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UCO validation completed: what SMEs achieved using it?

On the 19th of November, our contest winners met again. However, this time was different.

Contrary to their first physical meeting, now their every-day work has been revolutionised by the UCO Platform! SMEs and start-ups have finally reaped-off the benefits of the Platform!

During the physical meeting, they presented their main achievements with UCO Platform and the main benefits Platform has brought to their business:

  • less time needed to move from idea to the market;
  • quick deployment of the new instances;
  • reduced costs;
  • easier avoidance of vendor lock-in;
  • reduced costs;
  • increased security;
  • high cloud service availability.

Presentations of the SMEs were followed by the final discussion between the participants and project consortium.

Curious how the day went?

See our Final Demo VIDEO HERE!

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UNICORN Final Demo Event for SMEs: ‘Developing in multi-cloud environment with the UNICORN project: cheaper, easier and more efficient’

19 November 2019
Avenue de la Joyeuse Entrée 1, Brussels

It is estimated that among European digital SMEs, on average, each of them uses up to 6 different clouds.

However, deployment in multi-cloud environment raises the complexity of monitoring and management: such as designing secure software and ensuring customer data as well as ensuring resource scaling (elasticity). It results in higher costs and delayed time-to-market which might have a particularly harmful impact on SMEs and start-ups.
Therefore, research and innovation project UNICORN has developed the platform for cloud applications’ development which simplifies cloud application design process, shortens its time, increases developer’s productivity and ensures privacy and security requirements.

UNICORN Final Demo event for SMEs introduces Platform’s benefits to the companies. SMEs and start-ups will share their first-hand experience and business benefits they encountered when using the Platform. Meanwhile, our research team will demonstrate the innovative, interoperable and portable language for composing high-level analytic insights in the context of microservices.

 

Draft agenda:

14:15 – 14:40 Registration & Coffee

14:40-15:00 Welcome & UNICORN Project Presentation
Spiros Alexakis, CAS

15:00 – 15:30 Hear from your peers: start-up experience using UCO Platform
Pedro J. Molina, Metadev
Andreas Menychtas, BioAssist
Presentation of achieved results when using UCO Platform

15:30 – 15:45 Analytic insights for monitoring and auto-scaling microservices: we learned to do it easily!
Zacharias Georgiou (University of Cyprus)
Presentation of innovative interoperable and portable language for composing high-level analytic insights in the context of microservices.

15:45 – 16:00 Hear from your peers Pt.2: SME experience
Konstantinos Theodosiou (Ubitech) 
Presentation of Maestro product which utilises UCO Platform

16:00 – 16:15 Q&A session

16:15-17:00 Networking drinks

For the registration, please click HERE.

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Keeping up with the #unicornwinners

One month and ten days after the first initial meeting in Alicante, Unicorn partners and winners have been very busy. To begin with, the winners have had their Pre-report completed & validated by one of the unicorn experts. In their pre-reports, the winners have elaborated on how and with which means they plan to test and validate the Unicorn platform.

Using these reports partners prepared individual pages for the winners with infographics containing which indicators each winner is planning to measure.

What is more, a few days ago the Unicorn winners got together -virtually- this time for their first online workshop. During the workshop, the status of the platform was discussed, including updates on the UI, bug fixing and the IaaS infrastructure upgrade. Following that the partners held a QnA session containing questions that were sent in advance. Last on the agenda, partners and Unicorn winners discussed some requests and issues that came up from the one month of validation.

What is next you are wondering? A 1-to-1 virtual workshop, from 24th June and 5th July. Where a 1-hour Skype session between the winner and the associated technical unicorn expert will take place. During the session, the progress in the implementation of the validation prototypes/products with UNICORN will be discussed.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Contest winners meet for the virtual workshop!

Today H2020 project’s UNICORN validation contest winners connected from all parts of Europe to discuss the progress made while using UCO platform.

Their virtual meeting was meant to discuss the status of the platform, including updates on the UI, bug fixing and the IaaS infrastructure upgrade. Following that the partners held a QnA session containing questions that were sent in advance. Last on the agenda, partners and Unicorn winners discussed some requests and issues that came up from the one month of validation.

