It's a big week for cloud computing enthusiasts as both (NYSE: CRM) and VMware (NYSE: VMW) host big conferences. By Friday, we'll have heard about all sorts of new things we can do using just a browser.

But before we get to the new, VMware wants us thinking about the old. Chief Technology Officer Steve Herrod told the audience at the VMworld conference in Las Vegas that his company intended to reduce the "big security headache" created by file-sharing services such as Dropbox,, or even Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) SharePoint, according to the good techies at The Register.

Specifically, VMware is pitching a way to control how files get shared. Called "Project Octopus," the idea is to create a central storehouse for file sharing and eliminate user-controlled one-offs. Access lists would allow administrators to determine who sees and uses what, while an advanced tool would eliminate dormant files. (VMware surveys say 80% of corporate files are no longer accessed after two years.)

Give VMware credit for thinking ahead. While the rebellious nature of cloud computing means some will resist being reined in by Project Octopus' tentacles, there are risks to allowing corporate data to be accessed via uncontrolled third-party services. Giving IT tools to manage the chaos is likely to play well.

And yet VMware isn't just playing to the frowners at its confab. The Register says Herrod also teased a service called Project AppBlast, in which native apps can be fully accessed inside any HTML5 browser or compatible device.

Facebook must love this idea. So must Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Both companies are moving to disrupt competitors by putting more emphasis on HTML5 development. Add it up, and you've got what could be significant new catalysts for one of the cloud's central companies. Well done, VMware.

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