LISA05 Wednesday: Autopod and PKI

While the vendor exhibition opened and inquiries were handled at the Sun booth, I went to the technical session on Configuration Managment Theory and to Radia Perlman‘s invited talk.

The most interesting talk to a kernel developer in the technical session was Shaya Potter presenting on the Autopod work he and Jason Nieh have been pursuing at Columbia. It’s a nice combination of an isolated application environment with process checkpointing, with a number of nice advantages—foremost among them being migration of a running pod (application environment) between systems running different operating system versions.

Shaya mentioned about the port from 2.4 Linux kernel to 2.6, and the loss of simple system call interpositioning in the newer implementation. One interesting area for investigation of similar work on OpenSolaris would be to assess the suitability of the BrandZ technology for creating a checkpointable zone—the preexisting application environment on which to build. There’s a wide variety of potential kernel state to capture, but the appropriateness of the brand architecture may simplify aspects of a prototype.

If you’re interested in thinking about such things, the BrandZ community should open up on OpenSolaris soon; you can already subscribe to the brandz-discuss alias on the Discussions page.

Despite being at Sun for a while, I’ve never heard Radia Perlman speak before, and I can now highly recommend it: she’s engaging and funny, as well as a very clear technical presenter. Radia gave an overview of the ideas and implementation issues around Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Apparently, she and her co-authors have released a new edition of their text, Network Security: Private Communication in a Public World [Amazon], which I’ll put on my wish list.

[ T: OpenSolaris LISA05 BrandZ PKI ]