VMware recently announced an upgrade to vSphere, 5.5 Update 2d, that fixes an issue with transparent page sharing (TPS). This issue allowed an attacker to break encryption keys if VMs shared the same server even for a small amount of time. This is not a trivial problem, but it brings me to a simple point. We think encryption will solve everything related to security. But encryption is only a part of the solution, and not even the most important part. Nor the most powerful.
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When you hear the phrase “data center” in a conversation, what kind of image does that instill in your mind? Just for fun and reference, here is the definition from Wikipedia: “A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and various security devices. Large data centers are industrial scale operations using as much electricity as a small town and sometimes are a significant source of air pollution in the form of diesel exhaust.”
Passwords are dead or dying: According to Google security executive Heather Adkins, Passwords are dead for Google and warned that any startups that will rely on passwords are going to be dead in the water. Heather Adkins did not offer any real specifics on how Google is going to innovate tomorrow’s security but did hint that Google is experimenting with hardware-based tokens as well as something that Motorola has created that authenticated users by having them touch a device to something embedded.
Gaming as a Service: When we talk about cloud computing systems, we may be mainly focusing on Platform, Infrastructure, Software, and Network as a Service as the main and common areas that are presented to us, but there is another area to watch as it gets a stronger foothold into the cloud. That newcomer is Gaming as a Service (GaaS). GaaS is not really new, and if you have ever been on Facebook you know there are a lot of games available that are running in the cloud already, but since the start of 2013, we are seeing more and more cloud focus from the traditional game manufactures, pushing their future products and services into the cloud. Will video games be completely powered by cloud computing?
Much of the internet seems to be up in arms over the potential for a new piece of legislation designed to help US law enforcement authorities fight online piracy. In protest of this potential legislation, some sites (Wikepedia) went completely dark yesterday, and some (Google) demonstrated conspicuous concerns over the prospect of censorship by the government (with the Google logo obscured by a big black box). So what is all of the fuss about, and should we who are concerned about virtualization and cloud computing care?
Traditionally, internet companies like Google consider their custom server and data center designs as proprietary knowledge that creates significant value, but last week Facebook (which had previously bought commodity servers and rented data center space) has opened up a whole new area of Open Source technology by publishing the full specification of both its new custom server and its new data center as “Open Source” at OpenCompute.org.
Facebook’s designs aim to reduce capital costs by removing unnecessary components from the server and the data center, and by simplifying manufacture and construction. They also seek to reduce running costs by increasing the efficiency of power usage. Although the initiative has been “Greenwashed”, reductions in power consumption seems primarily motivated by saving cost, not saving the planet.