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Dispatches from the world of IT


Cloud Server Market to Double from 2010 to 2012

According to market research from IHS iSuppli, cloud servers will enjoy robust prospects in 2012 and become the fastest growing segment of the server industry within three years.

Shipments of cloud servers are projected to reach 875,000 units in 2012, up 35 percent from 647,000 in 2011 and nearly double the 460,000 units in 2010, according to a recent IHS iSuppli report.

The report states that high growth rates ranging from 23 to 30 percent are anticipated for each of the next three years until 2015, by which time cloud server shipments will have hit approximately 1.8 million units. Cloud servers also will make up an increasing portion of total server shipments – growing from slightly more than 5 percent of the market in 2010 to more than 15 percent in 2015.

According to the report, performance is not the key metric for servers used in cloud data centers; what counts instead is expandability, energy efficiency, and low cost. And, because physical footprint is valuable in a data center, rack-optimized servers and highly condensed blade servers will find the greatest adoption. You can read the complete report at:

JSTOR Archive Moves Toward Open Access

JSTOR's Register & Read Beta is an experimental program to offer free, read-online access to scholars and researchers who register for a MyJSTOR account.

According to the website, the JSTOR archive offers "high-quality, interdisciplinary content to support scholarship and teaching." It includes more than 1,000 academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The content is full-text searchable, includes high-quality images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references. At launch, Register & Read will include approximately 70 journals from more than 30 publishers – a small subset of the content in JSTOR.

To access content, you just register for a free MyJSTOR account, add the content to your shelf, and then read the full text online. After 14 days, you may remove it and add new items to your shelf. PDF versions of some articles will also be available for purchase and download. For more information, see:

Sandia Researcher Develops DNSViz

Sandia computer scientist Casey Deccio has developed a software tool called DNSViz to help network administrators with Domain Name System (DNS) vulnerabilities.

DNSSEC is a government-mandated security feature for all federal information systems. According to the report, Deccio believes DNSSEC is of little use if network administrators don't know how to configure or use it. To help network administrators in their DNSSEC deployment, the DNSViz tool functions in two primary ways: It actively analyzes a domain name by performing DNS lookups, and it makes the analysis available via the web interface. The active analysis occurs periodically to build a history of DNSSEC deployment over time and to provide a historical reference for DNS administrators.

In the Sandia Labs press release, Deccio describes DNSViz as a "tool for visualizing the status of a DNS zone." It provides a visual analysis of the DNSSEC authentication chain for a domain name and its resolution path in the DNS namespace. It visually highlights and describes configuration errors detected by the tool to assist administrators in identifying and fixing DNSSEC-related configuration problems. Currently, the web interface is the primary way for users to observe data; however, Deccio intends to expand DNSViz functionality to allow access through other means.

For example, alert mechanisms might be used to inform affected parties, and application programming interfaces (APIs) can be designed so that administrators can access the information programmatically instead of manually by browsing the DNSViz website.

Although the functionality provided by DNSViz could be included in a for-profit software product, in the press release, Deccio says he envisions DNSViz as an open source tool available to anyone who needs it. With further funding, he hopes to expand the tool so that it can analyze DNS health and security on a continuous basis, essentially creating a full-blown monitoring system that is scalable, versatile, and more informational.

For more information, see:

Check Point Offers Virtual Security Appliance

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. has announced that its security gateways are now available to customers through Amazon Web Services. According to the announcement, Check Point customers can deploy a Check Point virtual appliance – a security gateway for virtual environments – in the Amazon Cloud to activate protections that prevent network attacks and data breaches, while enabling secure connectivity in dynamic cloud computing environments.

With the virtual appliance, Check Point customers can now get the same security solutions offered for on-site networks – including Firewall, IPS, VPN, application control, URL filtering, mobile access, and data loss prevention – without additional hardware. According to the company, these tools allow users to simplify compliance and audits with unified logs and reporting, while enforcing consistent security across the organization.

Pricing for the Check Point virtual appliance is based on the existing software blade licensing and can be purchased through value-added resellers. To find a Check Point partner, visit:

US Government Releases Cloud Security Guidelines

The US government has released a list of security control requirements for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) – the new IT risk management program created to foster the adoption of cloud computing by the federal government.

The list contains more than 150 security controls that must be in place for government agencies and cloud service vendors to be in compliance with FedRAMP, which takes effect in June 2012. Under the FedRAMP approach, independent auditors will test each product for compliance. The General Services Administration (GSA) is expected to release instructions for the compliance auditing process by February 8. According to, the FedRAMP security controls align with NIST Special Publication 800-53, Revision 3, for low- and moderate-impact systems (in accordance with FIPS 199). These security controls must be implemented within a cloud service provider environment to receive security authorization for the federal government. For details, see:

UCLA and KIER Collaborate on Smart Grid Solutions

The engineering department of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has entered into a 10-year partnership with the government-supported Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) in South Korea to develop new technologies with the aim of creating a more robust smart grid.

The UCLA WINSmartGrid is a network platform that allows electrically operated machines and appliances (e.g., plug-in electric vehicles, washers, dryers, and air conditioners) to be monitored, connected, and controlled through a wireless communications framework.

The technology connects the machines and smart meters to the WINSmartGrid web service, which receives real-time feeds from utilities and external sources on the price of power at any time of day, as well as other information. Control signals can subsequently be sent via the WINSmartGrid network, which in turn can dynamically control various appliances in real time.

According to the report, the researchers are using the UCLA campus as an experimental lab in which to observe how wireless sensing and control systems can help create the smart grid. As part of Korea's effort, the country launched a national demonstration project in 2009 with the construction of a smart grid testbed on Jeju Island. The testbed will become the world's largest smart grid community, allowing testing of the most advanced technologies. See the press release at:

Acer Announces AcerCloud Service

At CES 2012, Acer previewed its new AcerCloud service, which, according to the company, connects users' personal smart devices for anytime, anywhere access. With this service, users can retrieve multimedia and data files at any time, even when their main PC is in sleep mode.

AcerCloud features include PicStream, which lets users take snapshots on their smartphone, back them up on their PC, and share them with other smart devices. AcerCloud Docs lets users create and save documents on a PC, then put the documents into the personal cloud and stream them to other devices. According to the announcement, the files will be accessible for 30 days in the personal cloud and on the devices or can be downloaded to other devices for long-term storage. With Acer's media application, users also can access all their multimedia files at any time.

Acer will include the AcerCloud service, at no additional cost, on all new Acer consumer PCs starting in 2012Q2. It will support all Android devices, with support for Windows-based devices planned for the future. The service will be available in North America, Europe, Asia, and China. See the press release for details: