Category Archives: Technology

It has to do with technology

Cloud’s high availability myth

Public Cloud services are normally located in Telco grade collocation, best near public exchange points and supplied with high bandwidth connectivity. It should help for resiliency and high-availability, if the cloud operator chose the right design for his network and keeps track of routing and security issues. We found some locations to be not sufficient, though. So always have a deep look at Telco and ISP technology and inspect their high-availability concept.

Furthermore, you have to be sure your location is “always on” from where You have got access the internet: If you don’t have any connectivity to the internet, you won’t be able to connect to your data in the cloud. This may happen to yourself and all employees of your company at same time by simple wire cut. Just imagine: All of the company’s employees can’t access their data because it’s located in the cloud: A nightmare!

There are only two ways to avoid this:

  1. Either you keep your data on your own premises (which is a private cloud in fact), or
  2. Be sure to be dual homed (which connects you to two Internet Service Providers at same time).

If you choose to be dual homed be sure that you use 2 separate ISPs and be sure as well to use two different transport media, otherwise a wire cut by a digger would put you out of service again!

Best is some combination of two connectivity inlets of opposite direction to your building. If all this is not possible use a wired connection (Fiber or DSL) and a mobile backup. But always keep in mind: wireless often has fewer throughputs and much more interference / overbooking than wired connections.

So, before you run into loss of connectivity and unavailability of your data and services: Do a risk analysis for a public cloud scenario first before you run into trouble! Connectivity and availability on ISP side AND on company side is the main point to start the analysis. If either side isn’t highly available, don’t consider public cloud computing for mission critical business data!

We have pointed out some more details about dual homing here (in German language).

Interactive Cloud OS 14.9 released

Interactive Cloud OS 14.9 has been released today. It’s a maintenance release giving your virtual machines a performance boost compared against any release since 14.5. It’s also including the latest security patches for kernel, apache and the base packages. Last but not least it fixes the »Unknown localized field« error messages with debian 7 net install.

For the next release in October we aim at adding a secondary install mode with predefined network settings, dhcp and dns server for an even easier and faster installation in a testbed. And maybe to upgrade to OpenStack Juno.

Interactive Cloud OS 14.9 gives you a one node OpenStack Icehouse installation ready to run in less than 10 minutes.

Interactive Cloud OS – What is it?

Interactive Cloud OS is a multi-functional operating system optimized and designed for virtualization and cloud computing. It is not based on other operating systems or distributions, but designed and built completely from scratch – based on the latest Linux Kernels available.

With Interactive Cloud OS, you can run more than one operating system on your computer simultaneously (Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris…). The amount of Guest OSes is limited by your hardware resources (CPU, RAM and HDD Space) only.

In a deployment with more than one server, resources can be shared and balanced among your Cloud and Virtual Machines can be shifted from one computer to another and even from one site to another.

By using strong VPNs, you are able to locate your servers all over the world and shift your resources as needed.

Interactive Cloud OS is Open Source and free: No license fees and no hidden costs!

 

The Benefits are endless:

  • Reduce costs by using less hardware
  • Enhance flexibility of your installation by moving your VMs locally or worldwide
  • Reduce the CO2 footprint
  • Balance the Load of your servers
  • Allocate more space dynamically when you need it
  • Use VMs for testing or updating procedures
  • Destroy a VM when a test fails and start a new one in seconds from your saved snapshot
  • Use snapshots to clone your installation
  • Use snapshots to backup and cold-standby your services
  • Secure your servers with central security management
  • Connect your cloud worldwide via strong VPN tunnels and act worldwide
  • […]

Curious? Get more information about Interactive Cloud OS HERE

 

Interactive Cloud OS Overview

General Overview

Interactive Cloud OS is a multi-functional operating system optimized and designed for virtualization and cloud computing. It is not based on any other operating system, but designed and built completely from scratch. It is based on the newest Linux Kernels.

Technical Overview

The Interactive Cloud OS is an operating system, sitting directly on top of the server hardware (confer to the black bar below).

On top of the hardware, you can find the Cloud OS. It contains several add-on modules (e.g. Firewall, Software Switch for Networking, Denial-of-Service Mitigation). It contains a Web GUI as well (red) to manage the server with a regular web browser.

Interactive Cloud OS Overview

Interactive Cloud OS Overview

It shows the hardware as fundament, the Interactive Cloud OS as the operating system and several important services and their connections integrated.

On top of the Interactive Cloud OS, there is room for plenty other Internet add-on services (blue) and Third-Party Software (purple), e.g., Monitoring Tools, Virus and Malware scan.

Abstraction Layer

Interactive Cloud OS is a Host OS, giving the ability to install other OS on the same machine (the Guest OS). Since we use the latest technology and optimize it for cloud computing only, we achieve high performance and high security.

