The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Forensics

Centralized RBAC Missing from Virtualization Management Tools

As a delegate for Tech Field Day 6 in Boston, I was introduced to several virtualization and performance management tools from vKernel, NetApp, Solarwinds, Embotics, and a company still in stealth mode. With all these tools and products I noticed that each were not integrated into the roles and permissions of the underlying hypervisor management servers such as VMware vCenter, Citrix XenConsole, or Microsoft System Center. This lack of integration implies that a user with one set of authorizations just needs to switch tools to gain a greater or even lesser set of authorizations. This is not a good security posture and in fact could devolve any security to non-existent.

Chad Sakac mentions on his blog that VNXe “uses a completely homegrown EMC innovation (C4LX and CSX) to virtualize, encapsulate whole kernels and other multiple high performance storage services into a tight, integrated package.” Well this has gotten me to thinking about other uses of VNXe. If EMC could manage to “refactor” or encapsulate a few more technologies, I think we have the makings of a killer virtualization security appliance. Why would a storage appliance spur on thinking about virtualization security?

During the last Virtualization Security Podcast, our guest had to postpone so we discussed to several interesting topics all related to Digital Forensics and how encryption would best work within the virtual environment. Our very own Michael Berman, in a previous life was a forensic investigator and had some great insights into the problem of digital forensic within the virtual environment.

Since coming out with VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment, I have continued to consider aspects of Digital Forensics and how current methodologies would be impacted by the cloud. My use case for this is 40,000 VMs with 512 Servers and roughly 1000 tenants. What I would consider a medium size fully functioning cloud built upon virtualization technology where the environment is agile. The cloud would furthermore contain roughly 64TBs of disk across multiple storage technologies and 48TBs of memory. Now if you do not think this exists today, you were not at VMworld 2009, where such a monster was the datacenter for the entire show and existed just as you came down the escalators to the keynote session.

There are two key features missing from Virtualization and Cloud Computing. Those are auditing and forensics. The A6 project aims to fix this problem for auditing, but there is only some research into forensics. The issue is about discovering who did what when, where, how, and hopefully why. Auditing plays into this for Compliancy but also for forensics. Forensics has two major components in its arsenal: Audit Trails, and Disk Images.

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