UBITECH has actively participated in the kick-off meeting, in Karlsruhe, Germany (January 25-26, 2017) of the UNICORN Innovation Action, officially started on January 1st, 2017. The project is funded by European Commission under Horizon 2020 Programme (Grant Agreement No. 731846) and spans on the period January 2017 – December 2019. The UNICORN project aims to simplify the design, deployment and management of secure- and elastic- by design multi-Cloud services – achieved by a) the development and design of libraries that provide security enforcement mechanisms, data privacy restrictions, monitoring metric collection and resource management across multiple Cloud sites; and b) enabling continuous orchestration and automatic optimization of portable and dynamic Cloud services running on virtual instances or micro-execution containers for increased security, data protection privacy and vast resource (de)-allocation. UNICORN enables software developers to design and develop secure and elastic applications through a Cloud IDE plug-in, hence right where they write their code, that incorporates a set of software code annotations, validation and packaging tools for security, privacy protection, monitoring and elasticity policy definition at the platform, application, component and even code segment level – accompanied with a set of continuous risk, cost and vulnerability assessment utilities for eliminating source code vulnerabilities.
In this context, UBITECH undertakes the technical lead of the project’s research activities, while UBITECH R&D team will heavily contribute and lead the technological choices towards the definition and design of a framework for multi-Cloud services engineering, orchestration, deployment and continuous management, which allows software developers to include privacy-by-design and elasticity-by-design features as well as to define the application characteristics, including cost, quality and their tradeoffs, for optimal resource allocation at design-time and runtime, and to submit their applications without having to manually perform resource mappings and bindings. Moreover, UBITECH leads the implementation of (a) a set of Cloud Application Design Libraries incorporated in a Cloud IDE (Eclipse Che) plugin, which assist developers to design cloud applications with minimum code intrusion required to enable portable security enforcement mechanisms, assure data privacy constraints, monitoring and elastic scaling across multiple cloud sites; (b) a set of Packaging and Deployment Utilities providing the means to validate policies and constraints defined at the development phase and pending successful validation, the means required to package the application accommodated by virtual images and an open Cloud topology description (blueprint) for deployment; (c) the UNICORN Smart Orchestrator that is in charge of instantiating the cloud application description to general-purpose or unikernel virtualized multi-Cloud execution environments and managing resource allocation; (d) the Auto-Scaling Service that enables unikernel fine-grained elasticity control, supporting not only horizontal scaling but also vertical scaling; and (e) the Continuous Risk, Cost and Vulnerability Assessment module that enables automated vulnerability management, measurement, and policy compliance evaluation, by performing security tests and benchmarks to detect security threats, privacy breaches and measure the risk multi-cloud applications exhibit.