From the administrator perspective it looks like this:

Interactive Cloud OS as Host-OS with Guest-OS installed above

Interactive Cloud OS with Guest-OS installed above

This shows many different Guest OS running on the Interactive Cloud OS (e.g. RedHat, SuSE Enterprise Linux, Microsoft Windows, Debian, Ubuntu…).

The amount of such Guest OSes is only limited by your hardware resources (CPU, RAM and HDD Space). It allows for server consolidation (many OS on one server) and centralized management and security.

In a deployment with more than one server, resources can be shared and balanced among your cloud, Virtual Machines can be shifted from one computer to another.

Main Benefits

  • Reduce costs by using less hardware
  • Enhance flexibility of your installation by moving your VMs locally or worldwide
  • Reduce the CO2 footprint
  • Balance the Load of your servers
  • Allocate more space dynamically when you need it
  • Use VMs for testing or updating procedures
  • Destroy a VM when a test fails and start a new one in seconds from your saved snapshot
  • Use snapshots to clone your installation
  • Use snapshots to backup and cold-standby your services
  • Secure your servers with central security management
  • Connect your cloud worldwide via strong VPN tunnels and act worldwide
  • […]

Summary

With the free and OpenSource Interactive Cloud OS, you can run many other operating systems on one computer in a fast, safe and reliable way.

By adding additional computers, you will be able to run your own cloud – up to hundreds of computers with virtual unlimited machines and applications.

Since Interactive Cloud OS is free and Open Source, there is no faster way to get into the cloud.

Build your cloud your own way!

Secure Public Cloud Setup? An idea…

Running a virtual machine on any public cloud has an inherent security risk: The cloud service provider.

The cloud service provider may take a snapshot of the virtual machine at any time. Thus allowing him access onto any data available at the moment of the snapshot, even onto encrypted data. Or to suspend the virtual machine to maliciously inject a root kit into the virtual machines memory, no matter if it’s running Windows or Linux or any other Operating System.

Call me paranoid. But besides those sophisticated attack scenarios there are much simpler ones, like just peeking the virtual disk. Anyhow, this allows data privacy violation as well as industrial espionage by a cloud service provider, regardless if he acts on his own or is forced by court or an intelligence service.

And do not forget, that the Washington Post has shown that the U.S. intelligence runs a program called PRISM to secretly mine data from U.S. internet companies.

So it may be of some interest for the internet community to create a secure public cloud setup (SPC — let’s call it spice) with Interactive Cloud OS –or any other Linux– which is not vulnerable to unrestricted and unnoticed access to private data.

But how could a user protect his data or virtual machines in a public cloud? Some requirements come to mind:

  • Any access on a virtual machine or its disks will be logged and shown to the user.
  • Any user should be able to check at any time that the running OS hasn’t been altered.
  • The running OS should be open source, thus allowing the community to check for back doors.

At a first glance it looks impossible to achieve the requirements.

But, on the other hand, Interactive Network already developed award winning system Intermediär with similar requirements which is used to ensure high grade data privacy for the German Haemophilia Register. Using a combination of digital signatures, cryptographic functions and organisational conditions Intermediär is protected against any unnoticed alteration or eavesdropping, including hardware based attacks, like key loggers.

After all it ought to be possible to achieve the requirements.

But even if there is a chance to fail, creating an open source process to SPiCe up the cloud would be worth the effort, wouldn’t it?

Feel free to join the discussion.

It’s time for the next generation operating system

The cloud offers huge opportunities

Technically speaking, the cloud is the virtualization of hardware and network infrastructure and has the goal to supply users with software and services hosted at redundant datacenters. It is a big market with high growth rates and will evolve.

There are several cloud operating systems (OS) on the market, mainly as commercial distributions, which are not specialized in cloud computing and security. Most of them derive from standard Linux kernels.

But operating systems are prone to be attacked

The design of these operating systems is based on huge distributions, which carry along a lot of unnecessary and outdated software. In connection with Internet usage, this opens the doors to attackers and malicious threats. Due to the concept of an underlying operating system, which has always to be run as the system’s foundation, this is the Achilles heel of these systems: If a hacker can take over the underlying OS, he would be highly able to compromise the guest OSs above as well.

Furthermore, the commercial packages are no fast followers of the newest internet and technology trends, but bound to tight company’s strategy.

Therefore we will create an open source Linux cloud OS

Linux has been proven for high security and availability, but has to be hardened and optimized for its proper usage. So it is time for a new Linux distribution, which is open source and dedicated to cloud computing only. And it is time to discard the burden of old technology and workarounds to accelerate processes with a newly designed OS.

By reducing the amount of packages from tens of thousands to numbers below 500, it would be easier, faster and more secure than any cloud OS available today.

The well known and accepted open source mechanisms allow it to be freely distributed. For commercial customers, the wide basis of independent installations ensures the production grade and quality.

On top of the OS which we identified as the first milestone in cloud evolution , there could be many services (e.g. free / commercial).