What is next you are wondering? A 1-to-1 work with our technical mentors, from 24th June and 5th July, whereby also a 1-hour Skype session between the winner and the associated technical Unicorn expert will take place. During the session, the progress in the implementation of the validation prototypes/products with UNICORN will be discussed, technical advise provided.

Check out our #winners adventures in the virtual workshop HERE.

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UNICORN’s contribution to European standardisation (update)

The UNICORN project intends to develop a solution to simplify the design, deployment and management of secure and flexible multi-cloud services. The project results will be transferred into a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) titled “Analytics Insights and Scaling Policies for Microservices”. Standardization is considered as an important and relevant topic by the project consortium. It is as an important tool to transfer knowledge from research into practice. The overall goal of the envisaged CEN Workshop Agreement is to give guidelines for platform-agnostic elasticity management of elastic-by-design microservices.

The CWA kick-off meeting took place in November 2018 in Athens. The Workshop participants discussed the structure of the document and agreed on future actions. This led to a first draft, which was presented at the UNICORN Plenary meeting in Alicante in April 2019. The first draft is an early version of the CWA, which will be enhanced by the end of May 2019. After completing the draft, the open commenting phase will be launched by CEN-CENELEC Management Centre (CCMC) for a duration of two months. This enables the public to submit technical comments to the draft CWA. After the commenting the phase is over, the Workshop participants will collect the comments and discuss whether they should be accepted or rejected in order to proceed with the finalization of the CWA. The CWA will be published by the end of 2019.

Copy of VALIDATION CONTEST (1)

Meet the UNICORN contest winners

The UNICORN contest stopped receiving applications on February 28th , after having been open since December 2018. During these 3 months the project partners have carried out various tasks of communication and dissemination of the contest in many ways, including announcements in social networks and specialized platforms, attendance at fairs and conferences related to entrepreneurship and Cloud Computing, demonstrations of the tool etc. By the closing date of the competition, a total of 55 companies from 20 European Union countries have submitted their applications.

At the deadline for the submission of applications, the evaluation phase of the competition began. Partners evaluated the proposals received from three main points of view:

  1. Adequacy and experience of the company
  2. Interest of the proposal and features considered
  3. Adequacy of indicators to be measured.

After the completion of the evaluation process and the sharing of the scores given by the consortium members, it is a real pleasure for us to list below the 12 companies that have been selected to test and help us improve the Unicorn platform:

  1. HOP Ubiquitous S.L.:

http://www.hopu.eu

  1. LeanXcale S.L.

https://www.leanxcale.com/

  1. Sinapse Energía SL

http://www.sinapseenergia.com/

  1. Metadev Sociedad Limitada

https://metadev.pro

  1. BioAssist SA

https://bioassist.gr

  1. Sirus NV

http://www.sirus.be

  1. LSTECH ESPANA SL

http://www.lstech.io

  1. IT-Labs-GMbH

https://www.it-labs.de/

  1. SC PIXELRAM GAMES SRL

http://www.pixelram.com

  1. Aniway Oy

http://www.aniway.fi/

  1. G& T.G NOVATEX SOLUTIONS LTD

http://www.novatexsolutions.eu

  1. Inobeta SRLS

http://www.inobeta.it

 

Congratulations to all those selected and welcome to UNICORN.

Stay tuned , more news to follow !

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UNICORN in Murcia DevOps

Partners from Cloud Incubator HUB attended Murcia DevOps meeting in the Spanish city of Murcia. At the meeting our partners explained how the Unicorn platform works  by showing a demo version for the audience to engage with. Additionally, and just days before the deadline of the UNICORN Validation Contest, they also presented the contest and what it has to offer to fellow developers at the meeting encouraging them to participate.

Murcia DevOps, is a monthly meeting held by a group of software developers, system administrators and other ICT professionals interested in the DevOps culture and the technologies with which it is related.

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Coping with success: Cloud Operations Platform UNICORN ease games growth pains and resulting customer disappointment?

