Friday, February 18, 2011

Explore the role and impact of the Open Trusted Technology Forum to help ensure secure IT products in global supply chains

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Get the free white paper. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Join a panel discussion that examines The Open Group’s new Open Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF), established in December to find ways to safely conduct global procurement and supply-chain commerce among and between technology acquirers and buyers.

The forum is tasked with providing transparency, collaboration, innovation, and more trust on the partners and market participants in a IT supplier environment. The goal is for the OTTF to lead to improved business risk for global supply activities in the IT field. [Get the new free OTTF white paper.]

Presented in conjunction with The Open Group Conference held in San Diego, the week of Feb. 7, the panel of experts examines how the OTTF will function, what its new framework will be charged with providing, and ways that participants in the global IT commerce ecosystem can become involved with and perhaps use the OTTF’s work to their advantage.

Here with us to delve into the mandate and impact of the Open Trusted Technology Forum is the panel: Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technology Officer for The Open Group; Steve Lipner, Senior Director of Security Engineering Strategy in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group; Andras Szakal, Chief Architect in IBM’s Federal Software Group and an IBM distinguished engineer, and Carrie Gates, Vice President and Research Staff Member at CA Labs. The discussion is moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:
Lounsbury: The OTTF is a group that came together under the umbrella of The Open Group to identify and develop standards and best practices for trusting supply chains. It's about how one consumer in a supply chain could trust their partners and how they will be able to indicate their use of best practices in the market, so that people who are buying from the supply chain or buying from a specific vendor will be able to know that they can procure this with a high level of confidence.

This actually started a while ago at The Open Group by a question from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which faced the challenge of buying commercial off-the-shelf product. Obviously, they wanted to take advantage of the economies of scale and the pace of technology in the commercial supply chain, but realized that means they're not going to get purpose-built equipment, that they are going to buy things from a global supply chain.

If you pick up any piece of technology, for example, it will be designed in the US, assembled in Mexico, and built in China. So we need that international and global dimension in production of this set of standards as well.

They asked, "What would we look for in these things that we are buying to know that people have used good engineering practices and good supply chain management practices? Do they have a good software development methodology? What would be those indicators?"

Now, that was a question from the DoD, but everybody is on somebody’s supply chain. People buy components. The big vendors buy components from smaller vendors. Integrators bring multiple systems together.

So, this is a really broad question in the industry. Because of that, we felt the best way to address this was bring together a broad spectrum of industry to come in, identify the practices that they have been using -- your real, practical experience -- and bring that together within a framework to create a standard for how we would do that.

Szakal: In today’s environment, we're seeing a bit of a paradigm shift. We're seeing technology move out of the traditional enterprise infrastructure. We're seeing these very complex value chains be created. We're seeing cloud computing.

Smarter infrastructures

We're actually working to create smarter infrastructures that are becoming more intelligent, automated, and instrumented, and they are very much becoming open-loop systems.

As technology becomes more pervasive and gets integrated into these environments, into the critical infrastructure, we have to consider whether they are vulnerable and how the components that have gone into these solutions are trustworthy.

Governments worldwide are asking that question. They're worried about critical infrastructure and the risk of using commercial, off-the-shelf technology -- software and hardware -- in a myriad of ways, as it gets integrated into these more complex solutions.

Part of our focus here is to help our constituents, government customers and critical infrastructure customers, understand how the commercial technology manufacturers, the software development manufactures, go about engineering and managing their supply chain integrity.

[The OTTF] is about all types of technology. Software obviously is a particularly important focus, because it’s at the center of most technology anyway. Even if you're developing a chip, a chip has some sort of firmware, which is ultimately software. So that perception is valid to a certain extent, but no, not just software, hardware as well.

Our vision is that we want to leverage some of the capability that's already out there. Most of us go through common criteria evaluations and that is actually listed as a best practice for a validating security function and products.

Where we are focused, from a [forthcoming] accreditation point of view, affects more than just security products. That's important to know. However, we definitely believe that the community of assessment labs that exists out there that already conducts security evaluations, whether they be country-specific or that they be common criteria, needs to be leveraged. We'll endeavor to do that and integrate them into both the membership and the thinking of the accreditation process.

Lounsbury: The Open Group provides the framework under which both buyers and suppliers at any scale could come together to solve a common problem -- in this case, the question of providing trusted technology best practices and standards. We operate a set of proven processes that ensure that everyone has a voice and that all these standards go forward in an orderly manner.

