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Briefs: Deutsche Börse to run cloud marketplace, MIT on cloud security

This week, German stock exchange operator Deutsche Börse builds a cloud marketplace, and MIT researchers aim to solve an encryption loophole.

German stock exchange operator launches cloud marketplace

Its background may be in facilitating securities and equities trades, but Frankfurt Stock Exchange operator Deutsche Börse will soon be dealing in CPU and terabytes with its upcoming launch of a cloud marketplace where providers can sell off excess compute and storage capacity to other service providers, business customers and cloud brokers. The Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange, which has attracted cloud providers such as CloudSigma and Equinix, is set to go live in the first quarter of 2014 in partnership with German cloud management vendor Zimory, Reuters reported

Although the move appears to mark another step toward commoditization in the cloud, Deutsche Börse says enabling buyers to select the provider and geographic location of their data allows for some differentiation. "It's the same with bananas. It is possible to agree on a price, without all the bananas looking the same," Michael Osterloh, a director of Cloud Exchange, told Reuters. But the marketplace, which follows in the footsteps of Amazon's EC2 Reserved Instance Marketplace and Enomaly-owned Spotcloud, may still face challenges. Technology compatibility is often an issue with marketplaces like this, pointed out IT World blogger Nancy Gohring. Meanwhile, enterprises typically don't turn to real-time exchanges for long-term contracts, meaning that demand will most likely come from local cloud providers in Europe, noted Forrester Research analyst Stefan Reid on ZDNet.

MIT researchers propose solution to cloud security loophole

Encryption is an integral part of securing cloud data, but it's no panacea. Data must be decrypted to be processed, and while it's promptly re-encrypted before being sent off-chip, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that brief window could enable hackers to gain access to a server's memory-access patterns and exploit a multi-tenant environment. MIT researchers have previously found that those patterns, in turn, can point attackers to cryptographic keys that unlock access to private data. But a new type of hardware component that MIT researchers described at a recent symposium may help close that loophole, the institute announced this week. The component, called Ascend, has not yet been built but would work by disguising those memory-access patterns, thus "making it impossible for an attacker to infer anything about the data being stored," according to an MIT press release. Ascend isn't the first design of its kind, but MIT professor Srini Devadas, whose group developed the proposed architecture, says it's the first that wouldn't significantly degrade server performance. 

Ovum: Telcos need to step up in cloud

Telecom companies across the globe have been quietly staking out a position in the cloud services market, but one expert says their showing at the recent Cloud World Forum in London was a reminder that they've been doing so a little too carefully. The biggest problem for telcos at the show wasn't that other types of service providers outnumbered them on the exhibit floor, noted David Molony, principal analyst at Ovum, writing for Ovum's StraightTalk blog. The larger issue is that there's been a "tentativeness" in how carriers market their cloud services, which has been compounded by the fact that they also haven't gotten many global enterprise customers to speak publicly about their deployments, he wrote. At least for the Tier 1 operators, Molony said there may be a valid reason for the time being: Many are holding off because they're still building their next-generation cloud platforms.

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