Saturday, February 28, 2009

Security In the Cloud

Yesterday I watched a little bit of the Ustream of "Whose Cloud Is It Anyway" - a round table and meetup in Mountain View. The discussion, while interesting, was a little dry. I actually enjoyed tweets from Christofer Hoff and James Urquhart much more.

Today I ran across a presentation by Dan Kaminsky - a name I hear a lot (mainly on TWiT I believe). His presentation, below - is titled When Irresistible Forces Attack Security In The Cloud. The presentation covers security in cloud computing and has a number of interesting points:
  • "Uncomfortable Fact #6: Virtualization Not Actually Required For Cloud Compromise" -- slide 26
  • Slide 30 -- three classes of private clouds: Fully private, outsourced private and non-secure (i.e.: Amazon's S3)

The enterprise cloud play is the more interesting one to me. I have gotten over my disgust for the marketing hype frenzy by calling it the "cloud" (it also gives many magazines and blogs an avenue for pretend-creative article titles). I'm still looking for a good definition that is 'not' the same as the Internet, or an overall shift in computing architecture. Anyway....time to move on.

Now.... take the Kaminsky presentation and throw on a slew of acronyms provided by the government. Corporations have a number of laws, policies, audits, acts, trade secrets, terms of service, privacy and other things to worry about. The World Privacy Forum held this last week presents a very interesting report: "Privacy in the Clouds: Risks to Privacy and Confidentiality from Cloud Computing". I think the report drives home the point that there are many issues and things in cloud computing are still being hashed out. Some interesting findings include:

  • Finding: Cloud computing has significant implications for the privacy of personal information as well as for the confidentiality of business and governmental information.
  • Finding: A user’s privacy and confidentiality risks vary significantly with the terms of service and privacy policy established by the cloud provider.
  • Finding: For some types of information and some categories of cloud computing users, privacy and confidentiality rights, obligations, and status may change when a user discloses information to a cloud provider.
  • Finding: Disclosure and remote storage may have adverse consequences for the legal status of or protections for personal or business information.
  • Finding: The location of information in the cloud may have significant effects on the privacy and confidentiality protections of information and on the privacy obligations of those who process or store the information.

A Network World article discusses the IDC Cloud Computing Forum. Joseph Tobolski, director for cloud computing at Accenture states "Some people create a list of requirements for security in the cloud that they don't even have for their own data center". Well....maybe they need BETTER requirements for their own data center!! I personally don't think people worry "too much" about security in the cloud ; it is a legitimate concern that any responsible business should question. The good news is that Cloud providers have the chance to do security right, and provide a more secure environment than the small/medium business could have done for itself. The bad news: it's early yet, and that completely secure (if there is such a thing) environment is not built yet.

When Irresistable Forces Attack

Thursday, February 19, 2009

GreenTech and DataCenters - Part 4

I wasn't planning a part 4 to my GreenTech week, but as I mentioned, there is a LOT of Green news out recently. Here are just a few more goodies I ran across today:

The Uptime Institute released its Global Green 100 List today. Many familiar names in tech are on the list including all of the companies I mentioned in GreenTech Part 2. notes that Green, Tech and GreenTech are on the rise in the FastCompany 50 List. Cisco managed the #5 spot on the 2009 list. Cisco has a number of videos I found interesting lately:
  • John Chambers is 'the man'. This video at OpenZine is a talk he gave on the MIT campus and is long, but worth watching. If you don't watch the whole thing, do forward to about 44 minutes in where he answers a question -- I really like what he says here. He is an awesome speaker and as commented on the page with the video -- "John Chambers gets it" ; except for the comment John makes in the video about being a Red Sox fan. :)
Rackspace announced today some new tools available to help customers assess and reduce their environmental impact. Their carbon footprint calculator was developed by NativeEnergy.

Check out this video from Google and GE : Plug Into the Smart Grid

An article from the Wall Street Journal Environmental Capitalism section was pretty interesting: Purdue Researchers Put Emissions On Google Earth. Of course any excuse for me to use Google Earth is a good one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

GreenTech and DataCenters - Part 3

For part 3 of my GreenTech week, I have a number of miscellaneous links. I'll keep posting Green links as I run across them, but the following items were pretty interesting.

EWeek's 10 Things You Need to Know NOW About Green IT

Comprehensive (as in 45 page) report from Rackable and the BPM (Business Performance Management) Forum: IT Sustainability Imperatives in Internet and Ecommerce Business. I haven't had a chance to read 'all' of this yet, but it looks very good. They surveyed 275 professionals in December 2008 and January 2009 and also have perspectives from dialogs with prominent executives, thought leaders and industry influencers.

