Securing the Grid and Web Services

Greg Nawrocki points out a tutorial on the IBM DeveloperWorks site that's worth taking a look at.

Link: Grid Meter | InfoWorld | Securing the Grid and securing Web services ... one in the same? | October 25, 2005 09:01 AM | By Greg Nawrocki.

... There's an interesting tutorial today on IBM developerWorks about delegation of rights in Grid environments. What's particularly noteworthy for mainstream enterprise IT folks is that the Globus Toolkit (the most widely used open source middleware for Grid computing) over time has assimilated many of the key components of the Web Services Resource Framework (WSRF).


"Virtual" Change Management

Great idea. I wonder how they test this for "accurately assessing risk" ? The use of discovery and automated analysis to derive dependencies and risks has got to be the really hard part of this. 

I'm not sure I'd call this "virtual change management" so much as simulated change management.

Link: InformationWeek > System Management > "Virtual" Change Management Pitched For Network Admins > October 25, 2005.

Skybox Security is preparing to take the wraps off a new automated modeling solution which will provide businesses with a means to test configuration changes in a staging area in advance of making any alterations to the enterprise itself. Next Monday the security risk management vendor will launch Skybox Assure, virtual staging software for network change and compliance management that promises to help businesses eliminate much of the manual and error-filled nature of change management and replace it with an automated and highly accurate process for assessing the risk potential of possible configuration modifications.

Organizations will be able to test the effect of a change on the network using Skybox Assure and to audit that access and security controls are in compliance with their policies.

“We can accurately assess risk without ever touching the network,” says Ed Cooper, vice president of world wide marketing for Skybox, adding that an organization with 4000 nodes may make literally hundreds of changes in a day. Skybox Assure provides a way for IT professionals to assess what impact those changes would have before they are made to the production network without requiring a lot of time-consuming manual input.

The application gathers infrastructure, access, and security device configurations and evaluates access paths, mapping dependencies between devices, and the potential risk posed to critical assets. Skybox Assure takes applies this data to model the enterprise, simulating connectivity paths in the context of potential risk exposures. IT managers can compare the potential impact of configuration changes against the existing network configuration. ...


IBM Adds Patents To Open Source Pool

This is worth watching.  If there are two aspects of life in the US which are profoundly messed up, and at the same time have the potential to be improved mightily by technology, it's healthcare and education.  I hope that this  results in more than just a PR win. 

I would very much like to see the initiative address the development of standardized electronic health record networks.  Not just as a means of improving our standard of healthcare, but as a security measure in the face of potential pandemics like a mutated H5N1 avian flu, or more insidious, intentional use of bio-warfare.

Link: InformationWeek > Open Source > IBM Adds Patents To Open Source Pool > October 24, 2005.

IBM has unveiled an initiative to improve interoperability and access through open source software standards.

Under the initiative, announced Monday, the company is pledging royalty-free access to its patent portfolio for development and implementation of selected open healthcare and education software standards built around web services, electronic forms and open document formats.

The company stated that growth and service delivery in healthcare and education is stunted by a proliferation of incompatible formats and proprietary technology, making it difficult to find, retrieve and share standardized medical records and educational resources.

The new initiative could spur worldwide development of standardized electronic health record networks, supporting the protection, privacy and security of health information through open, interoperable technologies, according to IBM.


IBM's New WebSphere Challenges JBoss

It's interesting to see how the "big dogs" are embracing open source software to give little back to those OSS "upstarts" that seem to be nipping at their heels.  There's Oracle buying up Innobase, ostensibly to both compete with and take away a resources from MySQL.  And, as I believed when I first heard about IBM's acquisition of Gluecode, it's now time for IBM to deliver a low-end Websphere-compatible solution, based in great part on open source, and capable of having a dampening impact on JBoss (they hope).

Link: IBM's New WebSphere Challenges JBoss.

IBM announced Tuesday a new member of its WebSphere application server family: the WebSphere Application Server Community Edition.

WAS CE (WebSphere Application Server Community Edition) is built on the Apache Software Foundation's Geronimo open-source application server and includes code from Gluecode Software.

IBM acquired Gluecode last May.

WAS CE also includes IBM's Cloudscape database, which is based on the open-source Apache Derby Project.

The end result is a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application server, which IBM means to be a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional commercial software offerings and can help customers begin to deploy an SOA (service-oriented architecture). ...


Berlind thinks you should try VMWare's free virtual machine runtime

I posted a few days ago about the cleverness of VMware's initiative of giving out the "player" at no cost to individual users. 

David Berlind's comment in ZDNet yesterday does a nice job of describing the value to the individual user, and hints at what the upsold value might be to enterprises.  His is precisely the response that VMware wants to have, representative of why this approach may be extremely helpful in their efforts to address the competition of Xen and other virtualization offerings like Parallels and Propero.

Link: Why you should try VMWare's free virtual machine runtime | Between the Lines |

Virtual machine (VM) technology has been around for PCs for a long time.  For me, it's been one of those technologies that I've heard about, wrote about, and even seen in demonstrations for almost as long as I can remember.  But it wasn't until I recently started acquainting myself with VMWare's Workstation 5 (in the course of trying to simplify my testing of Windows Vista) that I've become so sold on VM technology that I can't imagine being without it.  Now that VMWare has announced that it's virtual machine "player" can be freely distributed to any system, I'm even more convinced that this is a technology that no system should be without.  Here's why. ...