Cloud Research Team

Our cloud computing group is focusing on research related to the field of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based cloud systems. We have investigated various applications of virtualization techniques (including several virtual machine monitors - e.g. Xen, Qemu, Kvm). We have provided techniques to extend the currenlty available desktop grid systems with behavior similar to IaaS systems in order to enable the creation of virtual machines on the computing resource donor machines (see details here). We have faced the problem of distributing virtual machine images (or virtual appliances) between the different components of the resulting system. This problem has also arisen while we were focusing on virtualization based service deployment solutions. Our research revealed that specially crafted and stored virtual appliances could improve their delivery significantly (see details here). Efficient and automated virtual appliance deployment provides the foundation to federated cloud infrastructures and auto-scaling clusters. Therefore, we have analyzed techniques to enable interoperation between the currently available IaaS systems through multi level brokering solutions (see details here). We have also studied approaches that allow localized computing cluster infrastructures (accessible through batch systems) to be scaled by creating special virtual appliances supporting the extension towards multiple IaaS systems (see details here). Our research results identified serveral autonomous, heuristic and optimization problems that we plan to investigat with with nature-inspired models and algorithms (see details here).

The research of Cloud computing group in the MTA SZTAKI LPDS is organized around 5 main topics:

  • Desktop grid virtualization,
  • Virtual appliance delivery,
  • Cloud federations,
  • Cluster scaling and
  • Clouds and nature.

Research results

Virtualization in Desktop Grid Systems

The aim of Desktop Grid Systems (DGS's), especially volunteer computing, is to harvest the idle cycles of home (non-dedicated) computers. These computers differ in many ways (e.g.: CPU architecture, memory capacity and operating system) and some scientific applications are either a.) legacy (no source code available) or b.) too complex to port to a specific Distributed Computing Infrastructure (DCI) like DGS's. Virtualization aims to solve these problems by providing a homogene environment, which hides the specifics of the DCI and the host resource (CPU, operating system) from the application. This environment also allows to use specific VA (Virtual Appliances) for each application, thus providing a customized execution environment. Our goal is to extend the range of scientific applications for DGS's and to minimize the effort required for porting to these DCI's [pdp10].

Related publications

  • [pdp10] Attila Csaba Marosi, Peter Kacsuk, Gilles Fedak, and Oleg Lodygensky. "Sandboxing for Desktop Grids Using Virtualization". In Proceedings of the 2010 18th Euromicro Conference on Parallel, Distributed and Network-based Processing (PDP '10). IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, 559-566. 2010. DOI: 10.1109/PDP.2010.90

Virtual appliance delivery optimization

The use of virtual appliances could provide a flexible solution to services deployment if their slow deployment time and inefficient creation methods could be avoided. We have tackle the problem of deployment time by virtual appliance distribution technique that first identifies appliance parts and their internal dependencies. Then based on service demand our technique efficiently distributes the identified parts to virtual appliance repositories. The inefficiencies of the virtual appliance creation process are targeted with the Automated Virtual appliance creation Service (AVS - [fgcs]) that can extract and publish an already deployed service for the developer. This recently acquired virtual appliance is optimized for service deployment time with the virtual appliance optimization facility [pdp08] that removes the non-functional parts of the appliance.

Related publications

Management of cloud federation

Building on our former research results [mb], one of our goals is to manage autonomously a federation of heterogeneous distributed systems [pdp11a] with advanced deployment and brokering techniques. As Cloud Computing infrastructure solutions are becoming more and more popular, we revise our solutions to meet the emerging demands of cloud-based environments. We plan to provide a uniform, transparent interface for users to a federation across multiple cloud providers, including both public and private clouds.

Related publications

  • [mb] Attila Kertesz, Peter Kacsuk, GMBS: A New Middleware Service for Making Grids Interoperable, Future Generation Computer Systems, Volume 26, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 542-553. DOI: 10.1016/j.future.2009.10.007
  • [pdp11a] A. Kertesz, G. Kecskemeti, I. Brandic, Autonomic SLA-aware Service Virtualization for Distributed Systems, In proceedings of the 19th Euromicro International Conference on Parallel, Distributed and Network-Based Computing, IEEE Computer Society, pp. 503-510, 2011. DOI: 10.1109/PDP.2011.17

Auto-scaling clusters in the cloud

IaaS systems provide a flexible way to either extend existing or create on-demand pool of resources (e.g.: clusters). We investigated the possible methods for this [pdp11b] and developed a system which is able to utilize the de-facto standard Amazon EC2 interface (supported by OpenNebula, Amazon EC2, Eucalyptus and OpenStack) to manage resources for virtual clusters pooled by a batch system (e.g.: Condor, BOINC or PBS) and to support automatic service deployments. As a result, we can use the advantages of these batch systems with or without a locally available cluster. For example, our techniques are capable to extend an already deployed PBS system and support the seamless integration of legacy PBS applications with cloud systems. We currently focus on investigating different resource life-cycle-management scenarios and intra-cloud brokering. Another goal of ours is to provide SLA's for pools of volatile resources by alocating on-demand dedicated resources.

Related publications

  • [pdp11b] Attila Csaba Marosi, Peter Kacsuk, "Workers in the Clouds," Parallel, Distributed, and Network-Based Processing, Euromicro Conference on, pp. 519-526, 2011 19th International Euromicro Conference on Parallel, Distributed and Network-Based Processing, 2011. DOI: 10.1109/PDP.2011.79

Clouds and nature

As the size and complexity of distributed systems is growing, there is an inherent need for entities that are able to recognise various situations, control their behaviour, potentially adapt to changing conditions in such a way that its working parameters are within predefined boundaries and is able to fulfill its goals. Such entities are often referred as autonomic systems and are characterised by some of the self-aware, self-coordinating, self-adaprting, self-healing, self-protecting, self-configuring and other properties.

A new research direction is aimed at investigating non-conventional approaches to tackle with coordination, control, optimisation, adaptation and other arising issues in complex, large-scale and heterogeneous systems, tightly coupled to questions of autonomic systems. In our initial work we considered a chemical modeling approach and studied its features in a (grid) workflow and service composition problems. In the future we plan to analyse scenarios that involve autonomic aspects in cloud computing and investigate the applicability of nature-inspired models and algorithms to them.

Related publications

  • Zs. Nemeth, C. Perez, T. Priol: Workflow Enactment Based on a Chemical Metaphor. 3rd IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering and Formal Methods, SEFM 2005, Koblenz, Germany, IEEE Computer Society Press. DOI: 10.1109/SEFM.2005.55
  • C. Di Napoli, M. Giordano, Zs. Nemeth, N. Tonellotto: Using chemical reactions to model service composition. International Conference on Autonomic Computing, Proceeding of the second international workshop on Self-organizing architectures, Washington, DC, USA, 2010, pp. 43-50. DOI: 10.1145/1809036.1809047
  • C. Di Napoli, M. Giordano, Zs. Nemeth, N. Tonellotto: Adaptive instantiation of service workflows using a chemical approach. In Proceedings of CoreGRID/ERCIM Workshop on Grids, Clouds and P2P Computing (in conjunction with EuroPAR 2010), LNCS series, Springer, 2011