in their data security, nor big investments on IT infrastructure. They can choose between private, public and hybrid platforms, depending on their needs.

An update since the last Concertation meeting (March 2014): 

CloudSpaces is already collaborating with other european projects. We are working with the Intertrust project in attribute-based encryption (ABE) and on the definition of privacy policies. There is also an ongoing partnership with the Leads project about elastic synchronisation and with the Confine project in decentralised network technologies and bittorrent. We are working together with IBM Haifa on generating compressible workloads for storage benchmarks. The work resulted in a system that can generate data that is compressible to a prescribed extent and whose compression takes a certain amount of effort. There is also a collaboration with our partner NEC to implement the specifications of the CloudSpaces’ interoperability protocol that would allow NEC’s personal cloud and StackSync to share and exchange resources as a proof-of-concept.