Elecnor Deimos Present Use Case at Foss4G Europe

Industrial partner Elecnor Deimos present their use case with poster at the third edition of the European conference.  The event is aimed at bringing open source GIS users and developers together and fostering closer interactions amongst the European geospatial communities.  Posters are displayed within the exhibition area from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st July.

For more information on the Foss4G Europe 2017 Conference click here.  A copy of the poster presented can be accessed here.

NET FUTURES 2017

Internet, the economy and society in 2027

We are going through a technological revolution that will fundamentally change the way we live, work, and relate to one another. This transformation led by Internet, its scale, scope, and complexity, will be unlike anything humans have experienced before. We do not know where exactly this 'internetisation' will lead us to: What will our society look like in 2027? 

However one thing we know: People simply expect a lot more from the Internet, in terms of quality and reach, in terms of security and privacy, an Internet that is inclusive and supports openness, diversity and responds to the needs of the individuals. 

We feel that not all European policy actors share this sense of urgency for action. However it is imperative to address these challenges or Europe's voice on the future of the Internet will disappear. 

The NET FUTURES edition in 2017 will serve as a wake-up call for policy makers and technologist alike, for civil society and the young whose future we will influence. It will be the place for deep-dive conversations and learnings right at a time when Europe is at the brink of entering the next industrial revolution: The Net.

The ENTICE Consortium are proud to collaborate and attend this concertation meeting of H2020 projects.

ENTICE and Elecnor Deimos: Earth Observation

Let’s find out how ENTICE technology is helping to improve the Earth observation industry.  Earth observation is all about collecting spatial and temporal data of the world.  This data can be useful for all sorts of users in a diverse range of industries including monitoring the environment, observing natural disasters and civil security systems.  The last decade started with $200,000,000 worth of commercial sales in Earth Observation.  2010 saw the figure rise to $1.1 billion.  The forecast is to begin 2019 with $4 billion worth of sales.  It is a market that is growing at a steady rate.  In order to take advantage of this the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency and the European Environment Agency created the system Copernicus to provide Europe operational and autonomous capability to observe the Earth. Despite the importance of Earth Observation across multiple industries access to information obtained from satellites follows traditional and expensive paths to cover demand.  Of course this presents several drawbacks.  The cost of acquiring up to date images of the Earth is inhibitively expensive for new entrants to the market.  Existing customer s cannot access images directly and current methods require a great deal of processing and ad hoc delivery and the service lacks flexibility to cope with sudden changes in demand.  Here at ENTICE we believe that cloud computing could be the solution because cloud computing is scalable, it is flexible and it is globally accessible.  

PaaSage, Quorum and IBSCY : Winning Customers to the Cloud

Quorum is a software solution that supports organisations, entity management and companies’ secretarial operations.  As well as assists their corporate compliance. It is used by major auditing, legal, trust and specialist providers offering corporate secretarial and other professional services in more than 25 countries worldwide.   Quorum governs principally entity management or company administration, contacts and clients management, KYC compliance, banking administration, time and billing.  The main benefits of using Quorum involve, optimising client and entity management operations, increasing client billing by better tracking and monitoring chargeable work.  Improve compliance in the quality of your work, security and traceability and reduce the opportunity for human error.  Manage information and documents accurately, reliably and efficiently.  Doing this, information becomes instantly accessible and available at the touch of a button and allows you to achieve high levels of productivity from your staff.  There are two very important advantages for companies that will use Paasage.  Increased flexibility this is because companies using Paasage are not bound to a single cloud provider, they can seamlessly switch a cloud provider simply by changing the cloud model.  Rapid elasticity, with the local cloud infrastructure in place it is very difficult, time consuming and costly to plan before hand for occasions that additional resources will be required.  IBSCY’s cloud strategy can be enhanced by Paasage as Paasage allows customers to deploy and move an application across multiple cloud providers and configurations.  Paasage helps IBSCY stay competitive and increase its flexibility so as to address diverse clients, cloud requirements, as well as scale on demand when more resources are needed.  To find out more goto Paasage.eu and get started today.  