GigaOM's earth2tech reports that San Diego will Roll Out Smart Meters Mid-March

Article at CleanTechies: Distributed Energy Generation - the New Internet

Very interesting article at MIT Technology Review: Graphene for the Green Grid - Ultracapcitors that store more could help the grid run smoothly.

Canada's Advanced Network organization announces an initiative to lay foundation for a zero carbon economy.

I was looking for something to tie GRI standards to GreenTech, but instead found this piece on an ISO Standard for Assessing Energy Efficiency of New Buildings.

My list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the Green Grid. A new site design, white papers, tools and many other things make this site a must-read. The Data Center Facilities Pro blog has a nice write-up of the Green Grid Technical Forum held a few weeks back. Presentations from that forum are also posted on their site.

Monday, February 16, 2009

GreenTech and DataCenters - Part 2

Continuing where I left off yesterday with GreenTech..... today I'll cover what the big companies are up to with environmental sustainability, greentech, etc....

  • Just a few short weeks back Cisco announced EnergyWise. I haven't had a chance to get 'really' familiar with the technology yet, but it seems pretty cool on the surface. A TMCnet blogger has his thoughts on the Cisco "energy tax" here. It's a Nortel favored argument, but I'll refer back to the video I blogged about here to tell you what I think about the energy tax criticism. I'm not saying EnergyWise is perfect or that you 'should' put your eggs in one basket, but come on..... SmartGrids have HUGE potential in 2009 and I think EnergyWise is in on the beginning of something great.
  • On Feb. 9th the Official blog wrote about home electricity use and combining smart meters with easy access to energy information. This (to me) was Extremely interesting. More information on the Google PowerMeter and other items can be found here.
  • The Microsoft Dynamics team has been up some interesting things. Check out this video about the Dynamics Sustainability Dashboard on Channel 9.

More still to come.... I am almost through my list of links. Success stories, green technologies and more on smart grids the rest of this week.

GreenTech and DataCenters - Part 1

I have been absolutely inundated recently with stories about Green technology, environmental sustainability and the like. I don't want to turn this into a GreenTech blog, but obviously power, renewable energy and environmental sustainability are huge topics for the data center industry.

There are several items in the $787 Billion Economic Recovery Bill that would benefit renewable energy and GreenTech companies, including: $11 Billion for Smart Grids and $15 Billion in renewable energy tax incentives. Cnet's Green Tech also has a nice write-up on the Bill.

I have so many links piled up that I am going to spread them out over this week. Today I'll start with the site that got me thinking about all of this .... The Green and Virtual Data Center. It is an excellent site, and they also have a new book out. The list below is a mix of sites from their 'links' section, and links from my bookmarks that I found interesting

Greenly -- Exploring Greenovation 24/7/365

Carbon dioxide emissions calculator

Cassatt Power Savings Calculator

This one is a bit much (IMO), but.... Making Web Sites Green

EPA Tools and calculators

How much does Carbon Offsetting cost?

Planning for Energy Requirements: Dell's Data Center Capacity Planner

The Uptime Institute will host a 2009 IT Symposium: Lean, Clean and Green, April 13 - 16 in New York. Should be interesting.....

Up Next: What the big guys are up to: Cisco, Microsoft, Google, HP, IBM and others

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cisco News and Tweets

I need to work on my tweets. I read so many tweets that I forget to write some myself! Cisco is a company that really gets the power of Twitter. Many moons ago I thought Twitter was pretty silly. I imagine others did as well. It has evolved though, and is now thought by many to be a truly valuable tool in the social web arsenal.

Although Cisco's CTO Padmasree has more followers - my favorite is still Douglas Gourlay. With only 4,493 followers to catch her, I'm sure he'll have no problem. :)

Cicso news abounds recently ; here are the items I found interesting:
  • Data Center CEO Kevin Smith discusses pioneering data center energy management with Cisco EngergyWise. I think it will be really interesting to get some case studies of data centers using EnergyWise and see how it has helped them.
  • Cisco powers the first 4G network in Moscow. I don't follow WiMAX as much as I would like to, but it is pretty interesting technology. "Cisco is providing Scartel with optical transport based on DWDM, a high-speed IP MPLS data network and data centre technologies designed to support high-quality video distribution. The network was designed to support the heavy traffic loads required of Scartel's network while offering an economical solution."
  • Seeking Alpha has an interesting article about potential acquisitions for Cisco. I've always wondered about Riverbed. I really like what I have seen and read about their products, but I think they enjoy going up against Cisco and have huge potential on their own.

P.S.: MY Twitter is

Processor Article: Colo or Managed Services?

I was interviewed a few weeks back for Processor magazine and the article came out last Friday. It discusses decision points and thoughts when deciding on whether colocation or managed hosting is right for your data center.

Check out the article here.