Taming the cloud with UNICORN Cloud Operations Platform

In 2016, multi-cloud management and cloud cost optimization specialist RightScale surveyed 1,060 tech professionals across a broad cross-section of organizations about their adoption of cloud computing. The subsequent findings (detailed in their “State-of-the-Cloud” report here) were a key inspiration for UNICORN, an EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation project to facilitate the design and deployment of cloud applications and services, improving developers’ productivity by reducing cloud application design time via code annotations and blueprints for security. Although cloud deployment provides a powerful way to automate application and infrastructure management, developers have noted that hybrid deployments raise the complexity of monitoring and management across multiple clouds (according to the 2016 report, SMEs use up to six different clouds on average and one out of five SMEs manage deployments with more than 1000 virtual machines).

Key challenges and UNICORN

From a development perspective, designing secure software and ensuring customer data privacy is challenging enough, but resource scaling (“elasticity”) introduces yet another important cloud deployment issue to tackle as well. Several application management platforms claim to address these issues, including proprietary solutions like AWS CloudFormation and Oracle Exalogic (locking users to their specific providers) and open frameworks like CAMF and Juju (allowing users to choose their cloud provider, including AWS, Google Compute Cloud and Microsoft Azure). However, none of these solutions wholly resolve data protection and privacy concerns or provide the ability to manage the lifecycle of a cloud service distributed across multiple availability zones and/or cloud sites. Techniques to deal with elasticity properties covering resources, costs and quality are also not well-supported. Most significantly, these tools are designed to address cloud management issues after application development, delaying time-to-market and thus hitting especially SMEs and start-ups with smaller development teams hard. By reducing cloud application design time via code annotations and blueprints for security, UNICORN aims to solve all these cloud application and services issues for developers.

ProsocialLearn – a game development example

The Prosocial Learning Digital Game (PLDG) demonstrator is a cloud-based multiplayer game in which players (in particular school-age children) develop their social skills. The overall development process has highlighted several technical issues, including data volume handling, rapid scaling, security/authentication and compliance. Developer Redikod is using a modified version of Unity’s uMMORPG multiplayer game base for the PLDG demonstrator’s client and server. The game client and game server are running together in a docker container along with nginx to host the game client, specifically a WebGL build and nodejs server using expressjs for communication with the demonstrator’s external host server (running the central ProsocialLearn platform infrastructure) that controls the game lifecycle via voice chat using peerjs. One important barrier encountered with Unity is that it does not support secure web sockets, required by the developer to serve content via secure https. To work around this, Redikod included a plug-in with the WebGL build that changes all ws calls to wss calls. That does not work with the server though, so nginx has been used as a reverse proxy so the Unity server can use unsecure web sockets, but the client connects with secure ones. Redikod has also encountered issues with voice chat not having access to the ssl certificate used to serve secure web pages and services. Since the peerjs server cannot be served from the same location as the game is served, Redikod had to set-up a peerjs server on a separate web server. There are also some issues with getting peerjs and voice sensors to work simultaneously, especially in a push-to-talk environment. ‘ UNICORN-enhanced cloud computing applied to the PLDG demonstrator enabled a rapidly scalable, cost-effective IT infrastructure on demand, coping with rapidly growing user demand at different times and with enormous, fluid and constantly updated datasets by applying elasticity policies through annotations within the game’s source code, while satisfying particularly strict security needs with enforcement annotations, and privacy requirements via mechanisms that restrict data movement between different geographic regions.
Join the dev competition!

UNICORN has also launched a contest to test and validate the platform by developing software or use-cases using the UNICORN framework, with twelve selected SMEs and start-ups to each receive 10,000 EUR in funding. The submission deadline is 28 February – so learn more about UNICORN and the contest at unicorn-project.eu and apply now!

You can download the article here

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Keep the contest applications coming!

UNICORN partners are in for a lot of work, as they continually receive applications for the validation contest.
At this moment, they are currently reviewing numerous applications from various SMEs and start-ups around Europe, their goal is to select just 12, that will each receive a 10,000 euros funding in order to test and validate UNICORNs product either using their own software or use-cases using the UNICORN framework.

But that’s just not only it! Winners will have access to the UNICORN platform and to all the resources needed for a successful validation including Cloud hosting services, and UNICORN training and examples, among others.

Moreover, they will be invited to participate in UNICORN training workshops, and their venture will be introduced to the Startup Europe entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Does all this sound good to you? then do not procrastinate! apply and join the competition and you might be one of the selected participants.

Deadline for applications is February the 28th 2019.

UNICORN project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731846.

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