Wellness Use Case

Let’s find out how Wellness Telecom are utilising ENTICE virtual machine image reduction technology to improve their services and win new customers.  Unified communication is an integrated and tailored service that allows you to have all business communication in the same application.  The custom images needed for the service are stored and managed by Wellness.  The users pay for the resources used in their storage.  While there are solutions to allocate extra resource to attend to unforeseen demand, there is often a drop in quality of service given the difficulty in meeting a spike in demand the challenge and business opportunity for us here at Wellness is to find a solution where users only pay for the resources they need without a reduction in quality.  Working  with ENTICE we have a solution that lets the service use new resources only when needed taking advantage of ENTICE’s faster deployment speeds and adapting to demand and as Wellness manages all tailored images needed for the service users leverage size reduce if provided by ENTICE to pay lower prices whilst we use less resource all round.  For more information about how ENTICE is helping businesses enhance their service and to learn about the innovations behind ENTICE go to entice-project.eu.  

We offer a catalogue of services which provides third party enterprise solutions.  These are aimed at companies that don’t have the knowledge to instal and deploy themselves.  The customer is billed based on resource used for their service and the storage utilised for virtual machine images.  Currently the images are not optimised leaving the customer paying for extra resources.  Our objective here at Wellness is that the customer only pays for the real resources that are needed.  By taking advantage of size reduction of virtual machine images offered by ENTICE we make our services more attractive, lower costs, improve competitiveness and reduce resource use.  ENTICE helps us pass resource savings along to our customers, winning us new business and making our service users happy.  

Budapest - Plenary Meeting

The team met up for their Plenary Meeting this January in Budapest to discuss and present the progress so far ahead of the next commission review later in the year.  

ENTICE & TEDx - Radu Prodan: The dark, disruptive side of the cloud

ENTICE & TEDx - Radu Prodan: The dark, disruptive side of the cloud

In our latest blog we look back at a recent TEDx talk from the ENTICE Scientific Coordinator, Radu Prodan, where he provides insight into the technology of clouds, the historical development, their interconnection today and what kind of possibilities there are for the future. 

ENTICE: 5th Cloud Assisted Conference

ENTICE: 5th Cloud Assisted Conference

In collaboration with Slovenia’s Chamber of Commerce, the University of Ljubljana and the ENTICE project are co-organising the 5th Cloud Assisted Conference on November 9th, 2016. The programme and the presentations are available online.

At the CLASS 2016 event several projects of Slovenia’s Smart Specialization 55 Mio EUR funding programme are presented along with the results of Horizon 2020 projects related to smart cities, homes, communities, eHealth and Industry 4.0.

If you want to know more about ENTICE then why not take a look at our excellent commercial use cases?

Cloud computing as a solution for the Earth Observation Satellites’ technology

Earth Observation commercial data sales have increased a 550% in the last decade. The field is considered a key element in the European Research Road Map and an opportunity market for the next years. The forecast for this decade is $4 billion in commercial data sales at the end of 2019. This makes EO a major field of new business opportunities and work.

Although EO is an established key area for innovation, the access to the information obtained from satellites follows traditional and expensive paths to cover on-demand services for different potential customers: conventional data centres and conventional distribution of services. This presents several drawbacks:

  • The cost of acquiring recent images of the Earth is very high. This is a limitation for small and medium companies to develop new solutions.
  • Clients cannot access the information they need directly nor quickly, because this has to be processed and ad-hoc distributed.
  • The service is not flexible, so does not adapt to sudden changes in demand.

Cloud computing is presented as a possible solution to improve common services and create new market opportunities because it is elastic, scalable and it works on demand through virtualisation of resources [1][2].

