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Clouds, the Criminal Element and V12N to the Rescue

Christofer Hoff has an interesting post today that reminded me of a conversation I had with Steve Tuecke, Carl Kesselman and Ian Foster in 2004 when we were establishing Univa.  The conversation pointed out that grid computing was, with little fanfare, a fundamental basis for the botnets being implemented by the "bad guys", and that grid computing models would be the most reasonable basis on which to protect the enterprise from a significant portion of intentional security threats.

The challenge, as Hoff makes clear, is the capability of establishing appropriate (and appropriately malleable) policies that travel with the applications and data.  The malleability required is not likely to be found today in conventional provisioning and scheduling systems, nor in conventional configuration management systems. 

The industry is at the stage in the evolution of utility computing/cloud computing/grid computing where the flexibility and dynamic nature of virtualization has to be applied generously to the solution of infrastructure problems like security.  At Replicate, we've started to apply it to 21st century datacenter fault prevention and remediation, which is a challenge big enough to last us a while.  It's likely to bring us in contact with a number of the security issues Hoff raises, though from a different starting point.  I'll certainly be joining Hoff in watching companies grappling with this ... though Hoff's more likely to be on the playing field (BJJ mat?), and I'll be in the bleachers.

Rational Survivability: Cloud Computing: Invented By Criminals, Secured By ???

One of the obvious benefits of cloud computing is the distribution of applications, services and information. The natural by-product of this is additional resiliency from operational downtime caused by error or malicious activity.

This benefit is a also a forcing function; it will require new security methodologies and technology to allow the security (policies) to travel with the applications and data as well as enforce it.

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