Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Tag: Privacy

This is your SOL on Steroids

by on Oct.18, 2009, under Storage

Intel KVM: This is your SOL on Steroids

Intel AMT lets you connect to your managed computer remotely. SOL lets you connect to its COM port and control selected input/output. Nothing new there, right?
In the last IDF, Intel pulled back the curtain on a revolutionary feature: Intel KVM. KVM stands for "Keyboard, Video and Mouse", and it lets you control the, er, keyboard video and mouse of a remote station.

Out Of Band KVM is no triviality. Imagine your PC user calls you with a connectivity problem: You can ask her questions about the system… or you can use Intel KVM to control her system, seeing her screen and controlling her mouse — discovering that the network driver isn&apost installed is a breeze, and fixing it is as simple as inserting the installation disc in your own machine and executing it through IDER (previous Intel AMT features are, of course, available concomitantly).

Intel KVM will show you the entire remote desktop in any case, even in a BSoD, or with a missing hard-disk or CPU.  As much as this is exciting, this sounds scary: what if users want some privacy?
Well, all and any KVM connection starts with a secure graphic output containing a secure password, and this password is required in order to make the connection. This means that there is no Intel KVM session unless the computer user is now in front of the screen and willing to give control. The remote session is indicated to the user, and he has also full control to halt the session at once at the press of a mouse. Reviewed by an internal privacy review board, the technology is planned to be friendly to IT Managers and users alike.

This new feature will be available in some of the 2010 platforms, and is an incredibly useful addition to the other manageability (and remote desktop or KVM) solutions IT shops already have in their toolbox.
In a recent demonstration I performed for local IT Managers, the reception was overwhelming! Instead of performing this full demo on the web, I&aposll let you with this teaser.

We&aposll be soon posting on this blogs new information about this technology (with videos!). Stay tuned, it is going to be an exciting topic!


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It was the Roomba in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe

by on Oct.15, 2009, under Storage

It was the Roomba in the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe

A study conducted at the University of Washington has found that home robots may be a security and privacy leak for their owners. The authors of the study point out that it is not the case where intelligent robots will throw off their shackles and attack their owners. It&aposs a situation that some robots on the market can be hacked through the home&aposs wireless network or the robot&aposs wireless connection.

One specific problem pointed out in the press release for the study was the interception of a robot&aposs video and audio streams. If an attacker could also move the robot, I can well imagine compromising photos being shot and posted on the web or the robot could "case the joint" and discover what valuables are in the house and how the home security system might be overcome.

Depending on the model and features, it would seem conceivable to have the robot actually harm a person within the home. This could be the basis for a "locked room" murder mystery plot. The robot is controlled by an external agent to kill, clean up after itself, and then return to a resting state to await the arrival of the baffled detectives.

One would hope that such studies will alert consumers to be more cautious or mindful of the electronics that will be brought into their private lives. Simple things like changing the default passwords and encrypting home wireless networks will go a long way to give the consumer more security and privacy.


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Inside a “Compliance and Interoperability” Workshop

by on Aug.30, 2009, under Storage

Inside a Compliance and Interoperability Workshop

Do you read the comic strip Dilbert? If so, you know what a work environment based on cubicles looks like. Many of us involved with the Server System Infrastructure (SSI) Forum just finished our first compliance and interoperability (C&I) workshop and, interestingly, cubicles played a key role.

Cubicles are a useful compromise between noise, openness, ease of access and other factors. However, one thing a cubicle is not, is private. Why is that relevant to a C&I event? Let me explain.

Compliance refers to the conformance of a physical device, say a computer or plug-in card, to a written specification. Interoperability refers to the ability of the physical device to connect with other devices and perform according to predetermined tests.

A C&I workshop has elements of testing for specifications and for tests of devices connected together. Depending on the devices under test, testing can be extremely complex process, often involving entirely new-to-the-world components. In fact, multiple entirely new components can be connected together, based on untested specs and using the latest generation of test equipment.

Participating companys most talented engineers work to get their components proven compliant and interoperable. Thats where secrecy comes in: engineers have to be able to work without being concerned about prying eyes.

Privacy is also essential for the tests themselves. Early results may not be positive, but those early results could be damaging to a companys reputation, so they are correctly kept confidential.

How is this privacy achieved? The first C&I workshop was held at an Intel facility. At the lab there are cubicles, per the Intel norm. However, the larger than usual cubicles featured translucent fiberglass panels bolted to the cubicle walls. Also, a sliding lockable door was added to each cubicle.

During the three-day workshop, much was accomplished. Engineers from across the US, Israel and China, representing several blade components, were able to connect their devices together. There were two basic blade systems, one developed by Intel and one by a system OEM. They were developed independently and in parallel, but both were based on specifications provided by SSI.

SSI develops and promotes open specifications for blades and for chassis and power supplies for servers. It currently has almost 40 member companies around the world. SSI has produced 6 blade specs, currently in draft form, to be finalized by the time of the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), September 22-24. SSI has also made 3 switch specs from IBM BladeCenter available to SSI members.

There are two focus areas for specification in the traditional server area of SSI, one for electronics bays (chassis) and one for power supplies V with over 40 specs released since the inception of SSI. Current specs are always available on the SSI web site, and specs now in development for the next CPU generation will be available for prerelease access.

<![CDATA[The C&I Workshop is an important first step on a long journey. Workshops will be held at independent test organizations, purpose-built for such activities. Workshops will expand in scope and participation, as we deliver on the promise of interoperability; really the central tenet of SSI.]]>

See you at IDF! Please come to my session, EMTS006, SSI Interoperability Delivered: How Server System Infrastructure (SSI) Specifications Provides Interoperable Components, September 24, at 2:40. I suggest you attend my colleague, Steve Krigs, lab ECTL001, Lab: SSI Server System Infrastructure V Industry Open Blades Standards Compliance and Interoperability, September 23, at 2:05 and 4:15, for a more technical description of C&I tools and methodologies. I also suggest you visit our booth to see our interoperability demo at booth number 520.

Jim Ryan, Chairman, SSI

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