Sunday, July 12, 2020

Pandemic Atlanta Lockdown - Week 17

2020 is the year that shakes the normalcy bias in all of us. On a positive note, it might prepare us for future dangers, such as climate change that rapidly submerge the island nations. It also can make working from home and remote work a norm. Countries such as Estonia and Barbados are proposing a nomad work visa, which is a good thing. On a negative note, the pandemic saw nations vilifying each other, rather than trying to tackle it together. It shows that politics before humanity. Sad situation. The blame was aptly put on the foreigners. Even foreign students with valid visas have been asked to leave the country unless they have in-person classes. This has made us all realize that next year we might have to leave as some of our visas are expiring and extending may not be possible. The days are up and down - and mostly down.

I was under the assumption that as the pandemic spreads across all the nations, countries will choose to open their borders as closing the borders to every nation will be infeasible. But, as the virus spread to different nations at different time frames everyone chose to close the borders to each other, fearing the re-introduction of the virus. Sri Lanka seems to have its second wave now. The USA also has faced an increase in the number of cases since the reopening. Consequently, Atlanta has reverted to its phase-I. How long will this go? No one knows. It seems more and more likely that we will need to live with COVID-19 as a reality, just like another regular virus. It can even be another on-going long-term pandemic such as the HIV AIDS pandemic.

A photo thread on making of banana liquor from Everclear:

A photo thread on my life in Portugal:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Pandemic Atlanta Lockdown - Week 16

This was a long weekend week. I almost forgot it! Anyway, when a long weekend comes, we still try to compress the whole week of meetings and work into 4 days, and as such the difference becomes less.

I also got the notification that OTM/CoopIS 2020 has been canceled. I was planning to submit a paper there, after our successful presentations there for CoopIS 2015 and 2016. This is quite sad. This is the first conference canceled due to COVID-19 that I encountered so far. All the other conferences managed to go virtual.

Unfortunately, we have to cancel OTM and hence CoopIS 2020
Dear Pradeeban Kathiravelu,

As PC chairs for the CoopIS conference we regret to let you know that the conference will not run finally during this year.

Taking it from the whole set of conference organisers: "As you might appreciate some of the people on whose effort we must rely for organising a complex quality event just could not free the time for this as they had to cope with, in some cases, absolute family survival. Also voluntary work understandably is in very short supply these days."

It seems to have been a hard decision from the organising committee, where a set of circumstances (including family-related ones) have provoked the final decision, and we are sorry that you had already invested your time on preparing a paper for it.

We hope to be able to resume next year.

On July 13th, I received another email from easychair:

Cancellation of CoopIS conference edition in 2020
OTM 2020

Sorry if you have already receive a previous communication from us. This communication is meant to be for those authors that have submitted their contributions in the last week.

Unfortunately, the organising committee of the OTM series of conferences has decided to cancel the conference series, something that is beyond the control of us as PC chairs. We have tried to communicate it in as many places as possible (including the website, which is currently down), and we are sorry that you have been working on your submissions these days. We have not been able to cancel the easychair installation either.

Regards, and apologies for the inconveniences,

So it seems there were some unfortunate creative differences between the conference organization due to COVID19. Hope things will get better soon. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Latency-Sensitive Web Service Workflows: A Case for a Software-Defined Internet

July 2nd: Today the Seventh International Conference on Software Defined Systems (SDS) went virtual. I had to present my paper "Latency-Sensitive Web Service Workflows: A Case for a Software-Defined Internet" in Paris at this conference. But, due to COVID19, we all uploaded the presentations with audio recordings. The sessions were asynchronous. But the keynotes were live, followed by Q&A. Due to this approach, the conference lasted only one morning 8 am - 1 pm Atlanta time (1 - 6 pm Paris time). The keynotes went on for 8 - 12 followed by an hour-long discussion with all the participants. This additional hour allowed us to network. However, we all noted that it cannot replace the physical networking that we usually have at the SDS conferences.

