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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.

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UNICORN Validation contest for SMEs and start-ups: challenge yourself and explore business benefits with UNICORN

Are you developing in a multi-cloud environment? Have you experienced long hours or days that it takes to deploy your instances? Managing your services and ensuring security and privacy is your pain-point? Any other key issues you experience while designing, deploying and managing your software?

If so, UNICORN might have an answer for you ! Even more, NOW you can not only solve these problems for free, using the UNICORN platform, but also EARN money while doing so!

How? It is very simple – participate in UNICORN Validation competition, challenge yourself and find the answer to the difficulties your company faces!

UNICORN Competition

In December 2018 H2020 project UNICORN launched a contest to test and validate the UNICORN Cloud Operations Platform, The Contest is now open and ends on February 28.

It will allow the selected companies to receive 10,000 euro and to validate UNICORN between April and October 2019.  All you need to do is to fill in a short application form, explaining what products/services would you use on the UNICORN platform, providing some information about your company and letting us know what features of UNICORN you could test!

UNICORN consortium will choose 12 companies, which will receive 10,000 euro in addition to the personalised training on the usage of the platform. In addition, you will be invited to present your results in a plenary international event in November next year, as well as get personalised promotion of your company and your achieved results using UNICORN communication channels.

All start-ups and small and medium-sized companies that have experience in the development of cloud applications and DevOps methodology can aspire to this contest.

Already curious? Well, it only get’s better.. So what will UNICORN platform offer?

UNICORN benefits your business!

The UNICORN platform will allow you to configure, deploy and monitor, in an innovative way, applications in the cloud.

UNICORN’s offer lies around its three main propositions:

  • Simplifying the design, deployment and management of secure, privacy and elastic – by design – multi-cloud services by means of the development and design of libraries as well as the enabling of a continuous orchestration and automatic optimization of cloud services running on virtual instances or micro-execution containers.
  • Enabling software developers to design and develop secure and elastic applications through a cloud IDE plug-in that incorporates a set of software code annotations, validation and packaging tools
  • Eliminating source code vulnerabilities, providing continuous risk, cost and vulnerability assessment.

Wanna be first one to try these out? Then check How to apply below!

How to apply and how to find out more?

All information and UNICORN application form are available in the Contest page: http://unicorn-project.eu/index.php/contest/

Learn more about the UNICORN in our Basic Usage Guide: https://www.slideshare.net/ubigiannis/unicorn-platform-basic-usage-guide
All the details explained in the online documentation of UNICORN: https://unicorn-documentation.readthedocs.io/en/latest/

 

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UNICORN Validation contest – the word is spreading!

From Scandinavia to Spain… The word is spreading – SMEs and start-ups offering their services in the multi-cloud environment (or planning to do it in the near future) are now offered to win 10.000 euro + have a chance to use UNICORN platform to that easier and faster + receive the professional guidance from UNICORN technical mentors!

All they need to do is to apply to the UNICORN Validation Contest before the end of February! Find out more information and APPLY HERE.

If you speak Spanish, you can also check what local media has to say about the Validation Contest: JUMP HERE

If you are in gaming industry, read more in Nordic Games Newsletter HERE!

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UNICORN scientific workshop @ 10th IEEE international conference

On the 10th of December, UNICORN’s partner UCY organised UNICORN scientific workshop – tutorial of UNICORN services at the  10th IEEE international conference on Cloud Computing Technology and Science (CloudCom2018).

The workshop was titled “Designing Scalable and Secure Microservices by Embracing DevOps-as-a-Service Offerings” and was conducted by Demetris Trihinas. The workshop aimed at the academic researchers; software developers and the DevOps Engineers.  The workshops tackled an issue of re-engineering applications into microservices which does not remove the operational complexity and risk of failure. In this context, UNICORN’s DevOps-as-a-Service platform, was presented, stressing that it provides software teams of all sizes with a powerful toolset to simplify and speed up the development and management of scalable and secure applications over multi-cloud environments.

 

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Unicorn participates at the ICT2018 in Vienna

UNICORN partners attended the ICT 2018 Conference in Vienna, where 6 plenary sessions on topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Next Generation Internet, Digital Skills and High-Performance Computing took place.

What is more speakers from policy circles, academia, civil society and industry highlighted their perspectives and priorities, and discussed how each can contribute to the successful digital transformation of Europe.

Our consortium partners had the chance to attend the conference in Vienna where they promoted UNICORN’s validation contest to the public. Find more information on the contest here

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UNICORN validation contest is now open!

It is with great pleasure that today, we are officially launching the UNICORN VALIDATION CONTEST for start-ups/SMEs. Twelve applicants among participants will be selected and receive a 10,000 € validation contract, with which they will validate the Unicorn platform.

Participants will make use of the platform in order to develop their own applications as from April to October 2019, to test and validate the platform by developing their own software or use-cases using the UNICORN framework.

During the development phase, participants 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.

Meanwhile they will have the opportunity to attend related events and get trained by UNICORN experts where they will also get the chance to demonstrate their progress and results and get introduced to the Start-up Europe entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The call of participation will be officially closed by the end of February 2019!

Don’t think about it twice! Hurry up and fill in the participation form that you will find here! http://unicorn-project.eu/index.php/contest/.

The UNICORN consortium wishes Good luck to all participants!

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UNICORN in Dockercon technology conference in Barcelona

UNICORN attends today Dockercon Technology conference, where customers and community come to learn, share and connect with each other. Attendees are a mix of developers, systems admins, architects, and IT decision makers.

Our partner from SUIT5 is attending and will disseminate UNICORN in the conference by presenting its product and what it has to offer.

You can find more on the event here

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UNICORN attends the South Summit

Partners from the Cloud Incubator HUB of the UPCT attended South Summit 2018 on October the 3rd. South Summit is one of the largest startups and innovation fairs in Spain, and in this edition the numbers were beyond expectations 650+ investors, 3500+ startups participated and $1.4+ billion raised.

UPCT partners were able to contact some of the startups attending the fair, and described in detail the UNICORN platform and the double opportunity it offers: on the one hand, utilizing a beyond-state-of-the-art cloud computing platform that simplifies (1) the deployment and orchestration of micro-services based applications, (2) the continuous monitoring and reporting of several parameters related to application performance, and (3) the detection of intrusions and cyber attacks by continuously supervising network activity in order to detect attack patterns; and on the other hand, participating in UNICORN validation contest to get one of the twelve 10.000€ validation contracts we offer, which will allow them to have early access to the platform and to the experts who develop it.“

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Unicorn contributes to European Cloud Standardisation and begins to develop a CEN Workshop agreement

A CWA is an agreement developed and approved in a CEN Workshop; the latter is open to the direct participation of anyone with an interest in the development of the agreement. From Unicorn the partners who will get involved are UCY, CAS, UBITEC, SUIT5 and the Cloud Incubator HUB.

CWA is not formally a European standard and involves no obligation at national level, but it is much faster and flexible in its production as well as an essential step towards the development of the European standard.
The CWA will allow UNICORN project to faster and better use the project results, as it increases the interoperability and enables the comparison of UNICORN’s outcomes with the products that already exist in the market. Lastly this will help the project to better disseminate its results to a wider community.

The kick-off meeting in Athens led by DIN will focus on introducing the CEN and the workshop concept, the election and appointment of the workshop Chair and Vice chair, while also the project plan will be adopted, and future actions and meetings will be discussed

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

UNICORN project, is not, in any way, associated with or connected to the software company Unicorn Systems a.s. (or its affiliates), Id. No.: 251 10 853, residing at V Kapslovne 2767/2, Prague, established under the laws of the Czech Republic

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