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From "P. Taylor Goetz" <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Metron incubator proposal
Date Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:06:39 GMT
I'm interested as well, particularly given the ties to Storm.

I'd be happy to volunteer as mentor and/or committer if it would be welcome. I have some familiarity
with both projects (obviously one more so than the other ;) ).


> On Nov 30, 2015, at 1:15 PM, larry mccay <> wrote:
> This is an interesting proposal that seems would build a community where an
> open one doesn't really exist at the moment.
> A project like this needs a healthy community to survive and scale with the
> pace of changes in attacks.
> I for one would be interested in lending a hand as a contributor or
> committer - if that would be welcomed.
>> On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 11:55 AM, Owen O'Malley <> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> We'd like to start a discussion proposing creating Metron as an incubator
>> podling. The proposal is on the wiki here:
>> I would call your attention to the background section in particular. The
>> condensed version is that the original code base (OpenSOC) was created by a
>> company (Cisco) that put it on github as ALv2, but then hasn't been working
>> on it. We posted a message
>> <>
>> to the OpenSOC support group a month ago proposing a move to Apache and got
>> a single positive response.
>> The text of the proposal is included below for easy quoting during
>> discussion.
>> Thanks,
>>   Owen
>> = Apache Metron Proposal =
>> == Abstract ==
>> The Metron project is an open source project dedicated to providing an
>> extensible and scalable advanced security analytics tool. It has strong
>> foundations in the Apache Hadoop ecosystem.
>> == Proposal ==
>> Metron integrates a variety of open source big data technologies in order
>> to offer a centralized tool for security monitoring and analysis. Metron
>> provides capabilities for log aggregation, full packet capture indexing,
>> storage, advanced behavioral analytics and data enrichment, while applying
>> the most current threat-intelligence information to security telemetry
>> within a single platform.
>> Metron can be divided into 4 areas:
>>  1. '''A mechanism to capture, store, and normalize any type of security
>> telemetry at extremely high rates.''' Because security telemetry is
>> constantly being generated, it requires a method for ingesting the data at
>> high speeds and pushing it to various processing units for advanced
>> computation and analytics.
>>  1. '''Real time processing and application of enrichments''' such as
>> threat intelligence, geolocation, and DNS information to telemetry being
>> collected. The immediate application of this information to incoming
>> telemetry provides the context and situational awareness, as well as the
>> “who” and “where” information that is critical for investigation.
>>  1. '''Efficient information storage''' based on how the information will
>> be used:
>>    a. Logs and telemetry are stored such that they can be efficiently
>> mined and analyzed for concise security visibility
>>    a. The ability to extract and reconstruct full packets helps an analyst
>> answer questions such as who the true attacker was, what data was leaked,
>> and where that data was sent
>>    a. Long-term storage not only increases visibility over time, but also
>> enables advanced analytics such as machine learning techniques to be used
>> to create models on the information. Incoming data can then be scored
>> against these stored models for advanced anomaly detection.
>>  1. '''An interface that gives a security investigator a centralized view
>> of data and alerts passed through the system.''' Metron’s interface
>> presents alert summaries with threat intelligence and enrichment data
>> specific to that alert on one single page. Furthermore, advanced search
>> capabilities and full packet extraction tools are presented to the analyst
>> for investigation without the need to pivot into additional tools.
>> Big data is a natural fit for powerful security analytics. The Metron
>> framework integrates a number of elements from the Hadoop ecosystem to
>> provide a scalable platform for security analytics, incorporating such
>> functionality as full-packet capture, stream processing, batch processing,
>> real-time search, and telemetry aggregation. With Metron, our goal is to
>> tie big data into security analytics and drive towards an extensible
>> centralized platform to effectively enable rapid detection and rapid
>> response for advanced security threats.
>> == Background ==
>> OpenSOC was developed by Cisco over the last two years and pushed out to
>> Github ( under the ALv2. However, the
>> development was mostly closed and has largely stopped. As evidence of the
>> inactivity, users have complained that pull requests are not answered for a
>> while
>> Finally, no public releases of OpenSOC have been made. From an Apache point
>> of view, the current community is not viable.
>> However, some of the developers of the project have left Cisco and have
>> found interest from several others that would like to work together to form
>> an active and open community at Apache starting from the current OpenSOC
>> code base. A message to the current support group proposing moving to
>> Apache got a single positive response.
>> Because Cisco is not currently interested in being involved, the project
>> expects to change their name. The project would like to use Metron,
>> although we will perform a podling name search to check for conflicts.
>> Metron, meaning measure, is half of the greek root for the word
>> 'telemetry.'  Metron is also a DC Comics character who “... wanders in
>> search of greater knowledge beyond his own”.
>> == Rationale ==
>> Metron strives to move the state of the art in security analytics forward.
>> We want to move away from the proprietary nature of legacy security point
>> tools and develop an open platform where people can contribute and share
>> datasets, machine learning models, telemetry parsers, sources of telemetry
>> enrichment, and threat intelligence feeds.  Cyber security is too large of
>> a problem for a single corporation to tackle on its own and the current
>> tooling is too fragmented and proprietary for us to be able to rally around
>> a single tool or vendor.
