The Virtualization Practice

During the Virtualization Security Podcast on 6/22, Steve Orrin of Intel and Dennis Morreau of RSA joined us to discuss the impact of Intel Westmere chips built-in Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) on Cloud and Virtualization Security. TPM is not all that new, but TXT’s usage in virtualization security is new. Both together can form a hardware root of trust for the virtual environment.

At the moment however, these technologies are limited to just providing a secure launch of a well known hypervisor within the hardware. As such they have not been extended to the virtual machine. TXT however solves a very important issue that at the time the book VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security was written had theoretical solutions, I speak of Blue Pill style attacks. There were rumors of Hyperguard or Guard Hype tools becoming available, but they are only research projects. TXT on the other hand, offers protection from Blue Pill style attacks.

Virtualizing Business Critical Apps – The Value of Real Time SAN Data

Supporting Tier 1 applications on VMware vSphere requires real time and granular response time and latency instrumentation of the virtual and physical infrastructure. Virtual Instruments Virtual Wisdom complements the instrumentation provided by VMware by providing individual transaction level visibility into the SAN layer of the virtual infrastructure.

There is a cardinal rule that we should all know about, especially for those of us who have spent a lot of time developing kickstart scripts for automated builds of the VMware hosts in your environment, that you do not use windows word editors like Notepad or WordPad when working with Linux files. If you use notepad to edit Linux files it will add unwanted line feeds (LF) to the file which may cause the file to be misinterpreted. If you must use Microsoft Windows as your client OS use Microsoft WordPad which does not modify the file in this way.

There is nothing like fully understanding the protections inherent within your vNetwork and the Roles and Permissions you can set within the virtualization management tool suites to ensure your vNetwork is secured, audited, and monitored for issues. Just like you do now within the pNetwork. Unlike the pNetwork, the vNetwork provides a certain amount of introspection and capability that is missing from a pNetwork, and this will also help with security.

VMware has already demonstrated a penchant for using open source technologies to fundamentally disrupt the value propositions for the products from competing vendors in the systems software and applications platform businesses. This has put the operating systems businesses at Microsoft and Red Hat, and the applications platform businesses at Microsoft, Red Hat, IBM and Oracle under pressure, by providing a cost effective and fully functional alternative to the traditional licensed software models of these companies. It is entirely possible that VMware will pursue the same approach in the management software industry thereby disrupting the business models and product positions of CA, IBM/Tivoli, HP, BMC as well as many of the vendors currently in the VMware ecosystem.

We’ve been following Eucalyptus over a series of posts, and recently seen the company strengthen its management team with the appointment of new CEO Marten Mickos the (only) ex-CEO of MySQL. This week they have released a new version of the Eucalyptus product, Version 2.0. which carries some of his strategy, particularly in putting clear water between the Open Source and the Enterprise version of the product.

There is a great deal of marketing hype about which hypervisor is better but I have spent some thinking about this and really have to wonder if the hypervisor is what we should really be focusing or concentrating on. A lot of third party vendors are starting to port their products to be able to work with both hypervisors but what about the management server itself? When third party application vendors design their applications to work with VMware or Microsoft hypervisors they have been writing plug-ins for their product to work inside the management server systems and or its client.