Visible to the public Biblio

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Xu, X., Pautasso, C., Zhu, L., Gramoli, V., Ponomarev, A., Tran, A. B., Chen, S..  2016.  The Blockchain as a Software Connector. 2016 13th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture (WICSA). :182–191.

Blockchain is an emerging technology for decentralized and transactional data sharing across a large network of untrusted participants. It enables new forms of distributed software architectures, where components can find agreements on their shared states without trusting a central integration point or any particular participating components. Considering the blockchain as a software connector helps make explicitly important architectural considerations on the resulting performance and quality attributes (for example, security, privacy, scalability and sustainability) of the system. Based on our experience in several projects using blockchain, in this paper we provide rationales to support the architectural decision on whether to employ a decentralized blockchain as opposed to other software solutions, like traditional shared data storage. Additionally, we explore specific implications of using the blockchain as a software connector including design trade-offs regarding quality attributes.

Bass, L., Holz, R., Rimba, P., Tran, A. B., Zhu, L..  2015.  Securing a Deployment Pipeline. 2015 IEEE/ACM 3rd International Workshop on Release Engineering. :4–7.

At the RELENG 2014 Q&A, the question was asked, “What is your greatest concern?” and the response was “someone subverting our deployment pipeline”. That is the motivation for this paper. We explore what it means to subvert a pipeline and provide several different scenarios of subversion. We then focus on the issue of securing a pipeline. As a result, we provide an engineering process that is based on having trusted components mediate access to sensitive portions of the pipeline from other components, which can remain untrusted. Applying our process to a pipeline we constructed involving Chef, Jenkins, Docker, Github, and AWS, we find that some aspects of our process result in easy to make changes to the pipeline, whereas others are more difficult. Consequently, we have developed a design that hardens the pipeline, although it does not yet completely secure it.