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A NOVEL FRAMEWORK FOR MULTI-CLOUD SERVICES DEVELOPMENT, ORCHESTRATION, DEPLOYMENT AND CONTINUOUS MANAGEMENT FOSTERING CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES UPTAKE FROM DIGITAL SMES AND STARTUPS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - UNICORN (A NOVEL FRAMEWORK FOR MULTI-CLOUD SERVICES DEVELOPMENT, ORCHESTRATION, DEPLOYMENT AND CONTINUOUS MANAGEMENT FOSTERING CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES UPTAKE FROM DIGITAL SMES AND STARTUPS)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

UNICORN project focuses on delivering a unified platform that will facilitate SMEs and Startups to develop, deploy and manage secure-by-design and elastic-by-design cloud applications and services, that follow the micro-service architectural paradigm, on multi-cloud programmable execution environments. By adopting microservices, SMEs and Startups manage to lower innovation barriers and gain significant benefits. As our Stakeholders Analysis study has shown (see D1.1) there are still a number of challenges that need to be overcome to make this adoption simpler and faster, i.e. management of the lifecycle of Multi-Cloud Application Deployments;
vedor lock-in; security, compliance and code vulnerabilities; data protection privacy constraints.
To overcome these challenges, the UNICORN project facilitates SMEs and Startups to develop, deploy and manage secure-by-design and elastic-by-design cloud applications and services, that follow the micro-service architectural paradigm, on multi-cloud programmable execution environments. The core project result, UCO platform, goes beyond the offerings of existing platforms, putting particular emphasis on security, scalability and elasticity control enabled through policy and constraint definition, as well as through continuous risk and vulnerability assessment, and complements its solution with advanced orchestration and monitoring capabilities.
Main results of this period include:
Result R1. UNICORN Design Libraries: four design libraries for cloud application developers (D2.2) for monitoring, elastic scaling, security enforcement and privacy preserving policies and constraints that will be enabled during deployment and runtime by the underlying UNICORN Orchestration Services.
Result R2. UNICORN Dashboard and Cloud IDE Plugin: includes a unified environment for deployment, management and runtime monitoring and management of both microservices and underlying cloud offerings (D2.2).
Result R3. UNICORN Orchestration Mechanisms: includes the Multi-Cloud Resource Manager and Network Overlay Manager supporting multiple and heterogeneous cloud offerings from OpenStack and AWS, the Policy Engine for policy and constraint enablement and management, and the cloud application lifecycle Optimization Manager (Deliverable D3.2).
Result R4. UNICORN Continuous Security and Privacy-by-Design Mechanisms: includes the Intrusion Detection System (IDS) for perimeter security enforcement and data privacy preserving, and the Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Service (Deliverable D4.2).
Result R5. UNICORN Governance Mechanisms: includes the Monitoring Service (Catascopia) for resource and application behavior monitoring, the Analytics Service (StreamSight) for analytics compilation and continuous extraction, and the Decision-Making and Auto-Scaling Service for runtime dynamic adaptation of the underlying cloud offerings supporting the application execution environment (Deliverable D5.2).
Result R6. SME Validation Contest: includes the preparation of the contest and SME/Startup selection process (Deliverable D6.2) and the coaching and mentoring of the 12 selected SME/Startups so as to deploy their services by utilizing the UNICORN ecosystem and provide continuous feedback that enabled UNICORN to improve the quality and availability of its final offerings by tracking and fixing software bug reports and performance issues of the platform (Deliverable D6.4).
Result R7. UNICORN Demonstrators: includes the development of four demonstrators originating from different application domains (IoT analytics, VoIP telephony, educational gaming, cloud offerings marketplace) which demonstrated the wide applicability of the UNICORN offerings under different use-case scenarios (e.g. VoIP telephony featured strong privacy requirements, while the IoT analytics featured elastic scaling requirements) and helped the UNICORN Platform by providing critical feedback(Deliverable D6.3).
Result R8. UCO platform: includes the integration of the final releases of all UNICORN services, the establishment of the Continuous Integration and Delivery Pipeline, the enablement of the Software Quality Assessment Module, the online Documentation Service which hosts the automatically generated documentation of the UNICORN Design Libraries and Platform Services functionality and API calls, and significant improvement of both the performance and quality of the ecosystems offering after the feedback provided by the 12 participants of the Idea Innovation Contest and the 4 Demonstrators (Deliverable D1.3).
Result R9. The UNICORN Exploitation plan which provides a comprehensive documentation of the plan developed to ensure the UNICORN ecosystem sustainability beyond the end of the project (Deliverable 7.5).
Result R10. CEN-CELEC specification for Analytics Insights and Scaling Policies for Microservices (CWA17494).
Result R11. The scientific results of the project are supported with several peer-reviewed publications in established journals, magazines and conference venues.
The aim of the UNICORN project is to empower the European digital SME and Startup eco-system by delivering a novel and unified framework that simplifies the design, deployment and management of secure and elastic-by- design cloud applications that follow the micro-service architectural paradigm and can be deployed over multi-cloud programmable execution environments. UNICORN by nature is a technological advanced project and the innovation activities leading towards designing and implementing the UNICORN eco-system are based upon both utilizing and contributing to popular open-source and EU co-funded projects. In respect to microservices, UNICORN aspires to facilitate the DevOps teams in adopting the microservice architectural paradigm by providing one collaborative and unified environment to develop applications, share workspaces, ship coded artefacts to the cloud, and manage their entire deployment lifespan. Going beyond the offerings of the existing platforms, UNICORN puts particular emphasis on security, scalability and elasticity control enabled through policy and constraint definition, as well as through continuous risk and vulnerability assessment, and complements the main result, UCO platform, with advanced orchestration and monitoring capabilities.

In order to expand the potential exploitation and sustainability of project results The UNICORN consortium initiated a validation contest during the project life cycle that selected external SMEs to take test, explore, validate and UCO platform and provide meaningful contribution for further optimizations. Finally, eleven SMEs from different economic domains that have developed small-scale validation prototypes addressing industry use cases. These companies provided valuable feedback for the improvement and final evaluation of the UCO platform.
A further achievement was the development a CEN-CELEC specification for Analytics Insights and Scaling Policies for Microservices (CWA17494). The importance of this specification is to increase aware-ness in defining and declaring analytics queries and elasticity optimization rules in common and portable format that enables developers to manage analytics and scaling in an interoperable manner across different cloud offerings and platforms.
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