The new OTTF white paper actually lays out the framework. The work of forum is to turn that framework into an Open Group standard and populate it. That will provide the standards and best practice foundation for this conformance program. [Get the new free OTTF white paper.]

We're just getting started on the vision for a conformance program. One of the challenges here is that first, not only do we have to come up with the standard and then come up with the criteria by which people would submit evidence, but you also have to deal with the problem of scale.

If we really want to address this problem of global supply chains, we're talking about a very large number of companies around the world. It’s a part of the challenge that the forum faces.

Accrediting vendors

Part of the work that they’ve embarked on is, in fact, to figure out how we wouldn't necessarily do that kind of conformance one on one, but how we would accredit either vendors themselves who have their own duty of quality processes as a big vendor would or third parties who can do assessments and then help provide the evidence for that conformance.

We're getting ahead of ourselves here, but there would be a certification authority that would verify that all the evidence is correct and grant some certificate that says that they have met some or all of the standards.

The white paper actually lays out the framework. The work of forum is to turn that framework into an Open Group standard and populate it.

We provide infrastructure for doing that ... The Open Group operates industry-based conformance programs, the certification programs, that allow someone who is not a member to come in and indicate their conformance standard and give evidence that they're using the best practices there.

Lipner: Build with integrity really means that the developer who is building a technology product, whether it be hardware or software, applies best practices and understood techniques to prevent the inclusion of security problems, holes, bugs, in the product -- whether those problems arise from some malicious act in the supply chain or whether they arise from inadvertent errors. With the complexity of modern software, it’s likely that security vulnerabilities can creep in.

So, what build with integrity really means is that the developer applies best practices to reduce the likelihood of security problems arising, as much as commercially feasible.

And not only that, but any given supplier has processes for convincing himself that upstream suppliers, component suppliers, and people or organizations that he relies on, do the same, so that ultimately he delivers as secure a product as possible.

Creating a discipline

One of the things we think that the forum can contribute is a discipline that governments and potentially other customers can use to say, "What is my supplier actually doing? What assurance do I have? What confidence do I have?"

To the extent that the process is successful, why then customers will really value the certification? And will that open markets or create preferences in markets for organizations that have sought and achieved the certification?

Obviously, there will be effort involved in achieving [pending OTTF] certification, but that will be related to real value, more trust, more security, and the ability of customers to buy with confidence.

The challenge that we'll face as a forum going forward is to make the processes deterministic and cost-effective. I can understand what I have to do. I can understand what it will cost me. I won't get surprised in the certification process and I can understand that value equation. Here's what I'm going to have to do and then here are the markets and the customer sets, and the supply chains it's going to open up to me.

International trust

Gates: This all helps tremendously in improving trust internationally. We're looking at developing a framework that can be applied regardless of which country you're coming from. So, it is not a US-centric framework that we'll be using and adhering to.

We're looking for a framework so that each country, regardless of its government, regardless of the consumers within that country, all of them have confidence in what it is that we're building, that we're building with integrity, that we are concerned about both malicious acts or inadvertent errors.

And each country has its own bad guy, and so by adhering to international standard we can say we're looking for bad guys for every country and ensuring that what we provide is the best possible software.

If you refer to our white paper, we start to address that there. We were looking at a number of different metrics across the board. For example, what do you have for documentation practices? Do you do code reviews? There are a number of different best practices that are already in the field that people are using. Anyone who wants to be a certified, can go and look at this document and say, "Yes, we are following these best practices" or "No, we are missing this. Is it something that we really need to add? What kind of benefit it will provide to us beyond the certification?"

Lounsbury: The white paper’s name, "The Open Trusted Technology Provider Framework" was quite deliberately chosen. There are a lot of practices out there that talk about how you would establish specific security criteria or specific security practices for products. The Open Trusted Technology Provider Forum wants to take a step up and not look at the products, but actually look at the practices that the providers employ to do that. So it's bringing together those best practices.

Now, good technology providers will use good practices, when they're looking at their products, but we want to make sure that they're doing all of the necessary standards and best practices across the spectrum, not just, "Oh, I did this in this product."

Again, I refer everybody to the white paper, which is available on The Open Group website. You'll see there in the categories that we've divided these kinds of best practice into four broad categories: product engineering and development methods, secure engineering development methods, supply chain integrity methods and the product evaluation methods.

