The Virtualization Practice

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing focuses upon how to construct, secure, manage, monitor and use public IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS clouds. Major areas of focus include barriers to cloud adoption, progress on the part of cloud vendors in removing those barriers, where the line of responsibility is drawn between the cloud vendor and the customer for each of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS clouds, ...
as well as the management tools that are essential to deploy in the cloud, ensure security in the cloud and ensure the performance of applications running in the cloud. Covered vendors include Amazon, VMware, AFORE, CloudSidekick, CloudPhysics, ElasticBox, Hotlink, New Relic, Prelert, Puppet Labs and Virtustream.

As business critical applications move into production virtualized environments, the need arises to ensure their performance from a response time perspective. Legacy Applications Performance Management tools are in many cases not well suited to make the jump from static physical systems, to dynamic virtual and cloud based systems. For these reasons enterprises need to consider new tools from vendors that have virtualization aware and cloud aware features in their APM solutions. Vendors like AppDynamics, BlueStripe, Corellsense, ExtraHop Networks, dynatrace, New Relic, and VMware (vFabric APM) are currently leading this race to redefine the market for APM solutions.

I and others look at Virtualization Security constructs with an eye towards Cloud Security, but they are not necessarily the same. Granted for some clouds, virtualization security can lead to cloud security but this really depends on how the cloud’s architecture. Even so, what we know from Virtualization Security WILL apply to Cloud Security and will be the basis for best practices. But you say, my cloud does not use Virtualizaiton? Ah ha, I say, but it is still a cloud? And that implies there are similar security concerns. This was the discussion on the 1/26 Virtualization Security Podcast.

Step back to Citrix CEO Mark Templeton’s keynote at Citrix Synergy in San Francisco and you would have heard him talk of “The Three Cs – the Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Personal Cloud.” Hang on a moment, “Personal Cloud” what’s that? For years Citrix used to talk about “any any any” and it did a pretty good job of delivering it provided any was restricted to meaning any Windows app. Now though, Citrix is wanting us to believe that it has moved past any app and extending that to anything digital.

News: VMware vCenter Operations Suite 5.0 Now Available

The delivery of vCenter Operations 5.0 to the market by VMware represents several important milestones in Operations Management for virtualized environments. The tight integration with vSphere and the integration of the Integrien analytics with real time configuration change detection and application mapping put a nail in the coffin of legacy solutions that rely upon periodically updated CMDB’s to understand the environment. The integration of performance, capacity, configuration, and application discovery first into a bundle and later into a full suite will put pressure on many vendors of point solution. However the biggest question remains the viability of a management strategy focused just upon vSphere, when every other vendor (including Microsoft) is taking a more open and cross-platform approach.

When you read many blogs and articles on cloud security, writers such as myself often mention jurisdictional issues as a big problem. Nor is the ability to Audit clouds the only problem. Yet both of these are huge issues for clouds today, but fundamentally, is the cloud flawed from a security point of view or are there plenty of security mechanisms available?

One of the questions I get from time to time is, can I store my data in the cloud? At the NEVMUG, this came up once more. There is currently a lot of uncertainty about cloud storage, specifically when it comes to critical and highly regulated data. Where should I store my data, dovetails nicely with discussions of going to the cloud as well as data protection is a key component of such a migration.

The answer is to dramatically narrow the scope and set of enforcement actions for SOPA and PIPA so that they target just offshore sites engaged in large scale commercial piracy and so that the existing safe harbor for sites that take content from users is both maintained and formally recognized as an exception to the scope of SOPA and PIPA. This will ensure that law enforcement can go after the really bad actors, and that the many good and useful sites and are the basis of the “good Internet” are not collateral damage in these enforcement efforts.

I was discussing yesterday how to use virtualization and cloud performance management tools as an early warning system for security issues. I have touched on use of New Relic, VMware vFabric APM, Quest vFoglight, and other tools that can make up such a early warning system before, but without the proper process in place, the tools will not be good enough.

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year the Virtualization Security Podcast featured two very different guest panelists to discuss cloud security, policy, and compliance: Phil Cox, Director of Security and Compliance at RightScale, joined us for the last podcast in 2011 and the George Gerchow of VMware’s Policy and Compliance Group, joined us for the first podcast of 2012. We asked is the public cloud ready for mission critical applications. The answer was surprising. Have a listen and let us know your thoughts.