Today, StackStorm emerged from stealth mode and revealed details of a DevOps solution for IaaS cloud environments, with a specific focus on OpenStack at the present time. In much the same vein that Pivotal sought to bring the computing power, scalability and operational efficiencies of enterprises such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Twitter to mainstream enterprise IT, StackStorm proposes to bring automation technology analogous to that used by companies like Facebook to enterprises, SMBs and startups alike. StackStorm CEO Evan Powell elaborated on the company’s technology by noting that, “the world’s top cloud infrastructure operators are 10-100x more productive than the average operator thanks in part to homemade operations automation like Facebook’s FBAR. We built StackStorm to deliver exactly this kind of software and productivity boost to the broader market.” In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, Powell noted further that the platform specialized in simplifying the automation of workflows in addition to leaving an audit trail regarding the implementation of automation. Moreover, the StackStorm platform integrates machine learning into its product in order to render its automation technology more intelligently and intuitively responsive to the evolving needs of the infrastructure in question. Cofounded by by Evan Powell and Dmitri Zimine, StackStorm’s mission involves delivering automation and artificial intelligence to the operation of datacenters and cloud-based infrastructures, with a particular emphasis on empowering companies who lack top-tier DevOps talent to automate their workflows with efficacy and transparency.
StackStorm Emerges From Stealth To Deliver Artificial Intelligence To DevOps Technology For Cloud Infrastructures
Funded by $11.2M in Series A funding from Accel Partners and Redpoint Ventures, Tactile recently launched with the intent of delivering applications that allow professionals to obtain integrated access to data from disparate data sources. The company’s first application, Tact, enables salespeople to synchronize and integrate data about contacts from multiple sources such as Gmail, LinkedIn, Salesforce and Outlook. Tactile’s patent pending “personal sync platform” enables users to combine data from disparate data sources in order to obtain an enriched, holistic, 360 degree view of data that would otherwise remain fragmented and siloed. As such, Tactile builds upon the possibilities for integration and synchronization enabled by cloud-based platforms such as iCloud and Evernote that can synchronize data dispersed across multiple devices.
Tactile CEO Chuck Ganapathi remarked on the contemporary importance of synchronization technologies as follows:
In our personal lives, we have come to expect everything — photos, music, documents — to be available everywhere and instantly up to date. Sync is the defining technology of this generation, and we are on a mission to bring its power to our work lives and deliver business applications that people love.
Here, Ganapathi echoes a remark by Steve Jobs about the importance of synchronization made in one of the last public talks before his death:
I pick up my iPad and it doesn’t have that song on it. So I have to sync my iPhone to my Mac. Then I have to sync my other devices to the Mac to get that song but then they’ve deposited some photos on the Mac so I have to sync the iPhone again with the Mac to get those photos and keeping those devices in sync is driving us crazy.
Whereas iCloud focuses on device synchronization for a specific set of iOS-based devices, Tactile specializes in data synchronization that leverages multiple applications. Given the increasing plurality of software applications whose functionality overlaps to the point where synchronization would be useful, if not imperative, Tactile stands poised to carve out a niche for itself based on the value proposition of putting the needs of the end-user first, and figuring out how to best serve those needs. With an impressive round of Series A funding in the bank, expect to hear more detailed announcements about Tactile’s approach to synchronization and the purview of its vision in the months ahead.
The Zeus trojan is traditionally known to target steal online banking credentials. Known as the “king of bots” by Symantec, the Zeus trojan horse computer malware operates by stealing online credentials and perfoming unauthorized transactions such as money transfers or bank fraud on Windows machines. According to a recent blog post, Adallom Labs has discovered a variant of the Zeus trojan that targets not only Salesforce.com accounts, but any SaaS application more generally. Instead of performing malicious, keystroke-logging based transactions, this new variant of the Zeus trojan made a replica of the victim’s Salesforce-based CRM and similarly stands to crawl entire SaaS-based applications for the purpose of obtaining access to proprietary data or code. While complete details of the mechanism of the transmission of this new variant of the Zeus bot remain undetermined, Adallom was able to specify that the weak link in the security chain typically originates from end user machines that have been “landmined” by Zeus, as opposed to the SaaS application itself, which typically boasts enterprise-grade security. All this suggests that the cybersecurity space will increasingly need to turn its attention to protecting end user machines outside of the corporate network, particularly in the case of SaaS applications that can be accessed from any web-enabled device. Expect details of the transmission of this new form of the Zeus bot to emerge from Adallom pending further investigation of the customer that experienced the Salesforce.com-related breach of security.
Today, cybersecurity startup Aorato comes out of stealth to launch internationally with a machine learning-based Directory Services Application Firewall (DAF) designed to ensure the security of Microsoft’s Active Directory protocol. Aorato’s proprietary graph database technology alerts security personnel to eccentricities specific to exchanges between Active Directory entities that may signal or prefigure a security violation. Aorato’s Directory Services Application Firewall iteratively learns from the results of previous analyses and subsequently builds entity profiles that not only identify security breaches retrospectively, but also predicts them based on probabilistic analysis of historical data.