Under there those are the categories, we'll be looking at the attributes that are necessary to each of those categories and then identifying the underlying standards or bits of evidence, so people can submit to indicate their conformance.

I want to underscore this point about the question of the cost to a vendor. The objective here is to raise best practices across the industry and make the best practice commonplace. One of the great things about an industry-based conformance program is that it gives you the opportunity to take the standards and those categories that we've talked about as they are developed by OTTF and incorporate those in your engineering and development processes.

Within secure engineering, for example, one of the attributes is threat assessment and threat modeling.

So you're baking in the quality as you go along, and not trying to have an expensive thing going on at the end.

Szakal: [To attain such quality and lowered risk] we have three broad categories here and we've broken each of the categories into a set of principles, what we call best practice attributes. One of those is secure engineering. Within secure engineering, for example, one of the attributes is threat assessment and threat modeling. Another would be to focus on lineage of open-source. So, these are some of the attributes that go into these large-grained categories.

Unpublished best practices

Steve and I have talked a lot about this. We've worked on his secure engineering initiative, his SDLC initiative within Microsoft. I worked on and was co-author of the IBM Secure Engineering Framework. So, these are living examples that have been published, but are proprietary, for some of the best practices out there. There are others, and in many cases, most companies have addressed this internally, as part of their practices without having to publish them.

Part of the challenge that we are seeing, and part of the reason that Microsoft and IBM went to the length of publishing there is that government customers and critical infrastructure were asking what is the industry practice and what were the best practices.

What we've done here is taken the best practices in the industry and bringing them together in a way that's a non-vendor specific. So you're not looking to IBM, you're not having to look at the other vendors' methods of implementing these practices, and it gives you a non-specific way of addressing them based on outcome.

We believe that this is going to actually help vendors mature in these specific areas. Governments recognize that, to a certain degree, the industry is not a little drunk and disorderly and we do actually have a view on what it means to develop product in a secure engineering manner and that we have supply chain integrity initiatives out there. So, those are very important.

We're not simply focused on a bunch of security controls here. This is industry continuity and practices for supply chain integrity, as well as our internal manufacturing practices around the actual practice and process of engineering or software development, as well as supply chain integrity practices.

That's a very important point to be made. This is not a traditional security standard, insomuch as that we've got a hundred security controls that you should always go out and implement. You're going to have certain practices that make sense in certain situations, depending on the context of the product you're manufacturing.

Gates: In terms of getting started, the white paper is an excellent resource to get started and understand how the OTTF is thinking about the problem. How we are sort of structuring things? What are the high-level attributes that we are looking at? Then, digging down further and saying, "How are we actually addressing the problem?"

We had mentioned threat modeling, which for some -- if you're not security-focused -- might be a new thing to think about, as an example, in terms of your supply chain. What are the threats to your supply chain? Who might be interested, if you're looking at malicious attack, in inserting something into your code? Who are your customers and who might be interested in potentially compromising them? How might you go about protecting them?

The security mindset is a little bit different, in that you tend to be thinking about who is it that would be interested in doing harm and how do you prevent that.

It's not a normal way of thinking about problems. Usually, people have a problem, they want to solve it, and security is an add-on afterward. We're asking that they start that thinking as part of their process now and then start including that as part of their process.

Lipner: We talk about security assurance, and assurance is really what the OTTF is about, providing developers and suppliers with ways to achieve that assurance in providing their customers ways to know that they have done that. This is really not about adding some security band-aid onto a technology or a product. It's really about the fundamental attributes or assurance of the product or technology that’s being produced.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Expert panel: As cyber security risks grow, architected protection and best practices must keep pace

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: The Open Group.

ooking back over the past few years, it seems like cyber security and warfare threats are only getting worse. We've had the Stuxnet Worm, the WikiLeaks affair, China-originating attacks against Google and others, and the recent Egypt Internet blackout.

But, are cyber security dangers, in fact, getting that much worse? And are perceptions at odds with what is really important in terms of security protection? How can businesses best protect themselves from the next round of risks, especially as cloud, mobile, and social media and networking activities increase? How can architecting for security become effective and pervasive?

We posed these and other serious questions to a panel of security experts at the recent The Open Group Conference, held in San Diego the week of Feb. 7, to examine the coming cyber security business risks, and ways to head them off.

