A highly-available and scalable microservice architecture for access management

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Mobile Computing, Services and Security
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Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences
Access management is a key aspect of providing secure services and applications in information technology. Ensuring secure access is particularly challenging in a cloud environment wherein resources are scaled dynamically. In fact keeping track of dynamic cloud instances and administering access to them requires careful coordination and mechanisms to ensure reliable operations. PrivX is a commercial offering from SSH Communications and Security Oyj that automatically scans and keeps track of the cloud instances and manages access to them. PrivX is currently built on the microservices approach, wherein the application is structured as a collection of loosely coupled services. However, PrivX requires external modules and with specific capabilities to ensure high availability. Moreover, complex scripts are required to monitor the whole system. The goal of this thesis is to make PrivX highly-available and scalable by using a container orchestration framework. To this end, we first conduct a detailed study of mostly widely used container orchestration frameworks: Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Nomad. We then select Kubernetes based on a feature evaluation relevant to the considered scenario. We package the individual components of PrivX, including its database, into Docker containers and deploy them on a Kubernetes cluster. We also build a prototype system to demonstrate how microservices can be managed on a Kubernetes cluster. Additionally, an auto scaling tool is created to scale specific services based on predefined rules. Finally, we evaluate the service recovery time for each of the services in PrivX, both in the RPM deployment model and the prototype Kubernetes deployment model. We find that there is no significant difference in service recovery time between the two models. However, Kubernetes ensured high availability of the services. We find that Kubernetes is the preferred mode for deploying PrivX and it makes PrivX highly available and scalable.
Di Francesco, Mario
Thesis advisor
Premsankar, Gopika
Rossi, Markku
docker, container, kubernetes, container orchestration, microservices, access management
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