Satellite and Earth Observation applications are then clear use cases for deployment on the cloud for the following reasons:

  • The global nature of EO data, with ground stations and users geographically located all over the world, means that it makes sense to deploy a worldwide infrastructure connecting all the stakeholders. Ground stations, ground control centres and data processing centres would be able to take advantage of a rapid, agile, resilient and secure interconnected computer system for sharing the bulk of EO data. Final users would also take advantage of having data access points as close as possible to them to minimise the delay.
  • The massive size of EO data generated by today´s sensors, in the order of daily Terabytes, means that it needs cost-effective procurement of the computing infrastructure for archiving and processing. Thus, it seems a good idea to pay for computer resources only as you need them, as is the usual cost model of services on the cloud. Note that EO data is received in batches for each receiving ground station on each ‘contact’, when a satellite downloads all perceived data since the previous communication. Then the processing, archive and dissemination process of that received data is triggered and executed on the provided infrastructure.
  • A very large amount of resources are needed to optimally process and distribute EO data to the global user community. Data processing would be greatly enhanced by using a massive number of computing nodes working in parallel with techniques related to High Performance Computing (HPC) and High-Throughput Computing (HTC) techniques for, respectively, generating results as fast as possible, and for processing as many jobs as possible in a given time.

However the implementation of these systems with the current cloud computing technology still presents some technical limitations:

  • The virtual machine images (VMIs) are not optimised, being highly oversized. This directly impacts in the costs of using the infrastructure and in the dynamic resources provisioning
  • The deployment of Virtual Machines (VM) in cloud has long duration, normally between 10 and 20 minutes which directly affects the flexibility and dynamic scalability of the systems

Within the ENTICE project framework Deimos’ research focuses in the development of Future Internet technologies in order to improve Earth Observation (EO) services and to highly reduce the costs associated with on-premises deployment. Within the ENTICE H2020 project, Deimos intends to implement a flexible, cost-effective Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) in a cloud computing infrastructure that will shorten the latency of the system near the data sources and the final users through an automated process to reduce 60% the VMI size, 30% VMI delivery time, 25% deployment time, 25% VM cost and 25% VM storage to cover the demand for services with highly variable demands [3].

To find out more about ENTICE and EO visit our (use case page)

References

[1] J. Becedas, R. Pérez and G. González, “Testing and validation of cloud infrastructures for Earth observation services with satellite constellations”, International Journal of Remote Sensing,  vol. 36, nº 19-20, pp. 5289-5307, 2015.

[2] J. Becedas, R. Pérez, G. González, J. Álvarez, F. García, F. Maldonado, A. Sucari and J. García, “Evaluation of Future Internet Technologies for Processing and Distribution of Satellite Imagery”, The 36th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment, Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., vol. XL-7/W3, pp. 605-611, doi:10.5194/isprsarchives-XL-7-W3-605-2015, 2015.

[3] J. J. Ramos and J. Becedas, “Deimos’ gs4EO over ENTICE: A cost-effective cloud-based solution to deploy and operate flexible big EO data systems with optimized performance”, Procedings of the 2016 conference on Big Data from Space (BiDS’16), pp. 107-110, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, 2016.

Unified Communications as an adaptive service

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a generic term to describe the integration of real-time, enterprise communication services that encompasses various products to optimise business processes [1]. This market is expected to grow from $17.35bn in 2016 to $28.69bn by 2021 [2] and this growth will be boosted by rapid adoption solutions in cloud computing. This evolution of Unified Communication, shifting to the Cloud, provides several benefits [3] that allow companies to enhance their efficiency and agility. 

Currently one of the main challenges for this service is how to adapt the deployments to meet fluctuating demand. The rationale for research on this subject area is to figure out how providers and customers can best consume the appropriate resources, as and when needed.

Usually the user pays fees for the service used (pay-per-use), therefore if the service is able to adapt itself to the real necessities of the company that hires the service, the customer only pays for resources used according to demand. Moreover, if the service cannot be adapted to the traffic requirements, an increase in the number of calls (or video sessions, number of users at chat rooms, etc.) may cause a reduction of the quality of the service (QoS) leading to interruption of cloud-based business processes for clients - this is one undesirable outcome we hope that ENTICE’s findings will help us to avoid.