The panel: Jim Hietala, the Vice President of Security at The Open Group; Mary Ann Mezzapelle, Chief Technologist in the CTO's Office at HP, and Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer at Dell Services. The discussion was moderated by BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:
Stikeleather: The only secure computer in the world right now is the one that's turned off in a closet, and that's the nature of things. You have to make decisions about what you're putting on and where you're putting it on. I's a big concern that if we don't get better with security, we run the risk of people losing trust in the Internet and trust in the web.

When that happens, we're going to see some really significant global economic concerns. If you think about our economy, it's structured around the way the Internet operates today. If people lose trust in the transactions that are flying across it, then we're all going to be in pretty bad world of hurt.

One of the things that you're seeing now is a combination of security factors. When people are talking about the break-ins, you're seeing more people actually having discussions of what's happened and what's not happening. You're seeing a new variety of the types of break-ins, the type of exposures that people are experiencing. You're also seeing more organization and sophistication on the part of the people who are actually breaking in.

The other piece of the puzzle has been that legal and regulatory bodies step in and say, "You are now responsible for it." Therefore, people are paying a lot more attention to it. So, it's a combination of all these factors that are keeping people up at night.

A major issue in cyber security right now is that we've never been able to construct an intelligent return on investment (ROI) for cyber security.

We're starting to see a little bit of a sea change, because starting with HIPAA-HITECH in 2009, for the first time, regulatory bodies and legislatures have put criminal penalties on companies who have exposures and break-ins associated with them.

There are two parts to that. One, we've never been truly able to gauge how big the risk really is. So, for one person it maybe a 2, and most people it's probably a 5 or a 6. Some people may be sitting there at a 10. But, you need to be able to gauge the magnitude of the risk. And, we never have done a good job of saying what exactly the exposure is or if the actual event took place. It's the calculation of those two that tell you how much you should be able to invest in order to protect yourself.

We're starting to see a little bit of a sea change, because starting with HIPAA-HITECH in 2009, for the first time, regulatory bodies and legislatures have put criminal penalties on companies who have exposures and break-ins associated with them.

So we're no longer talking about ROI. We're starting to talk about risk of incarceration , and that changes the game a little bit. You're beginning to see more and more companies do more in the security space.

Mezzapelle: First of all we need to make sure that they have a comprehensive view. In some cases, it might be a portfolio approach, which is unique to most people in a security area. Some of my enterprise customers have more than a 150 different security products that they're trying to integrate.

Their issue is around complexity, integration, and just knowing their environment -- what levels they are at, what they are protecting and not, and how does that tie to the business? Are you protecting the most important asset? Is it your intellectual property (IP)? Is it your secret sauce recipe? Is it your financial data? Is it your transactions being available 24/7?

It takes some discipline to go back to that InfoSec framework and make sure that you have that foundation in place, to make sure you're putting your investments in the right way.

... It's about empowering the business, and each business is going to be different. If you're talking about a Department of Defense (DoD) military implementation, that's going to be different than a manufacturing concern. So it's important that you balance the risk, the cost, and the usability to make sure it empowers the business.

Hietala: One of the big things that's changed that I've observed is if you go back a number of years, the sorts of cyber threats that were out there were curious teenagers and things like that. Today, you've got profit-motivated individuals who have perpetrated distributed denial of service attacks to extort money.

Now, they’ve gotten more sophisticated and are dropping Trojan horses on CFO's machines and they can to try in exfiltrate passwords and log-ins to the bank accounts.

We had a case that popped up in our newspaper in Colorado, where a mortgage company, a title company lost a million dollars worth of mortgage money that was loans in the process of funding. All of a sudden, five homeowners are faced with paying two mortgages, because there was no insurance against that.

When you read through the details of what happened it was, it was clearly a Trojan horse that had been put on this company's system. Somebody was able to walk off with a million dollars worth of these people's money.

State-sponsored acts

So you've got profit-motivated individuals on the one side, and you've also got some things happening from another part of the world that look like they're state-sponsored, grabbing corporate IP and defense industry and government sites. So, the motivation of the attackers has fundamentally changed and the threat really seems pretty pervasive at this point.

Complexity is a big part of the challenge, with changes like you have mentioned on the client side, with mobile devices gaining more power, more ability to access information and store information, and cloud. On the other side, we’ve got a lot more complexity in the IT environment, and much bigger challenges for the folks who are tasked for securing things.

