The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Edward Haletky

Edward Haletky
Edward HaletkyEdward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is the author of VMware vSphere(TM) and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment as well as VMware ESX and ESXi in the Enterprise: Planning Deployment of Virtualization Servers, 2nd Edition. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and The Virtualization Practice where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization. [All Papers/Publications...]

IO Virtualization Approaches: VMworld 2010 Review

There seem to be three styles of IO Virtualization (IOV) taking place within the virtual environment. At VMworld, the IO Virtualization companies were out and talking to people about their wares, products, and approaches to IO Virtualization. These three methods are:

* Converged Network Adapters used within Cisco UCS, HP Matrix, etc.
* Attached IOV top of rack devices such as the Xsigo Device
* PCIe Extenders

Each of these provide unique benefits to your virtual environment but which to use? First, we need to know what each of these approaches brings to the table.

Virtualization Security was one of the BIG Deals at VMworld with several announcements:

* VMware vShield Edge, App, and End Point
* Trend Micro will have the first product making use of vShield End Point
* Cisco Virtual Security Gateway (VSG)
* HyTrust and their growing list of technology partners

But the biggest news is that Virtualization Security is finally on the radar of most if not all C-level as it is now seen as the gate to entering the cloud. But before we can solve the cloud security issue we have to solve the virtualization security issues. VMware’s announcement has the most impact on the virtualization security ecosystem. At once they are competing head-to-head with some vendors while providing a platform to use for other vendors.

Nearly everyone I talked to at VMworld was buzzing in some form about Virtualization Security. Everyone has picked up on the pre-show buzz from VMware, Trend Micro, HyTrust, and every other security vendor. This week will tell. There are announcements about security, keynote sessions that include security, and more than a few sessions about security.

This is also arguably the first VMworld where there are a large number of Virtualization Security sessions and panels at VMworld that are not entirely from VMware. I find involving the industry as they have at this specific conference moves forward the entire virtualization security ecosystem.

With VMworld around the corner, it is interesting to note the new an old players within the Virtualization Backup space. The virtualization backup space often includes:

* VM Backup
* VM Replication
* Continuous Data Protection (CDP)
* Storage Hardware Replication

Pretty much anything that will maintain your VMs while allowing your data to be placed elsewhere for later retrieval; such a place could be the cloud. In this article we will avoid Storage Hardware Replication and discuss only backup software.

The Consolidated server stack has been the big items over the last year using converged network adapters, blades, and integrated storage that is designed around providing an order-able element that is a single SKU that provides enough resources for a set number of VMs. Currently the VCE colition has the VBlock which combines VMware, Cisco, and EMC products into a single stack. HP has its Matrix stack. But where is IBM’s and Dell’s stacks. Could the acquisition of 3Par be the beginning of a integrated stack play from Dell?

The Virtualization Security Podcast on 8/5 was all about VMware vShield Zones and how the currently beta version will provide defense in depth, be a lever to achieve Secure Multi-Tenancy, and its impact on the virtualization security echo system. Dean Coza, Director of Product Management for Security Products at VMware joined us to discuss the vShield Zones Beta which consists of 3 parts given names and a nameless third part that was hinted at and we shall see more about at VMworld.

In the End-to-End Virtualization Security Whitepaper we review various aspects of server security with an eye to determining how the products would work together to create a secure virtual environment. While some of these tools are cross-platform, the vast majority of them are geared specifically to VMware vSphere.

In this post we will look at Server Security, and we will follow-up with another post about Desktop Security? Are these very different? I believe so, desktops have daily, second by second user interactions. For desktops, one of the most important aspects is look and feel such as response time for actions. So things need to be as fast as possible. With Servers however, user interactions are limited and therefore have slightly different performance and security requirements. What may be acceptable for a server may not be acceptable for a desktop. So what do the tools provide for servers?

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the United States General Services Administration has approved the acquisition of some cloud services for use by the Federal Government including many of the Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, etc. Since these services are for sale as well as freely available this sounds more like an admission that they can be used. Will other governments follow suit? But should they be used? That is really the question.

There are two sides to any government, the classified and the unclassified. These are general terms that quantify how the government can use services. While all services require quite a bit of security, classified utilization requires even more, in many cases what most would consider to be “uber-security” requirements. The types of requirements that impact usability in some way. Can these tools provide adequate security?

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