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Stork: An Overview

What is Stork?

Stork is a software installation utility akin to yum and apt available for both users of PlanetLab and for home use. Stork is bolstered by both its support of central management of package updates, and a novel security system that empowers users and package creators while reducing trust in a repository administrator. Stork provides a secure, scalable, effective way to maintain tarball and RPM packages and software on large networks.

How do I use Stork?

The easiest way to use Stork is with the Stork Slice Manager, a GUI that will make package management and Stork installation on your PlanetLab slices quick and painless. To start now, see our instructions for using the Stork Slice Manager.

What does Stork offer?

  • Stork Saves Time and Space...
  • The "nest" is what Stork uses to share downloades and packages between multiple virtual machines. The nest is used to individually manage a node's package delivery. The nest also maintains an up-to-date status of the repository and your nodes, preventing multiple downloads of the same package on the same node. Even if you need to install multiple copies of a package, it only takes the space of a single copy, which Stork shares securely on your virtual machines. Stork's nest allows you to quickly and easily share packages between slices.

  • ...And increases speed!
  • Stork increases download speed by using formats such as BitTorrent, Coral, FTP, CoBlitz, CoDeeN, or HTTP. The nest also regulates file-sharing between slices on a node, improving download speed and efficiency.

  • Large Network, Little Effort
  • It's easy to manage packages on a large number of machines using Stork. A set of trusted administrators can divide nodes into groups and centrally manage which packages are installed on different node groups. This removes the hassle of needing to log onto multiple computers to update packages. Stork provides a number of simple commands to execute installations that affect all or just a subset of your nodes.

  • It's Secure!
  • Stork uses public-key encryption to provide package security. Stork packages are securely referenced, and package installation is controlled by a configuration file that allows users to specify exactly what software should run in a slice. We also have examined the security of different package managers.

  • Low-Upkeep Repository
    Stork's repository allows users to add packages without needing to trust each other, eliminating the need for a central repository administrator to decide which package versions are valid. In fact, the administrator doesn't even need to verify that there is a consistent distribution of packages available - Stork will handle all of this!
  • Reduces Load
  • Stork's package repository differs from convential repositories by using a publish/subscribe system, known as PsEPR. This method allows updates to be downloaded immediately, rather than having to wait in the traditional polling method. This also has the effect of reducing the load on the repository.

    Removing Stork from your Slice

    If you are no longer using Stork, then you may remove Stork from your slice by going to the Stork Repository, logging in, and selecting the "Slice Control" link on the left side of the page. Alternatively, Stork may be removed manually by going to PLC and setting the initscript attribute for your slice to "stork_stopscript".

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