Stikeleather: One other piece of it is require an increased amount of business knowledge on the part of the IT group and the security group to be able to make the assessment of where is my IP, which is my most valuable data, and what do I put the emphasis on.

One of the things that people get confused about is, depending upon which analyst report you read, most data is lost by insiders, most data is lost from external hacking, or most data is lost through email. It really depends. Most IP is lost through email and social media activities. Most data, based upon a recent Verizon study, is being lost by external break-ins.

When you move from just "I'm doing security" to "I'm doing risk mitigation and risk management," then you have to start doing portfolio and investment analysis in making those kinds of trade-offs.

We've kind of always have the one-size-fits-all mindset about security. When you move from just "I'm doing security" to "I'm doing risk mitigation and risk management," then you have to start doing portfolio and investment analysis in making those kinds of trade-offs.

... At the end of the day it's the incorporation of everything into enterprise architecture, because you can't bolt on security. It just doesn't work. That’s the situation we're in now. You have to think in terms of the framework of the information that the company is going to use, how it's going to use it, the value that’s associated with it, and that's the definition of EA.

... It's one of the reasons we have so much complexity in the environment, because every time something happens, we go out, we buy any tool to protect against that one thing, as opposed to trying to say, "Here are my staggered differences and here's how I'm going to protect what is important to me and accept the fact nothing is perfect and some things I'm going to lose."

Mezzapelle: It comes back to one of the bottom lines about empowering the business. It means that not only do the IT people need to know more about the business, but the business needs to start taking ownership for the security of their own assets, because they are the ones that are going to have to belay the loss, whether it's data, financial, or whatever.

We need to connect the dots and we need to have metrics. We need to look at it from an overall threat point of view, and it will be different based on what company you're about.

They need to really understand what that means, but we as IT professionals need to be able to explain what that means, because it's not common sense. We need to connect the dots and we need to have metrics. We need to look at it from an overall threat point of view, and it will be different based on what company you're about.

You need to have your own threat model, who you think the major actors would be and how you prioritize your money, because it's an unending bucket that you can pour money into. You need to prioritize.

The way that we've done that is this is we've had a multi-pronged approach. We communicate and educate the software developers, so that they start taking ownership for security in their software products, and that we make sure that that gets integrated into every part of portfolio.

The other part is to have that reference architecture, so that there’s common services that are available to the other services as they are being delivered and that we can not control it but at least manage from a central place.

Stikeleather: The starting point is really architecture. We're actually at a tipping point in the security space, and it comes from what's taking place in the legal and regulatory environments with more-and-more laws being applied to privacy, IP, jurisdictional data location, and a whole series of things that the regulators and the lawyers are putting on us.

One of the things I ask people, when we talk to them, is what is the one application everybody in the world, every company in the world has outsourced. They think about it for a minute, and they all go payroll. Nobody does their own payroll any more. Even the largest companies don't do their own payroll. It's not because it's difficult to run payroll. It's because you can’t afford all of the lawyers and accountants necessary to keep up with all of the jurisdictional rules and regulations for every place that you operate in.

Data itself is beginning to fall under those types of constraints. In a lot of cases, it's medical data. For example, Massachusetts just passed a major privacy law. PCI is being extended to anybody who takes credit cards.

Because all these adjacencies are coming together, it's a good opportunity to sit down and architect with a risk management framework. How am I going to deal with all of this information?

The security issue is now also a data governance and compliance issue as well. So, because all these adjacencies are coming together, it's a good opportunity to sit down and architect with a risk management framework. How am I going to deal with all of this information?

Risk management

Hietala: I go back to the risk management issue. That's something that I think organizations frequently miss. There tends to be a lot of tactical security spending based upon the latest widget, the latest perceived threat -- buy something, implement it, and solve the problem.

Taking a step back from that and really understanding what the risks are to your business, what the impacts of bad things happening are really, is doing a proper risk analysis. Risk assessment is what ought to drive decision-making around security. That's a fundamental thing that gets lost a lot in organizations that are trying to grapple the security problems.

Stikeleather: I can argue both sides of the [cloud security] equation. On one side, I've argued that cloud can be much more secure. If you think about it, and I will pick on Google, Google can expend a lot more on security than any other company in the world, probably more than the federal government will spend on security. The amount of investment does not necessarily tie to a quality of investment, but one would hope that they will have a more secure environment than a regular company will have.

