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Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-03-31

DOSSIER-Cloud proposes a series of coordination and support actions for promoting research in the area of Software Engineering for Distributed Systems development. It brings together two internationally recognized scientific groups from the Netherlands (Tilburg University, UvT) and Italy (Politecnico Milano, POLIMI) that collaborate with Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) to facilitate transfer of scientific knowledge, expertise and best research practices from UvT and POLIMI to CUT.
Three research topics are investigated: (i) A unified framework for developing distributed software systems with a dedicated DevOps-oriented life-cycle model that directs practitioners (developers and operators) on how to deliver services faster and accommodate easy changes (ii) Definition of new, customized Monitoring and Control Mechanisms that permit automatic deployment and reconfiguration (iii) Automating procedures for adjusting and reconfiguring the DevOps environment driven by quality indicators, such as performance, security and elasticity.
DOSSIER-Cloud has three main intertwined objectives:
(i) Acquire new and enhance existing knowledge on the three research topics of interest; (ii) Share research experiences and best practices with the leading institutions; (iii) Form a collaboration basis with stakeholders and secure industrial involvement.
A variety of actions are performed to achieve the objectives:
• Exchange personnel and perform site visits
• Organise schools and workshops with industrial and market participation
• Deliver special purpose/theme lectures and presentation by members of UvT and POLIMI
• Offer training , tutoring and mentoring on specific research methods and tools developed by UvT and POLIMI
• Continuous raising of awareness through distribution of electronic material to target groups and maintenance of social network accounts
The work performed so far followed the initial plan and executed the corresponding activities of four work packages. Apart from WP1, which is concerned with Project Management activities and WP6 that comprises Dissemination, Communication and Exploitation tasks, two core work packages were also executed, fully or in part, namely WP2 - New software process for developing and operating distributed applications and WP3 - Metrics and Measurement activities.
WP2 was involved with studying the software process and the phases of a life-cycle model for a DevOps oriented software development approach of distributed systems and services. During this WP, 4 different site-visits were organized and performed to POLIMI, 3 to UvT (2 on premises and 1 to Greece participating to a summer school with lectures organized by UvT and delivered by various faculty members and researchers of universities worldwide, including UvT’s team - 10th Symposium and Summer School on Service-Oriented Computing, The CUT team numbered 3-5 persons on average in each visit comprising faculty, master and PhD students, and senior researchers. During these visits members of the leading institutions delivered talks and lectures, discussion and brainstorming sessions were held, and essentially knowledge and research expertise was transferred on a number of different scientific topics, such as, distributed software services or applications, DevOps principles, activities and workflows, and communication and organizational structure in DevOps environments. In addition, CUT was able to meet and discuss opportunities of collaboration with local stakeholders in the Netherlands and Cyprus.
WP3 deals with a framework for Metrics and Measurements of the Cloud environment. In this context 2 site visits were organized to POLIMI and 1 to UvT, with a total of 13 people attending. During the visits to Milan the CUT team had the chance to attend exhibitions and study the POLIMI’s Cloud infrastructure. In Tilburg groups from CUT and UvT had the chance to meet with people from the province of North Brabant and discuss about future collaboration in the field of smart agriculture and livestock production. A series of talks and lectures were again delivered by members of the leading institutions to CUT, while discussion and brainstorming sessions were held which led to creating a new research capacity on a number of different scientific topics, such as distributed systems, Cloud computing environment, service delivery and transition to Microservices;
The collaboration between the partners of the Dossier project so far has resulted in the preparation and submission of two H2020 proposals for funding and the expansion of CUT’s network of collaborators to other European countries and centers of research excellence. The first one was submitted under the pillar Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation, Teaming Phase 1, while the second under Co-Creation for Growth and Inclusion. Both proposals include a number of significant institutions like LIRIS/CNRS from France, Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering from Germany and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. In addition, two papers are currently being prepared as a result of research efforts in the areas of DevOps oriented Software Engineering and the migration of traditional monolithic software to a set of interacting microservices.
Finally, WP6 dealt with Dissemination, Communication and Exploitation activities, which were structured around two main axes, digital presence (web site and accounts on social networks), and organization of stakeholders open days or meetings in each of the partner counties.
DOSSIER-Cloud aspires to investigate new areas in distributed software development with emphasis on software engineering, DevOps and automations. We currently investigate two subjects that will potentially lead to publications: (i) Definition of research challenges on DevOps oriented Software Engineering; (ii) Substitution of monolithic software development with the use of microservices. Other research areas have also been identified, which will be pursued at later stages, such as automatic Cloud resource management, where we will employ recommender systems based on machine learning and optimization algorithms to guide the provision of resources (servers, VMs) so that demand is properly served according to SLAs and energy consumption is lowered. Finally, we are investigating pricing schemes for Cloud services provision and team organization structures for distributed systems development.
DOSSIER -Cloud is expected to have a high socio-economic impact. Industrial and market stakeholders (e.g. software solution developers, cloud service providers and vendors, etc.) will increase productivity, reduce development effort/cost, and improve quality of software services and applications. So far the consortium has managed to attract interest among specific groups of stakeholders in the participating countries and investigate collaboration with medium to large companies from various disciplines (e.g. light equipment manufacturers, automotive industry, agricultural and livestock production, shipping and finance) concerning methodologies and tools for distributed software services development and delivery, as well as smart data processing. In addition, one software development SME in Cyprus has agreed to become a living case-study for migrating its systems (CRM, time and attendance, personnel management) to the Cloud utilizing concepts and methodologies resulted by the project.