>> In addition to being open and facilitating advancement in security
>> analytics, Metron has several advantages over a conventional Security
>> Information Management System (SIEM).
>>  * Metron uses all open source stack under the hood and runs on commodity
>> hardware.  This means Metron is much cheaper to run then the competition.
>> In security cost plays a major factor because the cost of your
>> countermeasure for monitoring and reacting to a threat should not exceed
>> the cost of what is being protected.  By driving down the cost of security
>> the economics works for more assets to be monitored, which means more
>> secure data centers.
>>  * Metron, being in the open, allows additional vetting and scrutiny by
>> the open source community for all of its components.  This is a better
>> model for a security-oriented tool than doing it closed source.  All the
>> problems should be flushed out and fixed in the open. The closed source
>> competition does not have this kind of rigor, is motivated by marketing and
>> sales, and thus, does not inspire confidence when it comes to security.
>>  * Being Hadoop-based, Metron can process unprecedented volumes of
>> streaming data via Apache Storm.  When an organization is hit with malware
>> or malicious behavior most commonly this happens as a part of a global
>> malware campaign, signatures for which are known and are available from
>> third party threat intelligence feeds.  Having the ability to take in all
>> the feeds and reference them against every telemetry message processed by
>> Metron in real time does not only facilitate detection of such campaigns,
>> it changes the economics for the “bad guys”.  If you have to customize your
>> malware for each of your targets these global attacks become a lot more
>> expensive and non viable for them.
>>  * Metron strives to shift conventional SOC workflows away from being
>> rules-driven to a more data-driven approach that incorporates machine
>> learning and a higher degree of automation and autonomous detection.  The
>> modern threat landscape is too dynamic to be manageable via static rules
>> alone, which is what conventional SIEMs rely on.  Rule bases tend to bloat,
>> and if improperly maintained turn themselves into sources of false positive
>> alerts.
>> The ability to analyze and model large volumes of data at rest and then
>> being able to push up the output of that into a stream processor is
>> essential in disrupting the
>> == Current Status ==
>> As stated in the background section, the current community isn’t healthy,
>> which is why we are proposing moving to Apache Incubator. In this section,
>> we will describe the current state of the OpenSOC project.
>> === Meritocracy ===
>> The OpenSOC development is controlled by Cisco and pull requests are being
>> ignored. The development list is private and requests to join are rejected
>> because there is no activity on it. The goal of moving to Apache is to form
>> a meritocracy where a variety of individuals, regardless of their current
>> employer, come together and work together. We understand that diversity,
>> open development, and open governance are critical to being a successful
>> Apache project.
>> === Community ===
>> The OpenSOC project is not responding to pull requests or making releases.
>> The easiest solution would be to create a variety of forks of the project
>> on github, but that would further fracture the community and prevent it
>> from reaching critical mass. Our prefered solution is to build a single
>> large diverse and open community at Apache.
>> === Core Developers ===
>> The core developers of Metron are James Sirota, Charles Porter, and Mark
>> Bittmann. None of them have experience running an open source project, but
>> they are eager to learn.
>> === Alignment ===
>> The ASF is a natural host for Metron given that it is already the home of
>> Hadoop, HBase, Hive, Storm, Kafka, Spark and other emerging big data
>> projects. Metron leverages many of Apache open-source products. We are very
>> interested in a place to develop our community and integrations with the
>> other Apache big data projects.
>> == Known Risks ==
>> === Orphaned Products ===
>> The current product developers are all salaried developers at a small
>> number of companies and thus there is a risk of becoming an orphaned
>> product. However, the companies view Metron as very important to their
>> product offering and plan to ramp up their work in the space. The project
>> is unique in the product space and thus has strong potential to become a
>> sustainable community.
>> === Inexperience with Open Source ===
>> The vast majority of the developers are inexperienced with open source
>> development and the Apache Way. One of the major hurdles to graduation from
>> the Apache Incubator will be demonstrating that they have learned the
>> Apache Way and are applying it to how the project is managed. Vinod Kumar
>> Vavilapalli is an Apache Member and plans on actively working as a
>> committer in the project. They also have the other mentors to help them
>> learn as they progress.
>> === Homogenous Developers ===
>> The developers are employed by four diverse companies (B23, Hortonworks,
>> Mantech, and Rackspace), They are distributed across the United States. We
>> hope to attract additional diversity as an Apache project.
>> === Reliance on Salaried Developers ===
>> Metron is currently being developed exclusively by salaried developers, but
>> the goal of coming to Apache is to form a community of users and developers
>> that is much more diverse including non-salaried developers.
>> === Relationships with Other Apache Products ===
>> Metron has a strong relationship and dependency with Apache Flume, Hadoop,
>> HBase, Hive, Kafka, Spark, and Storm. Being part of Apache’s Incubation
>> community could help with a closer collaboration among these projects and
>> as well as others.