One possibility is to reserve resources in advance, but in this case the extra resources have to be paid in anticipation of demand, even when this demand is low for a considerable length of time. This is the classic problem when dimensioning circuit-based voice networks, for example. Another solution is to try to forecast the traffic patterns for the company which can be used by the service to save resources. These patterns are difficult to foresee, even if an algorithm can be used to extract them, learning by experience (artificial intelligence algorithms) - these can be fooled by changes in the company premises, user habits and business processes which may cause continuous changing models making it quite difficult adapt the service this way.

Improving performance in communication services usually involves the deployment of new instances. Deploying a new virtual machine with new resources means time during which new calls will be rejected or the application QoS will be reduced. In this context, ENTICE (#EntICE) can help applications that need vertical scaling (new virtual machines) improving the speed of deployment of new instances.

ENTICE speeds up deployment of new instances in two ways;

(1) VMIs can be distributed following an algorithm that improves the deployment speed and

(2) reducing VMI size enables service providers to decrease the time spent downloading the images and creating the VM.

Therefore ENTICE makes it possible to adapt the Unified Communication services on demand and to pay only for resources needed at all times.

To find out more about ENTICE visit ( )

References

[1] http://searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com/essentialguide/Guide-to-Unified-Communications-as-a-Service-Making-sense-of-it-all

[2] http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/unified-communication-as-a-service-ucaas-market-893.html.

[3] https://www.nec-enterprise.com/Newsroom/7-Reasons-to-Consider-Cloud-based-Unified-Communications-Services-825

ENTICE Knowledge Base and QoS Part 2: SPARQL and ENTICE

ENTICE’s project consortium includes the team from University of Ljubljana, who are working on various aspects of the project’s cloud computing innovations. Here Polona updates us about the aspects they’ve been looking at and the difference they could make.

University of Ljubljana (UL) are working on the development of the integration part between the ENTICE Image Portal (GUI), which represents user-friendly interaction with a system and the back-end Knowledge Base (KB) Service as well. 

The UL team are also researching in the field of Quality of Service (QoS) in the cloud. In the current stage of the development the KB API is partially integrated with the GUI, where users are able to log into the ENTICE Image Portal, upload new VMIs in the KB, search & explore VMIs in the ENTICE environment and finally trigger the optimisation process of the Image size reduction. 

Furthermore, the ongoing research activities include explorations of the possibility of replicating and distributing the KB, so that a single point of failure is avoided in an environment supporting the efficient operation of distributed repositories. Distribution of the KB, including SPARQL query serving APIs, may also contribute to faster reasoning capabilities. One of the possibilities how to achieve this is by using a Load Balancer that is able to assign SPARQL queries to the correct API. The future UL research activities will also consider the research of the ontology and reasoning mechanisms, including the meaningful presentation of the RDF and OWL data in the best possible way to the users in the GUI.

Since a crucial aspect of the ENTICE innovations is faster delivery of VMIs to Clouds, while offering potentially lower cost of storing and transferring images, Quality of Service (QoS) is another important field, which is also being studied by the UL team. 

When offering any Cloud Services, customers wish to obtain the best possible QoS for their virtual resources / services / applications and on the other hand Cloud providers wish to achieve the lowest possible operational cost. Cloud providers usually offer service guarantees under certain terms, commonly referred as Service Level Agreement (SLA), which represent agreements between service providers and customers, specifying rates and conditions about the operability and performance. However, ENTICE environment has to deal with image fragments that can be spread over different storages with different replication rates per fragment. In this scenario, the SLA of a single image no longer pertains to one storage, but obviously has to be composed from many distinct SLAs, each of them bound to its respective repository. In general, SLA as QoS in the cloud represents a huge challenge for the research. 

If you want to find out more about ENTICE, find out about our Use Cases or why not try using ENTICE today?

ENTICE Knowledge Base and QoS Part 1: First Steps

In today‘s blog we meet the team from the University of Ljubljana (UL), the oldest and the largest university in Slovenia, to find out how they are tackling the newest issues in virtualization.

