how not to be seen in the Cloud PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 January 2011 12:16

When users interact with a server,  either exposed to the Internet or within an intranet, privacy issues arise. They become extremely worrying in public clouds, where data are provided to an infrastructure hosted outside user's premises. The right to act without observation becomes even more important in Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) environments.  When somebody stores personal information on her account at a DaaS like VDD, she would be sure that her data would remain safe and nobody but the owner can read them. It would be also desirable to make the whole list of operations performed by a user on her account, obscure or meaningless for the system administrator.
At the moment, VDD project is focusing on how to face such a problem. We have performed a preliminary experimental evaluation of a Progressive Privacy solution for a DaaS system. Progressive Privacy is a privacy preserving model which can be configurable (possibly on-demand) by a user not only quantitatively but rather qualitatively, i.e., the user is allowed to discriminate what type of information must be preserved and to what extent, according to her desired profiles of privacy. To this end, a lightweight client-side proxy named Hedge Proxy has been designed such that non-intelligible user contents and non-traceable user actions are guaranteed by enabling Homomorphic Encryption, Oblivious Transfer and Query Obfuscation schemes in the proxy.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 January 2011 14:19
VDD presented at confSL PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 June 2010 11:08

CONFSL logo The fourth edition of the Italian Conference on Free Software (confSL) took place in Cagliari (Sardinia) this year. Bringing together University and LUGs, from one side, and Public Administration and young and dynamic small enterprises, from another, confSL is always an important appointment for Free Software movement, useful for understanding how market, law and economy evolve, making the point about work in progress and sharing information and news.

Rich, as usual, the program of workshops and seminars, ranging over technical and cultural aspects and including law, case studies, research and development projects. Among the technical seminars, we mention the one by FlossLab, presenting its application suite for Public Administration, the portal platform JAPS, Drush, a software for creating Drupal-based distributions, Notredam, a platform for Digital Asset Management and KLone, a framework for developing super fast and scalable web applications in C/C++. An article on VDD in conference proceedings has been presented by Binario Etico. It received very good feedback, especially from a technical point of view, and useful suggestions for making VDD an actually productive system. It seems this is the hot issue now!

Last Updated on Friday, 14 January 2011 14:03
dispatching over the Internet PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 20:13

Vdd dispatched over the InternetIt is now possible to visualize and use VDD desktops directly inside your browser. We have tested a number of methods and protocols to enable this feature. We evaluated VNC, RDesktop and X. VNC proved the best in terms of compression and performance. At first we chose to provide a VNC client to VDD users. We then prefered to directly resort to a web browser. So we used a VNC plugin for firefox, mozilla-gtk-vnc. We developed a simple Web GUI (see figure) and deply it on a web server on the VDD server. So just by clicking on your favourite desktop, you can see it projected directly into your browser. It is possibile to open multiple browser tabs, thus making switching among desktops confortable. We also produced a short video that shows all this.

Of course, in order to use this feature with a decent or at least acceptable performance, VDD server should be located in a network provided with a quite high upload bandwidth (which is not the case of VDD developmentĀ  network, at the moment). ADSL connection services are not suitable for delivering this service on the Internet. At this page of the documentation, technical information on how to set up dispatching on the internet can be found.

mapping performance: from system to users PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 April 2010 10:45

performance mappingPerformance is a key issue when desktops are concerned, but system tuning is pointless, if users do not perceive any significant improvement. Common benchmarks do not give a direct indication of performance that is relevant for interactive applications, where the most important parameter is responsiveness perceived by users. We then developed a method for observing low-level system parameters while desktop operations take place, in order to describe correlations and hence trace a mapping. By analyzing such benchmarks, we can achieve an understanding of the low-level behavior of the system related to them.

So whenever a specific deployment of VDD is needed, such studies can assist system admins to put final users in a confortable environment. In the report Mapping system level to desktop level performance, we introduce this method and present some results obtained in applying it into our environment.

The report is primarily meant to describe a methodology to be used for understanding system behaviour from a user point of view and hence dimensioning VDD components and resources accordingly. But there are also some practical lessons learned during the experience. For example, some distros performed better than others. In particular we were impressed by GNU/Linux CentOS, whereas Debian Lenny and Gentoo 10 were just a confirmation of the excellent systems they are. Also Fedora and Windows (especially XP) did quite well during tests. But in general every dispatched desktop, when tested one by one, made it impossible to understand that they were not physical and local. Individual utilization performs very well, and so does group utilization when users are well distributed on different virtual machines. We discovered, though, that the number of concurrent users using the same virtual machine is critical and we learned how to dimension system in order to have up to 5 concurrent users working fine on the same dispatched machine. More details can be found in the report. Enjoy the reading!

Download this file (report_on_performance_mapping.pdf)report_on_performance_mapping.pdf[Report Mapping system level to desktop level performance]792 Kb
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