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True utility computing coming soon: Vic Winkler

Byron Connolly | Aug. 6, 2014
True utility computing – where virtual machines are moved between competing service providers without an organisation's knowledge – is coming soon, according to Vic Winkler, CTO at at data security provider Covata.

"That's good from the standpoint of security because attacks take place in an automated manner in a different time domain than a human time domain. So whatever I created had to be designed at least in the same time domain.

"We separated the networks that we [used to] control the cloud from those that public data went on. So the control plane was maintained separately — even down to the switch level and the physical networking — from the data plane.

"I've talked with people from Amazon subsequently and they do exactly the same thing. It was great getting that validation years later that others were adopting the same things," he added.

The cloud computing industry grew up in a couple of independent enclaves at this time, Winkler said.

"We think we were there first at Sun. In short order, Amazon came to realise that they had excess computing capability and how do they monetise that."

Today, cloud computing is being promoted as three broad classes of service: infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service, said Winkler.

"But those are just three arbitrary signposts on a continuum," he said. "They may not be all the way at the end. If you think about cloud brokering, for instance, that goes orthogonal to that whole space ... we're still very early into this."

Winkler said although the cloud computing market in Australia is "more mature than we think", it has some way to go, particularly in the areas of data sovereignty, and access to data by law enforcement agencies.

"From the standpoint of dealing with that, it's up to the enterprise to embrace it and figure it out. There's enough raw material in terms of compute power, technologies and [cloud] metaphors ... for a smart enterprise to figure its way through this, and to not worry about it.

"If I'm going to be worried about the backing up of my data by a cloud service provider, I'm not doing something right," he said.

"If you want to adopt cloud computing, you have to measure what you are getting. Once you know what you are getting, you can make a decision on that cloud service provider — then you can address the gaps."

Covata is planning to list on the Australian Stock Exchange on September 12 following a $57.2 million merger with mining company, Prime Minerals in May.


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