IBM's Cast Iron Solution for Hybrid Cloud Gets Secured

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As organizations big and small race to the cloud, there is still a need for on-premise integration for security and access control. That’s where the hybrid cloud idea fits in, blending both public and private assets in an effort to help enterprises get the benefits of both worlds.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is advancing the idea of the hybrid cloud with its WebSphere Cast Iron technology. For IBM the hybrid cloud is all about integrating the off-premise cloud with on-premise policy.

"Websphere Cast Iron provides a simple way to integrate off premise Software-as-a-Service applications with your on-premise applications," Dave Lindquist, IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Tivoli Software told InternetNews.com.

Lindquist noted that the goal is to make it easy to integrate off premise apps with enterprise technology. As part of the integration, the system is being boosted with monitoring, security and governance as well as workload management.

For security, Lindquist said that directory synchronization is a key feature that integrates with the off premise cloud. As such, when users are added or moved from the enterprise directory the changes are synchronized with the cloud applications.

When it comes to monitoring, the IBM solution aims to monitor the off-premise workloads as though they were on-premise. From a provisioning and governance perspective, Lindquist said that the system allows administrators to control usage and placement of workloads.

"Customers can progressively configure capabilities to establish a hybrid cloud," Lindquist said.

Lindquist explained that Websphere Cast Iron cloud integration is typically used to integrate applications that exist off-premise that users can subscribe to, as well as on-premise applications like Oracle and DB2.

"You can also move and deploy a workload into the cloud," Lindquist said. "To do that requires some business policies about what can be moved and that's part of the governance we've put into the cloud integration."

Among the challenges that have faced the hybrid cloud in the past, Lindquist said that access and directory synchronization have been issues in the past for users. Managing policies for data is another key issue.

"What we're starting with here are the base policies of workload movement, what can run where, and user security," Lindquist said.

From a naming perspective, Lindquist explained that IBM is using the Websphere name as a brand for middleware integration, and it isn't just about Java middleware. The Websphere Cast Iron cloud orchestrator is set to be available as a physical as well as a virtual appliance. Additionally, IBM offers the technology as a hosted service.

IBM also plans to evolve the technology as the needs and usage of hybrid cloud deployments expand.

"We'll add to the system at a good pace as we learn what the issues are in data security and workload management in particular," Lindquist said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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