Re: Cloud? Firewall?

Subject: Re: Cloud? Firewall?
From: Kelly Hoffman <kelly -at- NASHUA -dot- HP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 10:35:42 -0500

Margaret Knox <KnoxML1 -at- TEOMAIL -dot- JHUAPL -dot- EDU> writes:

[quoting some conference proceedings]
> Consumer Internet--the cloud of computers connected to the
> Internet through a firewall. These can access all Internet
> services, but, except for mail, cannot supply them.
>
> Is *cloud* of computers standard computer terminlogy? Does it mean
> a bunch of computers? What is a *firewall* in this context?

Can't say I've heard the "cloud of computers" metaphor before. I'd be
rather surprised if it can be characterized as "standard computer
terminology."

As for "firewall," in the context you quoted, I'd be inclined to use
"gateway" instead. Whatever the term, the description "except for
mail, cannot supply them" is wrong -- for either gateways or
firewalls. (To be kind, let's say it's "simplified to the point of
inaccuracy." What were those rules of tech writing again? ;-)

A *gateway* connects two or more networks, usually dissimilar, and
performs necessary translation between them. For example, BITNET and
the Internet are connected by several gateways. When someone on BITNET
sends email to an Internet address, the gateway translates from the
BITNET mail format to the Internet mail format. Similar gateways
connect CompuServe and AOL to the Internet; these gateways allow for
access to mail and other resources, like Usenet news.

A *firewall*, on the other hand, is "a collection of components (not
necessarily a single computer, although a single computer is not an
uncommon configuration) that protects your company's internal networks
from attacks from the Internet. A firewall acts as a choke-point
through which all traffic to and from the Internet must pass; it
determines which types of traffic are allowed between the Internet and
the internal network, which types are not, and in which directions a
given type of traffic may flow. A firewall makes it easier to protect
internal networks, as it represents a single point of exposure - a
single machine can be secured more easily than an entire network, and
having all traffic pass through a single point makes it easy to
maintain audit trails of traffic to and from the Internet."

This quote is from a 2-part article on firewalls by Jonathon Hue
<hue -at- island -dot- com>, published in the TidBITS electronic newsletter,
produced by Adam & Tonya Engst. See issues 246 & 247 at these URLs:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/pages/TidBITS/issues/TidBITS-246.html
http://www.dartmouth.edu/pages/TidBITS/issues/TidBITS-247.html

For information on TidBITS, including how to get copies via email and
ftp, send a message to info -at- tidbits -dot- com -dot-

Cheers,

kkh

--
Kelly K. Hoffman Hewlett-Packard, Network Test Division, Nashua, NH
kelly -at- nashua -dot- hp -dot- com "Reading the manual is admitting defeat."


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