>> We note that although there is a superficial resemblance to Apache Eagle,
>> which does security analysis of Hadoop audit events, the projects are
>> significantly different. In particular, Metron is focused on analyzing
>> network packet traffic and thus has a very different scope and scale of
>> events than Eagle.
>> === An Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand ===
>> While the Apache brand is important, we are much more interested in finding
>> a home for the project that encourages open development and open
>> governance. We want to form the new community using the Apache Way with its
>> strong focus on meritocracy, organizational independence, and open
>> development.
>> == Documentation ==
>> The current information on the OpenSOC project is here:
>> A slide deck presenting background material is here:
>> == Initial Source ==
>> The initial code is on github:
>> == External Dependencies ==
>> Metron has the following external dependencies:
>>  * Apache Flume
>>  * Apache Hadoop
>>  * Apache HBase
>>  * Apache Hive
>>  * Apache Kafka
>>  * Apache Spark
>>  * Apache Storm
>>  * ElasticSearch
>>  * MySQL
>> The project understands that it will need to support alternatives for MySQL
>> that are licensed under a ALv2 compatible license.
>> == Cryptography ==
>> Metron will eventually support encryption on the wire, but this is not one
>> of the initial goals, and we do not expect Metron to be a controlled export
>> item due to the use of encryption. Metron supports but does not require the
>> Kerberos authentication mechanism to access secured Hadoop services.
>> == Required Resources ==
>> === Mailing List ===
>>  * metron-private for private PMC discussions
>>  * metron-dev for developers
>>  * metron-commits for all commits
>>  * metron-users for all users
>> === Version Control ===
>> Git is the preferred source control system.
>> === Issue Tracking ===
>> === Other Resources ===
>> The existing code already has unit tests so we will make use of existing
>> Apache continuous testing infrastructure. The resulting load should not be
>> very large.
>> == Initial Committers ==
>>  * Jim Baker < jim.baker at rackspace dot com >
>>  * Mark Bittmann < mark at b23 dot io >
>>  * Sheetal Dolas < sheetal at hortonworks dot com >
>>  * Discovery Gerdes < discovery.gerdes at rackspace dot com >
>>  * Andrew Hartnett < andrew.hartnett at rackspace dot com >
>>  * Dave Hirko < dave at b23 dot io >
>>  * Paul Kehrer < paul.kehrer at rackspace dot com >
>>  * Brad Kolarov < brad at b23 dot io >
>>  * Kiran Komaravolu <kkomaravolu at hortonworks dot com >
>>  * Ryan Merriman < rmerriman at hortonworks dot com >
>>  * Michael Perez <michael.perez at hortonworks dot com>
>>  * Charles Porter <Charles.Porter at mcs dot mantech dot com >
>>  * Sean Schulte < sean.schulte at rackspace dot com >
>>  * James Sirota < jsirota at hortonworks dot com >
>>  * Casey Stella < cstella at hortonworks dot com >
>>  * Bryan Taylor < bryan.taylor at rackspace dot com >
>>  * Ray Urciuoli < Ray.Urciuoli at mcs dot mantech dot com >
>>  * Vinod Kumar Vavilapalli < vinodkv at apache dot org >
>>  * George Vetticaden < gvetticaden at hortonworks dot com >
>>  * Oskar Zabik < oskar.zabik at rackspace dot com >
>> == Affiliations ==
>> The initial committers are employees of:
>>  * Jim Baker - Rackspace
>>  * Mark Bittmann - B23
>>  * Sheetal Dolas - Hortonworks
>>  * Discovery Gerdes - Rackspace
>>  * Andrew Hartnett - Rackspace
>>  * Dave Hirko - B23
>>  * Paul Kehrer - Rackspace
>>  * Brad Kolarov - B23
>>  * Kiran Komaravolu - Hortonworks
>>  * Ryan Merriman - Hortonworks
>>  * Michael Perez - Hortonworks
>>  * Charles Porter - Mantech
>>  * Sean Schulte - Rackspace
>>  * James Sirota - Hortonworks
>>  * Casey Stella - Hortonworks
>>  * Bryan Taylor - Rackspace
>>  * Ray Urciuoli - Mantech
>>  * Vinod Kumar Vavilapalli - Hortonworks
>>  * George Vetticaden - Hortonworks
>>  * Oskar Zabik - Rackspace
>> == Sponsors ==
>> === Champion ===
>>  * Owen O’Malley - Apache IPMC member
>> === Nominated Mentors ===
>>  * Chris Mattmann <mattmann at apache dot org > - Apache IPMC member, NASA
>>  * Owen O’Malley <omalley at apache dot org > - Apache IPMC member,
>> Hortonworks
>>  * Billie Rinaldi < billie at apache dot org > - Apache IPMC member,
>> Hortonworks
>>  * Vinod Kumar Vavilapalli < vinodkv at apache dot org > - Apache IPMC
>> member, Hortonworks
>> === Sponsoring Entity ===
>> We are requesting the Incubator to sponsor this project.

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