Back in June,  the ENTICE team met for their first project plenary in Hungary. We were gathered from institutes and organisations from across Europe. Our goal? To begin the work that ENTICE has set out to achieve. Today, Cloud computing has become one of the major ways for deploying software that needs to adapt to the dynamically changing environment.

While Cloud computing is fast becoming THE industrial standard, one must still choose all the elements of the software and hardware stack for Cloud application(s) and the decisions are far from easy. There are various criteria that may be used during the selection, for example, the cost and/or needed performance characteristics. When making a decision how to organise the information support for your business, one needs to know what is the cost involved and how does this cost compare to having your own private computing infrastructure? Are the security and privacy concerns adequately addressed by the service offer? Should the application be deployed in one Cloud or another? Should an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) or even SaaS (Software as a Service) be used to support the existing business processes within the company?

Obviously, the higher the software stack, the less flexibility for adaptation we might have. In all these decision processes, knowledge about the optimal performance of Cloud applications can be critical: the ways how software is optimally packed into (presumably) containers, the ways how containers are optimally packed into Virtual Machines, then how should Virtual Machines be optimised for performance and with which Cloud platforms will the Cloud applications optimally run (smaller cost, but satisfactory performance)?

The UL research team aims at coming to grips with the many challenges that ENTICE hopes to tackle. In a nutshell: to better understand and formalise the knowledge about how Virtual Machine images should be optimally assembled and deployed to address the Quality of Service requirements, so that practitioners and researchers can come to our developed Knowledge Base and ask for the optimal solution (Virtual Machine image) for their needed application type.

“ENTICE in Space” : Deimos & Big Space Data

In today’s blog we explore the way in which ENTICE will highly decrease the delivery time of large satellite images captured in Earth’s orbit. Deimos’ research focuses in the development of future internet technologies in order to improve the following Earth Observation services and to highly reduce the costs associated with on premises deployment

  • Acquisition of raw data: when the imagery data is ingested from the satellite into the ground station, the system is notified and the ingestion component automatically ingests the raw data into the cloud for processing.
  • Processing of the raw data: once the data is ingested, it is processed in the product processors. There are several processing levels.
  • Archiving and cataloguing geo-images: the different products obtained from the processing of raw data are archived and catalogued in order to provide these images to end users or to provide high-added value services.
  • Offering user services: this is the front-end of the system. It allows end users to select which product they want to visualize or to download.

Processing and distribution of big space data still presents a critical challenge: the treatment of massive and large-sized data obtained from Earth Observation satellite recordings. Remote sensing industries implement on-site conventional infrastructures to acquire, store, process and distribute the geo-information generated. However these solutions do not cover sudden changes in the demand of services and the access to the information presents large latencies.

By using ENTICE environment, it is expected to highly decrease the delivery time of the satellite imagery to end users and to improve their accessibility, increasing the competitiveness of the EO industries. It will be possible thanks to ENTICE environment, which will drastically reduce of the required time for the creation and the deployment of the VMs. This will allow to support high demanding changes adjusting the infrastructure to serve these overloads, taking advantage of the flexibility and lower time provided by the ENTICE environment.

Virtual Machine Image provisioning as a supply chain

In today’s blog we take a look at Virtual Machine Images (VMIs) and imagine the production of software as a factory process and ask why don’t we apply similar manufacturing processes?

So imagine, in this scenario there are blueprints for the product; methods for applying the necessary technologies; supplies (code) coming from other parties; tools and utilities necessary for development. There are also processes that strongly resemble an assembly line and obviously, extensive testing and validation.

Similarly, one can consider Software as a Service provisioning as an industrial process. There are requests coming from the developers, they are transformed into plans that describe the way how different software components must be collected, composed, deployed, maintained and quality controlled. A timely – and sometimes time critical – deployment requires not just the presence of the necessary software but also the selection of the right resources, assuring their availability, their proper configuration and orchestration. As it can be seen, behind the masquerade of a “service” there is a complex coordination of various software, hardware and sometimes human entities both in time and space. What can we do about this coordination?

