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Demystifying Hyperconvergence

Posted by Marc-Elian Bégin on 20-Sep-2016 15:39:29

It's hard to keep up with IT trends. Hyperconvergence is one of the latest buzz words in IT and cloud computing. It embodies an attempt to simplify IT systems and provides simpler hardware and software solutions from which to build integrated cloud services.  It's not surprising, since the IT world is swimming in complexity and most C-level executives are trying to understand why they don't reap the benefit of recent moves toward cloud computing and software-defined everything.

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Topics: Cloud for Business

How to Improve Security to Amazon Web Services

Posted by Lionel Schaub on 06-May-2016 12:34:19

Using AWS's security best practices with SlipStream

A little while ago, Amazon Web Services introduced a free service called IAM, which stands for Identity and Access Management. IAM is a great tool which allows you to increase security without too much effort. With it, you can securely control access to AWS services by creating sub-users and retaining a fine grain control over which actions each sub-user can do. You can disable or delete access and secret keys of your AWS root account and create IAM users with the principle of least privilege in mind.

SlipStream is SixSq's multi-cloud application management platform, in other words a launch pad for your apps. It supports a long list of clouds, including AWS, and gives users a simple, quick way to deploy their apps to the cloud of their choice.



SlipStream is inherently secure and provides a simple way for you to launch your apps. You simply create an account via Nuvla, enable AWS, if that's the cloud provider you want, by configuring your account, and off you go. If you are the only one using the AWS account, you're done. If not, you may want to use IAM to create a series of sub-accounts so that you can restrict access to certain parts of your AWS account. To do this, carry out the following actions using IAM.

Enable actions for SlipStream

The following list explains which actions need to be enabled for different features of SlipStream.


Common:

ec2:CreateTags
ec2:ImportKeyPair
ec2:DeleteKeyPair
ec2:DescribeInstances
ec2:RunInstances
ec2:TerminateInstances
ec2:DescribeRegions
ec2:DescribeSecurityGroups
ec2:CreateSecurityGroup
ec2:AuthorizeSecurityGroupIngress

 


For build image:
ec2:CreateImage
ec2:CreateKeyPair
ec2:StopInstances
ec2:DescribeImages

Adding a IAM user for SlipStream

First of all you need to login to the Amazon AWS console at https://console.aws.amazon.com.

Once you are logged in you can access the IAM console by clicking on your name (at the top right) and
then click on `Security Credentials` or you can simply access this URL https://console.aws.amazon.com/iam/.

Now click on `Users` in the left menu and click on `Create New Users`. Set one or more usernames (e.g. SlipStream), make sure the checkbox `Generate an access key for each user` and click on  `Create`.


Then click on `Show User Security Credentials` and save them on a safe place. It will be impossible to retreive the `Secret Access Key` afterwards. You can also click on `Download Credentials` to download them as a CSV file. Please ensure they are stored in a safe place. Click on `Close` to return to the list of IAM users.

Then click on `Policiesers` in the left menu and click on `Create Policy`. Select `Create Your Own Policy`. Set a name for this policy (e.g. SlipStreamUser-Policy) and a description (e.g. Grant the least privileges needed to use all features of SlipStream. Use it for all IAM users created to be used with SlipStream). You can then copy-paste the following Policy Document:


{
"Version": "2012-10-17",
"Statement": [{
"Sid": "SlipStreamUser",
"Effect": "Allow",
"Action": [
"ec2:CreateImage",
"ec2:CreateKeyPair",
"ec2:CreateTags",
"ec2:DeleteKeyPair",
"ec2:DescribeImages",
"ec2:DescribeInstances",
"ec2:DescribeRegions",
"ec2:ImportKeyPair",
"ec2:RunInstances",
"ec2:StopInstances",
"ec2:TerminateInstances",
"ec2:DescribeSecurityGroups",
"ec2:CreateSecurityGroup",
"ec2:AuthorizeSecurityGroupIngress"
],
"Resource": ["*"]}]}


Once this is done you can click on `Create Policy` and you will return to the list of Policies. Now click on the policy you've just created and select the tab `Attached Entities`. By clicking on the `Attach` button, you can select the users for which you want this policy to apply.

Now you can configure your SlipStream user account(s) to use the credentials downloaded previously.
Don’t forget to delete/disable all Access keys of your AWS root account. 

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with the SixSq support team

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Topics: Cloud for Techies

What is a Smart City?

Posted by Louise Merifield on 14-Apr-2016 09:00:00

This basic guide to smart cities gives an introduction to one of today's hot topics.

Why is everyone talking about smart cities?

It is estimated that the world’s population will grow to nine billion by 2043 and ten billion by 2083.

This population growth is likely to produce the biggest strain on urban areas, with 11% of the global population currently living in the world’s 101 larger cities - a figure which is expected to rise to 23% by the end of the century. City governers and industry leaders have to find ways to deal with this huge expansion.

At the same time, the latest technological advances give us access to solutions and services which were previously unimaginable. Look at how the internet and smart phone have changed the way you live. To address the key challenges of population expansion and rapid urbanisation, cities are exploring these technological advancements, to find ways to increase efficiency and help tackle the issues that come with an increased population.

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Topics: Smart Cities

Multi-Cloud Provisioning Made Easy

Posted by Konstantin Skaburskas on 14-Mar-2016 09:00:00

 

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Topics: Cloud for Techies

Towards Automated Cloud Application Placement

Posted by Charles Loomis on 05-Mar-2016 17:52:59

By using portable cloud application definitions, you can choose the best cloud service provider every time you deploy your application with SixSq's cloud deployment software solution, SlipStream. To make intelligent choices, however, you need reliable and timely information about each provider.

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Topics: Cloud for Techies

Tackling Cloud Jargon

Posted by Charles Loomis on 22-Jun-2015 10:00:00

My previous post on cloud technologies didn't cover the type of computing resources provided by the cloud or who the customers of cloud services are. Providing those specifics involves understanding some of the jargon associated with the cloud.

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Topics: Cloud Basics

What is Cloud Technology?

Posted by Charles Loomis on 17-Jun-2015 10:00:00

What is cloud technology? Because of the hype surrounding cloud technologies, the term “cloud” has been used to label and to sell a vast array of products that have little or nothing to do with the “cloud”. This serves only to confuse people about what features a cloud should have and how they could benefit from a cloud. To clarify things a bit, let’s see how cloud technologies have emerged from previous ideas.

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Topics: Cloud Basics

How Can Managed Service Providers Keep Pace with the Cloud Market?

Posted by Louise Merifield on 04-May-2015 10:13:00

This blog looks the position of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in the technology market and how service providers can increase margins.

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Topics: Cloud for Business

What is a cloud-in-a box?

Posted by Louise Merifield on 03-May-2015 10:31:00

 

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Topics: Cloud Basics

What's the Difference Between Virtualisation and Cloud?

Posted by Louise Merifield on 09-Apr-2015 09:30:00

The fact that  Babbage came up with the idea of the first programmable computer way back in 1837 totally blows my mind. How did he do that? I guess he was the very first geek. And these IT geeks continue to amaze us all. Some clever clogs came up with the idea that you can run virtual machines  inside a computer, so a piece of software pretends it is a real server. In this way, you can have one physical box running many operating systems and applications at the same time. This brings many advantages, including energy savings, faster server installation (you don't have to fill out a form and wait for a physical box to be delivered) and higher availability and uptime. So from a cost standpoint, virtualisation is a great move. You can do much more with much less, which is why, reportedly, more than 70% of companies run at least some of their workload on virtual machines.  This diagram gives an idea of the principal:

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Topics: Cloud Basics