You have to do your due diligence, like with everything else in the world. I believe, as we move forward, cloud is going to give us an opportunity to reinvent how we do security.

On the flip side, there are more tantalizing targets. Therefore they're going to draw more sophisticated attacks. I've also argued that you have statistical probability of break-in. If somebody is trying to break into Google, and you're own Google running Google Apps or something like that, the probability of them getting your specific information is much less than if they attack XYZ enterprise. If they break in there, they are going to get your stuff.

Recently I was meeting with a lot of NASA CIOs and they think that the cloud is actually probably a little bit more secure than what they can do individually. On the other side of the coin it depends on the vendor. You have to do your due diligence, like with everything else in the world. I believe, as we move forward, cloud is going to give us an opportunity to reinvent how we do security.

I've often argued that a lot of what we are doing in security today is fighting the last war, as opposed to fighting the current war. Cloud is going to introduce some new techniques and new capabilities. You'll see more systemic approaches, because somebody like Google can't afford to put in 150 different types of security. They will put one more integrated. They will put in, to Mary Ann’s point, the control panels and everything that we haven't seen before.

So, you'll see better security there. However, in the interim, a lot of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, some of the simpler platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers haven’t made that kind of investment. You're probably not as secured in those environments.

Lowers the barrier

Mezzapelle: For the small and medium size business cloud computing offers the opportunity to be more secure, because they don't necessarily have the maturity of processes and tools to be able to address those kinds of things. So, it lowers that barrier to entry for being secure.

For enterprise customers, cloud solutions need to develop and mature more. They may want to do with hybrid solution right now, where they have more control and the ability to audit and to have more influence over things in specialized contracts, which are not usually the business model for cloud providers.

I would disagree with Jim Stikeleather in some aspects. Just because there is a large provider on the Internet that’s creating a cloud service, security may not have been the key guiding principle in developing a low-cost or free product. So, size doesn't always mean secure.

You have to know about it, and that's where the sophistication of the business user comes in, because cloud is being bought by the business user, not by the IT people. That's another component that we need to make sure gets incorporated into the thinking.

Stikeleather: I am going to reinforce what Mary Ann said. What's going on in cloud space is almost a recreation of the late '70s and early '80s when PCs came into organizations. It's the businesspeople that are acquiring the cloud services and again reinforces the concept of governance and education. They need to know what is it that they're buying.

There will be some new work coming out over the next few months that lay out some of the tough issues there and present some approaches to those problems.

I absolutely agree with Mary. I didn't mean to imply size means more security, but I do think that the expectation, especially for small and medium size businesses, is they will get a more secure environment than they can produce for themselves.

Hietala: There are a number of different groups within The Open Group doing work to ensure better security in various areas. The Jericho Forum is tackling identity issues as it relates to cloud computing. There will be some new work coming out of them over the next few months that lay out some of the tough issues there and present some approaches to those problems.

We also have the Open Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) and the Trusted Technology Provider Framework (TTPF) that are being announced here at this conference. They're looking at supply chain issues related to IT hardware and software products at the vendor level. It's very much an industry-driven initiative and will benefit government buyers, as well as large enterprises, in terms of providing some assurance of products they're procuring are secure and good commercial products.

Also in the Security Forum, we have a lot of work going on in security architecture and information security management. There are a number projects that are aimed at practitioners, providing them the guidance they need to do a better job of securing, whether it's a traditional enterprise, IT environment, cloud and so forth. Our Cloud Computing Work Group is doing work on a cloud security reference architecture. So, there are number of different security activities going on in The Open Group related to all this.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

HP offers framework for one-stop data center transformation

As more companies look toward building or expanding data centers, HP has announced today a comprehensive service that simplifies the process of designing and building data centers by offering design, construction and project management from a single vendor.

The new HP Critical Facilities Implementation service (CFI) enables clients to realize faster time-to-innovation and lower cost of ownership by providing a single integrator that delivers all the elements of a data center design-build project from start to finish. An extension of the HP Converged Infrastructure strategy, HP CFI is an architectural blueprint that allows clients to align and share pools of interoperable resources. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

A recent Gartner survey indicated that 46 percent of respondents reported that they will build one or more new data centers in the next two years, and 54 percent expected that they will need to expand an existing data center in that time frame.

