Secure Multi-Tenancy Advances

VMware, Cisco, NetApp announcement is a sign of things to come

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Cisco (CSCO), NetApp (NTAP), and VMware (VMW) made an interesting announcement this week. The three amigos teamed up to deliver secure multi-tenancy in a virtual infrastructure. What does this mean? In large organizations, it means that IT can enable different functional departments or business applications to share server, networking, and storage infrastructure in a secure fashion. The same is true for service providers who can now provide secure server, network, and storage partitions across shared hardware. Obviously, shared hardware means greater utilization and efficiency along with equipment, operations, and utilities cost savings. In the past, security was the wrench in the works -- would Citigroup really want to host applications on the same server hardware as Bank of America? Secure multi-tenancy may not solve all the cultural and IT problems but it goes a long way toward doing so. Large organizations will be especially pleased --I can only imagine that Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and the GSA will be all over this announcement. The three companies each contribute their own technology to make secure multi-tenancy work. VMware provides vShield Zones, Cisco offers VN-Link, and NetApp chips in MultiStore. I would think you can manage all three through vCenter but I'm not certain. This is a very good start but I can imagine more integration in the future. For example, I can envision a PKI infrastructure anchoring virtual infrastructure and cloud computing for authentication and secure multi-tenancy services. This would be especially useful for military and intelligence applications. We'll see what happens but in the meantime, kudos to Cisco, NetApp, and VMware for addressing a real "gotcha" holding back future computing benefits.

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