Thursday, June 27, 2024

Pillared Design

 Distributed OS and Pillared Design:

This is a high level overview of a portion of a design I am working on. The intent here is to sketch out part of a system that is resistant to failure. Properly deployed, it should be essentially invulnerable to attack to an arbitrary degree. 
  1. Secure Storage and Build System:

    • Distributed Source Storage:
      • Source code and build artifacts are stored in a distributed manner across multiple black boxes to prevent single points of failure and ensure data integrity.
    • Build System:
      • A distributed build system compiles and prepares software for deployment. The build process is validated and verified across multiple nodes to ensure consistency and security.
  2. Software Pillaring:

    • Pillar Architecture:
      • Each 'pillar' is an independent instance of the software, capable of running autonomously and maintaining a 'heartbeat' with other pillars.
    • Heartbeat Mechanism:
      • Pillars periodically send and receive heartbeat signals to/from other pillars to confirm their operational status. This ensures that the overall system remains aware of the health of each component.
    • Update Function:
      • The update function allows individual pillars to be updated one at a time. During updates, the system continues to operate on the remaining, older pillars, ensuring continuous availability.
    • Seamless Upgrades:
      • Updates are rolled out in a staggered manner. If a new version is deployed to a pillar and validated through its heartbeat, the next pillar is updated, and so on. This ensures that there is no downtime during upgrades.
  3. Deployment and Queuing:

    • Secure Deployment Queue:
      • A secure method for queuing software deployment ensures that updates are rolled out systematically and securely. Each deployment is signed and verified before execution.
    • Consensus for Deployment:
      • Deployment of new software versions requires consensus from a quorum of the black boxes to prevent unauthorized updates and ensure that all nodes agree on the software state.
  4. Always On Operation:

    • Dead Man Switch Mechanism:
      • The system remains operational as long as the 'dead man switch' is live. This mechanism involves continuous authorization checks by the symbionts to ensure the system is still permitted to run.
    • Failover Mechanisms:
      • In the event of a failure or tampering, the system can fall back to a previous stable state using redundant pillars and secure storage.
  5. Security Measures:

    • Encryption and Authentication:
      • All communication between pillars, and with the build and deployment systems, is encrypted and authenticated to prevent interception and unauthorized access.
    • Intrusion Detection:
      • Continuous monitoring for signs of tampering or unauthorized access, with automatic responses to isolate affected pillars and maintain overall system integrity.

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