Blog posts by Tim Cole


Your law or mine in the Cloud?

Where in the Cloud am I? And more importantly: Where are my data? I know that many managers and CIOs are asking themselves similar questions. In fact, as I have posted before, a colleague of mine put that question to Martin Jetter, CEO of IBM Germany, at a briefing about a year ago, namely: “If I give you my data to store in the Cloud, where exactly are they?” Mr. Jetter didn’t quite get the question at first, so he launched into a lengthy technical explanation, but the guy interrupted him and insisted: “I mean, physically, where are they?” Of course, there was no really good answer,...


Is encryption really the cure for what ails ya in the Cloud?

Almost two years ago, I blogged about a conversation I had with Martin (“ Tall Martin ”) Buhr about Cloud Security. At the time, he was the European head of Amazon’s Web Services, and he has recently moved on to Nimbula (“the Cloud Operating System company”) as head of sales and business development, but his words came back to me during an analyst panel at RSA Conference in SFO, where I shared the rostrum with Eric Maiwald of Gartner and Jonathan Penn of Forrester and during which we touched on regulation issues that could block the development of Cloud Computing. In Europe, the...


Security or a ham sandwich?

When identity pros get together and let their hair down, they like to swap stories about all the dumb and/or ill-advised things people do with their passwords. BBC famously sent a camera team out to interview folks on the streets on London, asking them to reveal their user names and passwords and offering them a ham sandwich in return. More than half complied. Which calls to mind George Bernard Shaw’s famous question “What’s better: eternal salvation or a ham sandwich. Well, nothing’s better than eternal salvation, but a ham sandwich is better than nothing…” In fact, most of the stuff...


Does your browser know who you are?

The lowly browser has come a longs way since Marc Andreessen wrote the code for Mosaic back in his salad days as a student at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications because he was fed up with the line-mode interface intrepid Internet pioneers like us were forced to use back in the early Ninties. But Mosaic was a relatively simple program, and improvement set in almost immediately. First came plug-ins, then Java applets and extensions, and today’s web browsers are actually sophisticated and powerful packages of applications that can automatically handle anything from...


Escaping from Cross-Platform Purgatory

Things would be so simple if companies could just sit down and agree for everyone to use the same computers, or at least the same operating system. In a perfect world, everyone would use Windows or UNIX or Apple or Linux and IT admins might actually find time to lean back and rest their weary bones. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, admins live in a nightmare of mixed platforms and systems where juggling sensitive data around is something Dante would have described in grueling detail if computers had been around when he wrote the “Inferno”. Cross-platform management is...


Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth

Without getting into the umpteenth discussion about what, who and where is the Cloud, I think we can safely assume that for average people, and especially for businesspeople, Cloud Computing is when you run an application or store some data on someone else’s server somewhere out there “in the Cloud”. By this definition,, just to name an instance, fits just about everybody’s idea of Cloud Computing . Oracle’s Larry Ellison would beg to differ, and he actually traded insults onstage at Open World 2010 with Salesforce’s boss Marc Benioff, whom he accused of “just running a...


Waking up to the walk-away problem

Okay, just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me, right? But I guess that’s what comes from dealing to long with IT security people whose chosen profession involves trying to outsmart some very smart people on the dark side of computing. I love listening to my friend Andy Müller-Maguhn, for instance. He's one of the founders of the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg, who likes to scare the heck out of managers in the audience by describing the ingenious ways hackers have for breaking into other people’s systems and what all the horrible damage they can do there....


You can’t have one without the other(s)

Remember the old New Yorker cartoon about the canine computer user telling his sidekick: „On the Internet nobody know’s you’re a dog“? That was back in 1993, but it still holds true. And while many, myself included, relish the anonymity the Net gives us, the inability to prove conclusively who is on the other end of the line can be irking, and even downright dangerous, when large sums of money or the running of critical or possibly even existential systems is concerned. Of course, the username/password currently used by almost everybody doesn’t prove who you or I are at all. It simply...


Old dog, new tricks

At my time in life, you sort of become settled into old, comfortable habits, and that’s okay. However, moving from Munich to Boston to set up our new US office has shaken a few things up in my life. And as if that wasn’t enough, I flew out to the Bay Area a couple of days later to attend IIW ’11, which the organizers, Kaliya Hamlin (a.k.a. “identitywoman”), Phil Windley and Doc Searls put on at the Museum of Computer History right around from NASA’s Ames Research Lab at Moffet Field  in Mountain View – and boy did that give me a dose of culture shock. I mean, we at KuppingerCole...


Cloud Computing: Thinking inside the box

The problem with Cloud Computing is that no two experts can agree what it really is, right? Wrong! As of Sunday evening, we at least have two major players singing from the same psalm book. At Oracle Open World in San Francisco, Larry Ellison went public with the announcement that not only does he agree with Amazon on their definition of Cloud Computing; he is actually stealing their thunder, or at least the thunder of the name Amazon invented to describe their cloud services, namely “Elastic Cloud”. He also gave a firm answer to the age-old question, is Cloud Computing an...

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