“Constructing a data center is an enormous undertaking for any business, and taking an integrated approach with a single vendor will help maximize cost and efficiency, while reducing headaches,” said Dave Cappuccio, research vice president, Gartner. “As customers’ data center computing requirements add complexity to the design-build process, comprehensive solutions that provide clients with an end-to-end experience will allow them to realize their plans within the required timeframe and constraints.”

Extensive experience

Based on its experience in “greenfield” and retrofit construction, HP is delivering CFI for increased efficiency when designing and building data centers. The company draws on its experience in designing more than 50 million square feet of raised-floor data center space and its innovations in design engineering to create fully integrated facility and IT solutions.

Benefits of CFI include:
  • HP’s management of all of the elements of the design-build project and vision of integrating facilities development with IT strategy.
  • A customized data center implementation plan that is scalable and flexible enough to accommodate their existing and future data center needs.
  • Access to experience based on a track record of delivering successful customer projects around data center planning and design-build. These projects include the world’s first LEED-certified data center, the first LEED GOLD-certified data center, India’s first Uptime Institute Tier III-rated data center as well as more than 60 “greenfield” sites, including 100-megawatt facilities.
HP CFI is available through HP Critical Facilities Services. Pricing varies according to location and implementation. More information is available at

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Adaptive Computing beefs up data center and private cloud management with Moab 6.0

Adaptive Computing has announced a major upgrade to its data-center and private-cloud management solution. The new version addresses growing enterprise demand to quickly deploy infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS) from a centralized and intelligent data center infrastructure.

The Provo, Utah company's Moab Adaptive Computing Suite 6.0 provides increased agility and automation to decrease the time to value for new cloud services, reduce IT cost and complexity and optimize overall cloud resource utilization.

New capabilities in Moab enhance its ability to automate the process of identifying and allocating available resources based on business policies, compliance, cost and performance goals. Ensuring that applications and infrastructure are automatically deployed properly the first time, avoids service failures, optimizes resource usage, and reduces cost, the company said.

“Cloud solutions ultimately need to evolve in complexity from rapid provisioning to an automated, self-optimizing environment,” said Michael Jackson, president and COO of Adaptive Computing. “With Moab Adaptive Computing Suite 6.0, enterprises can create an optimized cloud environment that has the agility to respond to business requests via sophisticated automation. Innovative partners such as HP recognize this need for intelligent resource management and rely on Moab technology to help their customers further extend the value and return on investment of their cloud infrastructures.” [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Self-service projects

Moab Adaptive Computing Suite 6.0 enables organizations to evolve self-service cloud projects into rich, self-optimizing or intelligent workload-driven clouds. Its policy-based cloud intelligence engine works in tandem with existing data center management and resource investments to create an agile cloud environment that responds faster to business requests and automates across IT processes.

Product enhancements include:
  • Automatically understanding and managing a mix of application workloads. In addition, the solution automatically initiates live migration of virtual machine workloads to meet service needs and maximize utilization.
  • Rapidly automating resource allocation and provisioning and de-provisioning hardware resources via policies to reduce IT cost and management complexity.
  • Providing billing or “showback” of resource usage costs to ensure that services are delivered within standards and compliance requirements.
  • Aggregating data for rich context to automate initial resource allocation decisions and policy-based actions through integration with other resource managers, data repositories, and identity management systems.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good insights from The Open Group Cloud Conference -- and its unconference brethren

This guest post comes courtesy of Dr. Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group.

By Dr. Chris Harding

The Open Group Conference in San Diego last week included a formal cloud computing conference stream on Wednesday, followed in that evening by an unstructured CloudCamp -- which made an interesting contrast.

The cloud conference stream

he Cloud Conference stream featured presentations on architecting for cloud and cloud security, and included a panel discussion on the considerations that must be made when choosing a cloud solution.

In the first session of the morning, we had two presentations on architecting for cloud. Both considered TOGAF as the architectural context. The first, from Stuart Boardman of Getronics, explored the conceptual difference that cloud makes to enterprise architecture, and the challenge of communicating an architecture vision and discussing the issues with stakeholders in the subsequent TOGAF phases.

The second, from Serge Thorn of Architecting the Enterprise, looked at the considerations in each TOGAF phase, but in a more specific way. The two presentations showed different approaches to similar subject matter, which proved a very stimulating combination.