Well, if these procedures resemble industrial production lines, why don’t we approach them using well established manufacturing methods? Entice is aimed at storing, transferring and deploying Virtual Machine images in a dynamic, on demand way. Virtual Machine images are created, decomposed, parts are transferred, from the scattered image fragments the necessary components are gathered and re-assembled, all steps executed with strong criteria for optimum.

If we look beyond the challenges posed by software technology, the timely coordination of these processes largely determines the usability and success of the idea. We envision manufacturing metaphors and applying industrial approaches such as supply chain management to model and coordinate the individual processes related to synthesis, analysis, decomposition and composition of Virtual Machine images in order to assure the realization of Entice objectives.

ENTICE Begins Work to Develop Optimised Virtual Machine Images

We are proud to announce the launch of the ENTICE project took place in the evocative surrounds of Innsbruck this month. Our consortium of leading research organisations and universities will combine with leading commercial partners from across Europe and set out to defeat a set of critical barriers that prevent many users from industry, business and academia from effectively using Cloud resources and virtualised environments for their computing and data processing needs.

Meeting for the first time in Innsbruck, Austria, our project partners began work on addressing the five identified barriers that we have set out to overcome:

  1. Manual, error-prone and time consuming VM image creation,
  2. Monolithic VM images with large deployment and migration overheads,
  3. Proprietary un-optimised VM repositories,
  4. Inelastic resource provisioning, and
  5. Lack of information to support effective VM image optimisation.

Drawing together experience experts in the fields of research and industry, the ENTICE consortium contains partners from Spain, Slovenia, Hungary and the UK ad will be led by the University of Innsbruck, in Austria.

In this project, we will research and create a novel VM repository and operational environment named ENTICE for federated Cloud infrastructures aiming to:

  • Simplify the creation of lightweight and highly optimised VM images tuned for functional descriptions of applications;
  • Automatically decompose and distribute VM images based on multi-objective optimisation (performance, economic costs, storage size, and QoS needs) and a knowledge base and reasoning infrastructure to meet application runtime requirements; and
  • Elastic auto-scale applications on Cloud resources based on their fluctuating load with optimised VM interoperability across Cloud infrastructures and without provider lock-in, in order to finally fulfill the promises that virtualization technology has failed to deliver so far.

Virtualization is a key technology in Cloud computing that allows users to run multiple virtual machines (VM) with their own application environment on top of physical hardware. Virtualization enables scaling up and down of applications by elastic on-demand provisioning of VMs in response to their variable load to achieve increased utilisation efficiency at a lower operational cost, while guaranteeing the desired level of Quality of Service (QoS, such as response time) to the end-users. Typically, VMs are created using provider specific templates (so-called VM images) that are stored in proprietary repositories, leading to provider lock-in and hampering portability or simultaneous usage of multiple federated Clouds. In this context, optimisation at the level of the VM images is needed both by the applications and by the underlying Cloud providers for improved resource usage, operational costs, elasticity, storage use, and other desired QoS-related features.

Existing research mostly focuses on pre-optimising algorithms, which are not applicable to already available VM images. With its VM synthesiser, ENTICE will extend preoptimising approaches so that image dependency descriptions are mostly automatically generated. The project will also introduce new comprehensive post-optimising algorithms so that existing VM images can be automatically adapted to dynamic Cloud environments.

ENTICE project aims to achieve a major breakthrough in simplified, storage-efficient and cost-effective creation, usage, and portability of VM images to dramatically improve elasticity and load balancing across federated Cloud infrastructures. ENTICE will reach far beyond existing systems by its unique and highly ambitious goal to distribute VM images across Cloud infrastructures for multiple possibly conlicting optimisation objectives including performance and QoS-related goals, operational costs, and storage from which applications and Cloud providers can bene_t. In the following we describe the most important research challenges that must be addressed to bring the current state-of-the-art to a new innovation level.

We’d love to hear what you think about the ENTICE project and are always keen to hear from collaboration partners and other interested stakeholders. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss any aspect of the project and to find out more.