Secure Distributed Configuration Management with Randomised Scheduling of System-Administration Tasks

Frode EIKA SANDNES  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E86-D   No.9   pp.1601-1610
Publication Date: 2003/09/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Parallel and Distributed Computing, Applications and Technologies)
Category: Algorithms and Applications
Keyword: 
security,  distributed management,  scheduling,  system administration,  

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Summary: 
Distributed configuration management involves maintaining a set of distributed storage and processing resources in such a way that they serve a community of users fairly, promptly, reliably and securely. Security has recently received much attention due to the general anxiety of hacking. Parallel computing systems such as clusters of workstations are no exception to this threat. This paper discusses experiments that measure the effect of employing randomisation in the scheduling of interdependent user and management tasks onto a distributed system such as clusters of workstations. Two attributes are investigated, namely performance and security. Performance is usually the prime objective in task scheduling. In this work the scheduling problem is viewed as a multi-objective optimisation problem where there is a subtle balance between efficient schedules and security. A schedule is secure if it is not vulnerable to malicious acts or inadvertent human errors. Further, the scheduling model should be hidden from unauthorised observers. The results of the study support the use of randomisation in the scheduling of tasks over an insecure network of processing nodes inhabited by malicious users.