Aorato observes the traffic between Microsoft’s Active Directory servers and network entities such as users and devices in order to create an Organizational Security Graph (OSG) that models relationships between the different entities. The Organizational Security Graph depicts anomalous behavior that can be used to identify potential or actual security breaches. The OSG constructs an attack timeline and profiles of entities that enable speedy categorizations of potential security breaches such that security professionals can take action against the incident in question with the appropriate degree of speed and urgency. Aorato constructed its OSG graph database using a NoSQL database platform and proprietary code used to map relationships between different entities in the Active Directory ecosystem. In an interview with Cloud Computing Today, CEO Idan Plotnik noted that the company began coding OSG using Neo4j but chose to transition to a proprietary, custom developed platform in order to more effectively accommodate the specificities of the relationships between and amongst Active Directory entities.
Prior to Aorato, Idan was CEO of a security consulting firm that specialized in security solutions for Microsoft products and technologies. Aorato recently finalized a second round of funding of over $8M that brings the total capital raised by the company to $10M. Investors include Accel Partners, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Glilot Capital Partners and entrepreneurs Mickey Boodaei and Rakesh Loonkar. The Aorato team has significant experience working for the Cybersecurity department within the Israeli Defense Forces and plans to maintain R&D in Israel while locating sales and marketing and other company functions in the U.S., in NYC. The cybersecurity space should expect to hear more about Aorato in the upcoming months, particularly as it signs up more enterprise customers and reveals further details about the analytics enabled by its proprietary, Big Data graph database platform.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Dropbox has raised $250M in a recent funding round that brings the company’s valuation to $10 billion. The capital raise is led by BlackRock Fund, and brings the total funding raised by Dropbox to over $500M. Dropbox’s valuation at $10 billion means that the company’s value has more than doubled since its $4 billion valuation in late 2011.The recent funding raise is intended to accelerate product development and business development activities targeted to enterprise customers interested in features related to enhanced security, role based access, audit controls and related features. This is not the first time Dropbox has raised a quarter of a million dollars in capital: Dropbox raised $250M in 2011 in a round financed by Goldman Sachs, Sequoia, Index Ventures and Accel Partners. Dropbox’s recent funding raise is set to pit it squarely with competitor Box, which raised $100M at a $2 billion valuation in December 2013. As IPO rumors proliferate about both Dropbox and Box, consumers stand to benefit from ever increasing free storage allotments for both platforms designed to boost usage of and familiarity with the cloud-based file sharing and storage vendor in question.
Egenera, a Boxborough, MA-based company specializing in cloud infrastructure management, recently announced a new release of its Egenera Cloud Suite platform for provisioning “physical, virtual, and public cloud resources” from within the purview of a single management interface. The new release serves the needs of both enterprises and cloud service providers that face the challenge of managing workloads within public cloud infrastructures and on premise environments. Enhancements to the Egenera Cloud Suite platform, which combines the PAN Cloud Director, PAN Manager and PAN Domain Manager, include support for Microsoft Hyper-V and Active Directory, more granular role-based access controls and improvements to billing and templating that streamline and automate workflows.
Given that enterprises increasingly leverage combinations of on premise and public cloud environments to differentially accommodate the needs of test, development and production environments, the ability of the Egenera PAN Manager and PAN Cloud Director to comprehensively manage varied hosting infrastructures positions it strongly to manage hybrid clouds, the most common use case for cloud deployments since comparatively few organizations pursue a “cloud only” solution. Egenera’s recent release builds on this summer’s integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), whereby AWS is now part of the standard service catalog within its Pan Cloud Director service catalog. Meanwhile, this week’s release marks a significant breakthrough for Egenera, which now expands its purview to virtualized environments supported by the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor due to requests from many of its customers, as noted in an interview with Cloud Computing Today.
Autonomic Resources has become the first cloud vendor with FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) to facilitate achievement of FedRAMP P-ATO status for another vendor’s application, namely, Concurrent Technologies Corporation’s (CTC) Unclassified Remote Hosted Desktop (URHD) SaaS application. By building its UHRD on top of Autonomic’s ARC-P IaaS platform, CTC was able to leverage Autonomic’s pre-existing FedRAMP P-ATO status to streamline its application process. Matthew Goodrich, program manager for FedRAMP at the General Services Administration, surmised the significance of CTC’s recently minted P-ATO status as follows:
CTC’s SaaS virtual desktop environment proves that the FedRAMP authorization process works for all types of clouds, from infrastructure to software. Additionally, CTC’s use of Autonomic Resources ARC-P Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for a portion of their offering demonstrates the ability of CSPs to partner and enhance service offerings to the federal government, while also saving time and money by leveraging a previously authorized provider’s environment.
Goodrich points out that the achievement of P-ATO status on by “CTC’s SaaS virtual desktop environment” represents two firsts: a first for a SaaS application to obtain FedRAMP P-ATO status, and a first in the way of a partnership between a vendor seeking FedRAMP certification, and a vendor that had already achieved certification. In a press release, Autonomic Resources noted that it is similarly collaborating with several other SaaS vendors to help them obtain FedRAMP certification. The precedent established by the collaboration between Autonomic Resources and CTC suggests that, in the case of SaaS applications seeking FedRAMP certification, partnerships with existing IaaS vendors that have already obtained P-ATO status may well be the simplest, most expeditious path toward obtaining the authority to do business with the Federal government and its constituent agencies. To date, FedRAMP P-ATO certification has been achieved by an elite group of vendors currently spanned by Akamai, AT&T, Autonomic Resources, CGI Federal, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, HP, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, IBM whereas Amazon Web Services has achieved full FedRAMP ATO status.