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Start-up Throws Cordon Sanitaire Around Clouds
Two-year-old start-up CohesiveFT figures to secure cloud computing

It got started helping individual developers and small teams automatically assemble the virtual servers and custom application stacks to virtualize an environment or deploy to the cloud using its Chinese menu-style Elastic Server. Then it had that proverbial Eureka moment.

IDC says 74% of IT executives and CIOs cite security as the biggest hurdle stopping them from adopting a cloud services model. Why not remove the barrier?

And so VPN-Cubed was born, a peculiar use of VPN, an encrypted virtual private network that's supposed to provide customer-controlled security inside a single cloud or for that matter across multiple clouds and between clouds and private infrastructure.

So far that means Amazon EC2, Flexiscale, GoGrid and Rackable's Mosso.

It creates a secure bridge between a customer's data center as well as between multiple cloud-computing providers establishing what CohesiveFT calls a security perimeter, a cordon sanitaire surrounding cloud-based assets.

VPN-Cubed acts as an encrypted LAN in a single cloud and as an encrypted WAN across multiple clouds so cloud-based clusters appear to be part of one physical network. Users grow their services horizontally and get redundancy, inter-cloud failover and scalability in the bargain.

It should mean that users aren't limited to just one cloud.

VPN-Cubed is a packaged service used in addition to a cloud's own VLAN and individual firewalls and provided through the company's Elastic Server platform. It's based on open standards and technologies such as the open source project OpenVPN. Unlike VPN approaches used to connect remote employees and offices, CohesiveFT says its widgetry keeps cloud clusters running even if a VPN server fails.

A precursor to the VPN-Cubed product has been in production for more than a year via the open source VcubeV project.

One of its customers is the Ocean Observatories Institute (OOI) at the University of California San Diego.

A base package, which runs $25,000-$50,000 can include up to 50 servers. So far Windows Server 2008, Debian, Ubuntu (8.04LTS), Fedora 9 CentOS 4, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, openSUSE and Novell SLES are support as well as VMware, Citrix Xen, open source Xen, Microsoft Hyper-V, Parallels, Amazon AMI, KVM and Sun xVM and xVM Ops Center 2.0.

CohesiveFT's flagship platform, Elastic Server, is described as a web-based "factory" for creating, deploying and managing custom, multi-sourced assemblies comprised of horizontal, open source and third-party software components. Elastic Servers can be saved as templates, updated, augmented or redeployed reportedly in minutes.

There are said to be 4,000 Elastic Servers in the world created by 1,500 since February 2007.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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