I have a good feeling about cloud computing for the upcoming year and I’m not alone. Now that the technology has begun to take off a little more, security and compliance are becoming less of an issue for many companies looking to adopt cloud services. The EU has also recognised that cloud can seriously benefit the economy, if its encouraged and if nothing else, that’s certainly an area that Europe needs to look at shoring up any way it can.
Bearing this in mind, I think it will be a bumper year for cloud in many of its incarnations. However, virtual hosted desktops and SaaS services look to be an area where we will see strong growth over the next twelve months, probably because they are the easiest to deploy and offer the most immediate benefits.
US banking attacks – cloud (and Iran) blamed
The recent string of attacks on US banking institutions is thought to be a state-sponsored attack and recent reports suggest that the cloud has been a major factor in how the attackers have carried this out.
So far, at least six US banks have been affected with their websites grinding to a halt and many officials pinning the blame on Iran, according to a recent New York Times report.
The attacks send a number of encryption requests to the bank at the same time, similar to a DDoS attack, so that bandwidth is restricted and therefore the bank’s site is slowed until it’s rendered all but unusable.
"The multiplying of the flood is unbelievable," Carl Herberger told American Banker. Herberger is a vice-president at security firm Radware, which has been investigating the attacks on behalf of cloud computing providers and the banks themselves.
"Their servers, processors and offloading devices simply could not handle this problem."
It seems that a number of cloud facilities have been used in the attack with the help of malware known as Itsoknoproblembro. According to American Banker, cloud and bank facilities are tied together in such a way that mean attackers can use bots to flood servers until they can’t cope.
Whilst there’s no clear evidence pointing to Iran, the complexity of the attack suggests a state sponsor, although there are also concerns that hacktivists may also have got in on the action.
Iran or not, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a state sponsored attack in recent years. It’s widely acknowledged in the security sector that Stuxnet and Duqu, which attacked Iranian nuclear power plants, were the result of a US and Israeli state-sponsored attack.
Whatever the case, it’s very doubtful that this is the last we’ll hear of cloud-based attacks. After all, a new technology (albeit not that new for the tech-heads out there) will always come in for many scare stories.
Red Hat update hybrid strategy
Red Hat is to announce updates to its open hybrid cloud strategy at a partner conference in San Diego next week. It’s thought that the collaborative will give a push to making better partnerships in a bid to push rivals VMware aside.
Red Hat recently acquired ManageIQ, which allows it to manage private cloud more effectively, as well as manage public workloads running on Amazon and Rackspace. It’s thought that they will concentrate on building good business practices around data centre and application infrastructure.
According to some reports, this has made for a lot of buzz around OpenShift, as new apps will be able to be developed in a flexible environment, giving more appeal to devs than other solutions.
Nvidia unveils the Grid
Last year, we blogged about the Nvidia Grid, which may revolutionise gaming so that it can be carried out in the cloud. The new card, showcased at this year’s CES 2013 conference, is used to power gaming across numerous platforms, including PCs, smart TVs, smartphones and so on.
According to engadget, the card was detailed on stage and is featured in a rack of 20 grid servers. These apparently push out around “240 NVIDIA GPUs worth of power, or about 200 teraflops -- equivalent to approximately 700 Xbox 360s” in order to ensure that gaming can thrive in the cloud.
A demo at the event saw the GPU makers showcase Frozenbyte’s Trine which they had running on various platforms all powered by Grid. According to many reports, the demonstration was a success and it “looked great” and “carried seamlessly between multiple devices”.
Partners for the Grid system were also announced and so far include: Agawi, Cyber Cloud, G-Cluster, Playcast and Ubitis, amongst others. More are sure to follow as the event goes on.
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