Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cloudy Links

Three cloud-y links on a cloudy day in Boston:

- The domain is to be auctioned:

- A photograph of a Google server, which includes a 12 volt battery as a neat UPS solution, as opposed to relying on a central data center UPS:

One of the more surprising innovations of Google's server design -- seen here in a CNET photograph -- appears to be rather mundane: The company's custom-designed server hardware includes a 12-volt battery that functions as an uninterruptible power supply. This obviates the need for a central data center UPS, which turns out to be less reliable than on-board batteries.

and finally:

- Two lawyers write about E-Discovery and the Cloud
"...this technological revolution means new e-discovery challenges are on the horizon for lawyers as clients move discoverable electronically stored information from their own networks to networks controlled by someone else."

Friday, April 10, 2009


Britain's top counter-terrorism officer has quit after mistakenly holding secret papers towards news photographers.

Clearly this was a breach of secrecy. But, it made me think that people send unencrypted emails all the time, and these are just the same as walking around with a document on view to the world. You never see a story about top secret information being sent by unencrypted email, probably because it isn't so easy to comprehend. An unencrypted email goes through third-party infrastructure, and mail servers, and could be logged or read at any point.

At least there is a nice "physical world" analogy now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Catch the Vordel and Oracle session at RSA 2009

I'm speaking with Vikas Jain from Oracle at the RSA Conference on Wednesday the 22nd - here are the session details.

The session is about 5 Web Services Security case studies, and includes a Reference Architecture for XML Gateway products working with the Agents of Web Services Management products (Oracle WSM).

Contact me if you'll be at RSA. Vordel is jointly hosting a drinks reception on the Wednesday evening and I'd love to catch up with people when I'm there. This will be my ninth RSA Conference.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Update on and Twitter, and the Cloud Computing angle

Since I posted yesterday's blog post about Twitter users first spreading the word on's DNS problems, the post was picked up by Dean Pullen who published the first story on this outage in The Inquirer

The DNS problems have resurfaced again today. Amazingly, the only news story on this is still Dean Pullen in The Inquirer with a follow-up article (surely this is a major story? Where are the other news sites?). But, perhaps because of Twitter and Dean Pullen's article, the good news is that is now itself using Twitter to let the world know that it is working on the problem. Good transparent customer service.

This makes 3 days in a row with major DNS outages. An important new consequence of DNS outages is the Cloud Computing Angle. Here at Vordel, our customers can use our XML Gateway to connect up to Web Services exposed by Cloud providers (e.g. SalesForce and Amazon). Like a local "cable box" for connecting to the Cloud. Those connections to services such as Amazon S3 for storage and for CRM are important for their businesses, so it makes sense to put the connections up to the “Cloud” services through a Vordel Gateway, which monitors the connection. If an outage happens, then the Vordel box takes remedial action by sending a notification, using its cache, and rerouting the traffic. Yesterday and today's outage didn’t affect Cloud traffic, but the earlier UltraDNS attack did. So, if you’re using Cloud services, then that means that your operations now depend not only on the Cloud service provider, but on the DNS system. It makes sense to put intelligence at the client side which is connecting up to the Cloud.

So, you have to have that local monitoring in place or else a DNS attack knocks out your own core services which now depend on Cloud services. It is like the old definition of a Distributed System – one in which a component you’ve never previously heard of can bring the whole thing down.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Twitter first with the outage news and its domains, constituting a sizable chunk of the Internet, are currently subject to a DNS outage, probably due to a DoS attack. A search on Google News for " outage" returns nothing useful. Neither does a search of Yahoo! News. But Twitter is all over it:

Twitter is not primarily a news search service, in fact you have to look down at the bottom of the Twitter home page to even find the "search" link, but it fulfills that purpose admirably.