This session was followed by a presentation from Steve Else of EA Principals in which he shared several use cases related to cloud computing. Using these, he discussed solution architecture considerations, and put forward the lessons learned and some recommendations for more successful planning, decision-making, and execution. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We then had the first of the day’s security-related presentations. It was given by Omkhar Arasaratnam of IBM and Stuart Boardman of Getronics. It summarized the purpose and scope of the Security for the Cloud and SOA project that is being conducted in The Open Group as a joint project of The Open Group's Cloud Computing Work Group, the SOA Work Group, and Security Forum. Omkhar and Stuart described the usage scenarios that the project team is studying to guide its thinking, the concepts that it is developing, and the conclusions that it has reached so far.

The U.S. is a leader in the use of IT for government and administration, so we can expect that its conclusions will have a global impact.

The first session of the afternoon was started by Ed Harrington of Architecting the Enterprise, who gave an interesting presentation on current U.S. Federal Government thinking on enterprise architecture, showing clearly the importance of cloud computing to U.S. Government plans.

The U.S. is a leader in the use of IT for government and administration, so we can expect that its conclusions – that cloud computing is already making its way into the government computing fabric, and that enterprise architecture, instantiated as SOA and properly governed, will provide the greatest possibility of success in its implementation – will have a global impact.

We then had a panel session, moderated by Dana Gardner with his usual insight and aplomb, that explored the considerations that must be made when choosing a cloud solution — custom or shrink-wrapped — and whether different forms of cloud computing are appropriate to different industry sectors.

The panelists represented different players in the cloud solutions market – customers, providers, and consultants – so that the topic was covered in depth and from a variety of viewpoints. They were Penelope Gordon of 1Plug Corp., Mark Skilton of Capgemini, Ed Harrington of Architecting the Enterprise, Tom Plunkett of Oracle, and TJ Virdi of the Boeing Co.

In the final session of the conference stream, we returned to the topic of cloud security. Paul Simmonds, a member of the Board of the Jericho Forum, gave an excellent presentation on de-risking the cloud through effective risk management, in which he explained the approach that the Jericho Forum has developed. The session was then concluded by Andres Kohn of Proofpoint, who addressed the question of whether data can be more secure in the cloud, considering public, private and hybrid cloud environment.


The CloudCamp was hosted by The Open Group but run as a separate event, facilitated by CloudCamp organizer Dave Nielsen. There were around 150-200 participants, including conference delegates and other people from the San Diego area who happened to be interested in the cloud.

Dave started by going through his definition of cloud computing. Perhaps he should have known better – starting a discussion on terminology and definitions can be a dangerous thing to do with an Open Group audience. He quickly got into a good-natured argument from which he eventually emerged a little bloodied, metaphorically speaking, but unbowed.

We then had eight “lightning talks”. These were five-minute presentations covering a wide range of topics, including how to get started with cloud (Margaret Dawson, Hubspan), supplier/consumer relationship (Brian Loesgen, Microsoft), cloud-based geographical mapping (Ming-Hsiang Tsou, San Diego University), a patterns-based approach to cloud (Ken Klingensmith, IBM), efficient large-scale data processing (Alex Rasmussen, San Diego University), using desktop spare capacity as a cloud resource (Michael Krumpe, Intelligent Technology Integration), cost-effective large-scale data processing in the cloud (Patrick Salami, Temboo), and cloud-based voice and data communication (Chris Matthieu, Tropo).

Overall, the CloudCamp was a great opportunity for people to absorb the language and attitudes of the cloud community, to discuss ideas, and to pick up specific technical knowledge.

The participants then split into groups to discuss topics proposed by volunteers. There were eight topics altogether. Some of these were simply explanations of particular products or services offered by the volunteers’ companies. Others related to areas of general interest such as data security and access control, life-changing cloud applications, and success stories relating to “big data”.

I joined the groups discussing cloud software development on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. These sessions had excellent information content which would be valuable to anyone wishing to get started in – or who is already engaged in – software development on these platforms.

They also brought out two points of general interest. The first is that the dividing line between IaaS and PaaS can be very thin. AWS and Azure are, in theory, on opposite sides of this divide; in practice they provide the developer with broadly similar capabilities. The second point is that in practice your preferred programming language and software environment is likely to be the determining factor in your choice of cloud development platform.

Overall, the CloudCamp was a great opportunity for people to absorb the language and attitudes of the cloud community, to discuss ideas, and to pick up specific technical knowledge. It gave an extra dimension to the conference, and we hope that this can be repeated at future events by The Open Group.

This guest post comes courtesy of Dr. Chris Harding, Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group.

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