Red Lambda eyes way to crack cloud provider complexity

News Miya Knights Sep 29, 2011

New IT security and monitoring software platform is designed to manage cloud services data

Software firm Red Lambda has today announced an early release programme for its new  MetaGrid security and operational intelligence software platform.

Powered by the company’s AppIron grid computing platform, MetaGrid is designed to unify operational silos and situational awareness, visualise and analyse network security and operational anomalies, and automate IT operations across so-called 'Big Data' environments, like those of cloud services providers.

The company said MetaGrid's first four (unnamed) customers currently deployed under the early release programme work in network and cloud infrastructure, social web, and government contractor arenas. Although these early adopters operate in different industries, they all face the same challenge of handling and making sense of unprecedented data volumes and mitigating increased security risks the faster the data grows.

"Security, as is most aspects of IT operations, has been a Big Data problem for years,” stated Robert Bird, Red Lambda’s founder and chief technology officer. Bird added that AppIron and MetaGrid take advantage of scalable grid computing, relational stream processing and breakthrough artificial intelligence (AI) to create a unified solution "that transcends the capabilities of conventional approaches and delivers true situational awareness”.

MetaGrid uses AppIron’s grid architecture and GridStream relational stream processing to shift computation power to the data, where Lambda said centralised and appliance-based solutions are falling short in their ability to process petabytes of daily operational data. This could result in the siloing or exclusion of salient operational data is in order to reduce the load and 'backhaul' requirements.

Similarly, it said that collecting more data without better visualisation and analysis can leave security operations teams overwhelmed rather than informed. Today’s signature-based analytics only look for threats that are known or anticipated. But MetaGrid introduces Red Lambda's patent-pending Neural Foam knowledge discovery analytics to answer this problem.

Based on a "lifelong-learning" neural network algorithm that can analyse and reduce billions of data records on-the-fly into a manageable set of clusters, Neural Foam analytics can be used to provide bit-level universal anomaly detection on a timescale that the firm said could be as long as years in duration. In this way it can increase IT operations effectiveness by reducing the scope of discovery of threat anomalies and false positives.

MetaGrid also includes incident management and a workflow and autonomics engine to automate threat notification, response, mitigation and remediation actions and speed time to action and resolution.

IDC’s 2011 Digital Universe Study forecasts that data creation and storage will reach 1.8 zettabytes (trillion gigabytes) this year and grow to 35 zettabytes by the end of the decade. Moreover, it said 80 percent of this data will traverse enterprise IT systems at some point during its lifecycle as structured and unstructured data that comes from or affects the IT infrastructure.

“The data explosion is just as real in IT as elsewhere," said Scott Crawford, managing research director for analyst Enterprise Management Associates. And he said 'Big Data' presents new IT challenges, and opportunities, which MetaGrid is targeting.

“Much more information is available than ever before that can help organisations identify previously unrecognised threats, sharpen defenses and acquire the awareness needed to develop more effective risk management programmes and improve IT efficiency.,” Crawford added.