STASH consortium- using a mainframe to manage and secure PC applications

Bringing together a smart thin-client and a mainframe-based, highly secure, well managed, virtualized industry standard system environment is the goal of this consortium. Customers needing military grade security while deploying popular PC applications ought to take notice.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

IBM, Intellinix, VICOM Infinity, CSI International and Raytheon Trusted Computing Solutions have banded together to offer a highly secure, highly efficient way to deliver desktop applications to smart thin clients. They're calling this group the STASH Consortium. STASH, by the way, is an acronym for "Smart Terminal Architecture in a Secure Hosting environment."

Unfortunataly, this acronym also appears to be something developed by a committee first and then the appropriate words were selected later.

Here's what each of the consortium members are doing:

  • Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions is delivering its Trusted Thin Client software that is widely deployed across hundreds of thousands of U.S. military , intelligence agencies, and other government desktops.
  • IBM is providing a secure and resilient hosting environment for desktops within its zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension zBX/VM
  • CSL International is providing its CSL-WAVE to easily manage virtual machines using a graphical interface which is designed to make mainframe systems usable to IT staff who have “non-mainframe” skills.
  • Intellinx’s zWatch provides user activity monitoring for fraud management.
  • Vicom Infinity brings a variety of simplification software and experience with many of the world’s largest financial organizations.

Snapshot analysis

Thin client computing, regardless of whether it is focused on accessing applications running on a remote physical, virtual or cloud-based server, offers a number of benefits in the area of reducing the overall costs of administration, operations and the like while still making popular PC applications available to the user population. The issue is that these solutions are no more secure than the underlying components.

Financial, government and military organizations need systems that meet very high levels of security and control. Many off-the-shelf operating systems, application frameworks, management tools and hardware platforms just can't live up to their expectations and requirements.

The members of the consortium banded together to bring the pieces of a very secure, highly managable platform together to deliver to these customers.

The solution is based upon a highly secure desktop thin-client platform combined with a number of software products and a mainframe-managed, virtualized, industry standard server environment. The consortium's approach is designed to meet very stringent security standards from the access device all the way back to the server.

I'm not going to review all of the standards this solution meets or the number of tests this configuration has passed. It is a very long list.

The target audience, customers who have existing mainframes and a desire to reduce the overall cost of deploying desktop systems while also bringing them up to the levels of security currently enjoyed by mainframe applications, would be wise to look into what this consortium is offering.

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