The New Distributed Protocol That Underpins Cloud Computing is Dynamically Verified to be Protected and Safe

Nov, 2021 - By SMI

The New Distributed Protocol That Underpins Cloud Computing is Dynamically Verified to be Protected and Safe

Researchers from the University of Michigan have automated a process known as formal verification, which ensures that the standards that govern how the connected services operate are safe, secure, and functioning as expected.

The system demonstrates, without the need for human intervention, that one of the most fundamental distributed computing protocols, called Paxos, fits its criteria. The discovery disproves a widely held belief that the Paxos protocol, and many others like it, are too complicated to be proved secure without hours of manual work. The prevalence of cloud computing and emerging technologies such as blockchain applications have altered how enterprises and individuals interact with computers, resulting in a world powered by networked devices under constant load.

As a result, vital infrastructure is more vulnerable than ever to global impact from server outages, hackers, and unreliable network behavior. To ensure that software systems can run efficiently on devices all around the world, airtight distributed protocols are required. These protocols are immensely complex algorithms that govern how machines in a network can work together as a unified system. Paxos is one of the best examples of the segment, presenting a consensus mechanism that has been used in practically all major distributed systems, such as all cloud computing applications.

Consensus has recently received a lot of attention for allowing blockchain applications such as cryptocurrencies. These protocols serve as the foundation of a blockchain by assisting all nodes in the network in verifying transactions as they occur. With the simplicity of a logical argument, formal verification is a family of techniques used to establish that something is correct and dependable. The procedure is particularly important for both hardware and software, offering proof that a specific algorithm, working piece of software, or microchip will always perform as specified. In theory, it would allow the software to be delivered with significantly less testing than is currently required.

Validating the validity of Paxos automatically has far-reaching consequences for the future. As new consensus protocols based on its principles are developed for ever-changing applications, they must be certified stable and secure. The use of a model checker like this allows humans to interact with complex software that has been verified safe without needing to grasp every little aspect of how it operates.

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