When we think of the threat to a virtual environment or the cloud, what do we think about? First it is important to understand how the cloud is layered ontop of the virtual environment. Given a cloud stack, where are the entry points for SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and Cloud management? At the recent Minneapolis VMUG I attempted to relay that information to the attendees. Once we understood the layers we could then concentrate on the threat vectors to the cloud and virtual environment.
The Virtualization Disaster Avoidance & Backup space has change fairly significantly within the last year. These changes are cumulative but have a great impact on the virtualization ecosystem. I include Disaster Avoidance in this review as there have been some great strides made in this arena that could impact the entire environment. Disaster Avoidance technologies were demonstrated at EMC World 2010 as well as at other conferences throughout the year. The impact was quite huge, but there are technological hurdles involved with its deployment within any organization.
Virtualization Backup vendors have pushed the envelope once more targeting fast backup and fast recovery of data as well as ensuring that the backups actually work. Here is a list of this years improvements in this space.
My conference schedule kept pace with the changes in the virtualization security ecosystem through out the year. What are those changes? This is the end of year review of the virtualization security ecosystem.
In the last Virtualization Security Podcast on 12/16 we had with us James Urquhart who manages cloud computing infrastructure strategy for the Server Provider Systems Unit of Cisco Systems. Author of the popular C|NET Network blog, The Wisdom of Clouds. James shared with us some of his Wisdom over the hour. The discussion covered what is preventing people from Entry into the Cloud and why private and hybrid clouds are going to stick around for quite a while and are not a passing fad. We answered the question of why people are reluctant to enter the cloud.
WikiLeaks is the most serious social and political event of the emerging Cloud. It has remained alive through a “do-it-yourself” approach as the commercial Cloud was denied to it. When the dust settles, the Cloud may well emerge different, with the rights/obligations of Cloud Services providers clarified.
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I have been thinking about blades and virtualization security for some time spurred on by a conversation with Brad Hedlund six months ago. Nearly all my customers use Blades and virtualization security is a big concern to them. In my Rethinking vNetwork Security article, I touched on some of the issues in response to Brad’s comments a while back. I would like to now expand that discussion to blades.
There are three sets of blade enclosures I would like to discuss, those that use pass thru networking, those that use standard switching fabric within the enclosures, and those that use flexible interconnects such as HP Flex-10 and Cisco Palo adapters. The last is the so called physical-virtual network device.
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In the last Virtualization Security podcast on 12/2 we had with us members of the PCI DSS Virtualization Special Interest Group (SIG). Kurt Roemer of Citrix and Hemma Prafullchandra of HyTrust joined us to discuss the differences to the PCI DSS 2.0 with respect to virtualization. In essence, PCI DSS explicitly calls out the need to bring virtualization, people, and processes in scope.
As we discussed in a previous article, the PCI DSS 2.0 does not state exactly what needs to be assessed within the virtual environment, or even what part of the virtual environment is a concern of each aspect of the PCI DSS. What the PCI DSS 2.0 does do is change the language, however subtle, that technologies employing shared resources are now acceptable.
Many times we virtualization experts push for backups without the agents as these backups tend to be in our opinion, cleaner and faster. But what if you could get the benefits of your existing backup tools (such as Tivoli) but gain the power and advantages of using all the possibilities within the virtual environment. For VMware vSphere this is possible using the Pancetera backup tools.
The Virtualization Security Podcast on 11/2 was quite a change from our normal podcast. Instead of featuring a vendor as a guest panelist, Gurusimran S Khalsa (known as GS) joined us. Our topic was getting started with virtualization security with a real world twist.
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