This is the last paper of my Ph.D. research. My Ph.D. was indeed an interesting 5 years of my life!

Abstract — The Internet, at large, remains under the control of service providers and autonomous systems. The Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing provide an increasing demand and potential for more user control for their web service workflows. Network Softwarization revolutionizes the network landscape in various stages, from building, incrementally deploying, and maintaining the environment. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are two core tenets of network softwarization. SDN offers a logically centralized control plane by abstracting away the control of the network devices in the data plane. NFV virtualizes dedicated hardware middleboxes and deploys them on top of servers and data centers as network functions. Thus, network softwarization enables efficient management of the system by enhancing its control and improving the reusability of the network services. In this work, we propose our vision for a Software-Defined Internet (SDI) for latency-sensitive web service workflows. SDI extends network softwarization to the Internet-scale, to enable a latency-aware user workflow execution on the Internet.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How to increase a Kong timeout with no down time?

I have a Kong API gateway deployment with several services. The default Kong timeout is set to 1 mins, which fails several of our API requests. Now I want to change them to 10 mins, without going through too much trouble. What should I do? I found this nice tool called Deck, thanks to a blogpost.

The default status of a service configuration
First, install Deck.

Then, we test backup, alter, and restore Kong configurations.

To test, let's create a service definition.
$ curl -i -X POST --url http://localhost:8001/services/ --data 'name=v4' --data 'url='

Check the services via a browser (or a curl command, if you prefer it that way).


Notice the timeouts are 60,000. This is 60,000 ms. i.e., 1 min by default. Let's increase it to 10 min, with Deck!


1. Dump the configuration:

$ deck dump

This creates a kong.yaml in the current directory.

$ cat kong.yaml
_format_version: "1.1"
- connect_timeout: 60000
  name: v4
  path: /services/v4
  port: 9099
  protocol: http
  read_timeout: 60000
  retries: 5
  write_timeout: 60000

  Modify the connect_timeout, read_timeout, and write_timeout as 600000 (from their default value of 60000) via a text editor.

2.  Check the changes:

  $ deck diff

updating service v4  {
-  "connect_timeout": 60000,
+  "connect_timeout": 600000,
-  "created_at": 1.593636546e+09,
   "host": "",
   "id": "5c25f92f-d3d0-486f-9a8e-9c406a130501",
   "name": "v4",
   "path": "/services/v4",
   "port": 9099,
   "protocol": "http",
-  "read_timeout": 60000,
+  "read_timeout": 600000,
   "retries": 5,
-  "updated_at": 1.593636546e+09,
-  "write_timeout": 60000
+  "write_timeout": 600000

  Created: 0
  Updated: 1
  Deleted: 0

3. Commit the changes:

$ deck sync

Confirm the changes are reflected, from the browser. Yep, it worked. Everything updated with zero downtime.

Timeouts are set to 10 mins (600,000) now, from 1 mins!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Pandemic Atlanta Lockdown - Week 15

Mochi from Trader Joes
After the grant deadline and the conference, this week, everything is back to normal. I made my project into open source, after cleaning it up. Still, a long way to go, to make it flexible and readily usable by anyone. I also made some progress in my research, which is good. I am working on a paper with a deadline on July 15th. I foresee myself getting busy with that the coming week. I aim to seek more collaborators after my current deadline. Need to wear that researcher hat strong. :)

Not many updates this week. I got some excellent desserts such as Mochi from Trader Joe's. I have been waiting for these for almost four months now. I am happy I have them now. Trader Joe's never fails to amuse me. My fridge is also filled with liquors now. I must stop buying more liquors until I finish what I already have. I may buy Everclear, though. :)

I have had some fun conversations with friends and strangers this week on Twitter. Two questions that stood out and made me think:

A photo thread on countries that I have visited (still on-going at the time of writing this blog post):
These days, I am just continuing the boring cycle. Boring and uneventful, but still alive. Being thankful is part of the COVID19 lifestyle. See you again next week, as a long weekend reaches us this Friday!