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Stanford University Networking Seminar

Shoumik Palkar (Stanford University)
DIY Hosting for Online Privacy

12:15pm, Thursday, January 18 2018
Gates 104

About the Talk

Web users today rely on centralized services for applications such as email, file transfer and chat. Unfortunately, these services create a significant privacy risk: even with a benevolent provider, a single breach can put millions of users’ data at risk. One alternative would be for users to host their own servers, but this would be highly expensive for most applications: a single VM deployed in a high-availability mode can cost many dollars per month. In this talk, I will describe Deploy It Yourself (DIY), a new model for hosting applications based on serverless computing platforms such as Amazon Lambda. DIY allows users to run a highly available service with much stronger privacy guarantees than current centralized providers, and at a dramatically lower cost than traditional server hosting, relying only on the security of container isolation and a key manager as opposed to the large codebase of a high-level application such as Gmail. With attestation technology such as SGX, we believe DIY’s execution could also be verified remotely. We present several back-of-the-envelope cost estimates for commonly deployed web applications and show that applications such as email, chat, and even HD video conferencing, and show that these applications could be deployed for $0.26—$0.81/month at typical usage rates. We also describe a prototype DIY chat server we deployed, and some challenges in building DIY applications using current serverless offerings. Finally, we argue that DIY applications are simple enough to operate that cloud providers could offer a simple “app store” for using them.

About the Speaker

Shoumik Palkar is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at Stanford, working with Prof. Matei Zaharia on high performance data analytics and networking. Before joining Stanford, in 2015 Shoumik graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, he worked in the NetSys Lab with Scott Shenker and Sylvia Ratnasamy on E2, a framework for Network Function Virtualization.