Experimenting Scalability of Continuous Security Monitoring

The BonFIRE-ExSec experiment aims to study the impact of scalability and heterogeneity on performance of security solutions. The bottom line of this investigation is to develop an empirical way of quantifying impact on security under various operating conditions and parameters of Cloud deployments.


Engineering of complex IT systems 

Domaine: Software industry 

Innovation theme: Cyber Security 


Project team : Philippe Massonet


ExSec experiment is one of the four research experiments that are selected from 28 proposals submitted in response to the first call of experiments by the BonFIRE project. The ExSec experiment aims to determine an empirically validated elasticity function for security monitoring. It is designed to study the impact of scalability and heterogeneity on performance of security solutions. The test scenarios are designed to reflect real-life situations where organizations running heterogeneous Cloud technologies may collaborate with each other and share their resources.

Project objectives

The overall objective of the BonFIRE project is to facilitate researchers to experiment their innovative ideas in the area of service orientation and distributed computing. The project offers a federated Cloud infrastructure to support experimentally driven research and to lead the development of the Future Internet from a service-based applications standpoint. In this context, the main objective of the ExSec experiment is to determine an empirically validated elasticity function for security monitoring. Besides verifying the scalability of the security monitor on different application loads for a number of virtual machines, another important aspect of the experiment will be to verify scalability behaviour on different Cloud technologies such as different types of hypervisors; and different types of Cloud managers.

Expected Project results

ExSec is envisioned to address security concerns in the deployment of federated Cloud infrastructures. Security is the cornerstone for wider acceptance of Future Internet based virtualisation technologies as majority of the stakeholders are sceptical of the security assurances. ExSec results will fill this gap by determining the stretching limits of security solutions to determine their suitability for the peculiar characteristics of real life federated Cloud infrastructures – i.e. scalability of resources and heterogeneity of underlying technologies. The experiment results will stimulate further research in the area of Cloud security to develop solutions that can address Cloud security requirements in better ways.

The following video details this.

Project Added-value for Businesses

The results of ExSec will enable CETIC to help companies to securely embrace Cloud technologies. Businesses are far more sceptical of using the offsite computing and storage resources than scientific community. The direct involvement of commercial interests including reputation factor does not allow them to adopt some new technique without having some convincing proof of its functioning. ExSec experiment results will help CETIC to advise businesses deploying some Cloud solution about the best security architecture that will fit their Cloud architectures and performance requirements. It is therefore evident that ExSec results will enable businesses to use the right security solutions in terms of cost and performance for their Cloud solutions.


  • Fraunhofer Fokus, Germany
  • Hewlett-Packard, UK
  • The I2CAT Foundation, Spain
  • The 451 Group, UK
  • University of Southampton (IT Innovation Centre), UK
  • Poznan Super Computing and Networking Centre (PSNC), Poland
  • Nextworks, Italy
  • RedZinc, Ireland
  • Cloudium Systems, Ireland
  • The Supercomputing Centre of Galicia (CESGA), Spain
  • University of Manchester, UK