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.

Podio Released. Does the social work platform herald the beginning-of-the-end of desktops?

Podio offers a service that can be readily set-up, customised and deployed: with little IT knowledge – or IT service interaction. You create a workspace, you add applications to that workspace, you invite members of your team (regardless of the fact that your team may extend beyond your organisation) and you start working. if there were more Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings such as Podio available, would they negate the need for Desktop as a Service (DaaS)? Podio is likely a game changing environment for collaboration environments, but the rise of such services is likely to have a far wider impact in providing desktop services.

It has been just over two years that the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) was announced and released to the world. I wanted to give my feedback on the progress of the platform and how it is fitting into the Cloud Computing space.

When Cisco announced their Unified Computing Platform a couple of years ago, the thinking was not to just design and get into the server business, Cisco’s goal was to and become the heart of the datacenter itself. This was a big move by Cisco considering, that they had a very good working relationship and partnership with HP well, at least until the announcement that Cisco was getting into the server business.

There were two announcements over the last few days that struck me as quite important to the virtualization community. While some may question this statement, the long reaching effects of these purchases will impact virtualization and cloud computing in not so distant future. In fact, these purchases could add a whole new layer to vSphere as we know it today. Which for VMware is a good thing. They need to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the pack. The purchases I talk about are:

VMware purchasing/taking over control of EMC Mozy
RSA purchasing NetWitness

Managing licensing and utilization costs is a mess today in the physical world. Introducing elastic scaling of workloads into a hybrid private/public cloud introduces new uncertainties and new software licensing metering and compliance issues. This is particularly true in the case of enterprise applications which are licensed by the enterprise from the software vendor and then deployed on an as needed basis on Iaas or PaaS clouds.

A change to the Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) bundle is a rare event – the last time it happened was about 10 years ago; so any change to the CAL bundle has to be seen as a significant indicator of Microsoft’s core values. Or so you would think. Assuming that is right, last week’s announcement at the Microsoft Management Summit of changes to the Core and Enterprise CAL bundles need careful analysis. Changes to the CAL are a strategic driver towards new product adoption and represents a clear indication of Microsoft’s long-term goals and aspirations. With that in mind we can infer from this latest change how Microsoft views desktop virtualization.

With the diversity of cloud’s available today, data being sent from one to another could appear to be a hodge-podge of security. As one colleague put it recently when I asked what he was expecting to maintain integrity of data in motion between clouds:

“… what kind of kludge can things end up being when you have multiple connections to multiple hybrid clouds all doing different things” — Steve Beaver

So how does data transfer between the clouds? Is it a kludge? or can it be done using a uniform security policy, procedures, and protocols while maintaining Integrity and Confidentiality and auditability?

vSphere Client for the iPad

The VMware Community Roundtable, which is recorded every Wednesday, has been available for download from iTunes for the last couple of years or about as long has the podcast has been presented on TalkShoe.com. Other than the community podcast and The Virtualization Security Podcast there have not really been too many other things available on iTunes for VMware technologies or products. You could find a VCP study guide, VCP Exam Cram from Pearson Education and some other third party tools to control VMware vCenter from your iPhone and/or iPad. Within the last couple of years there have been hundreds if not thousands of iPads that have been given away at the different technology conferences and the sneak peak from VMware at these conferences, on the iPad application that they are working on, it was just a matter of time and that time has come with VMware releasing the VMware View for iPad and the VMware vSphere Client for the iPad.

Security as a Service: Is it Safe?

Last week I spoke with two different Security as a Service vendors, each with their own approaches to security as a service. The first company I spoke to was CloudPassage who just exited stealth mode in time for RSA Conference, and Zscaler who is a well known company. Both provide Security as a Service with a similar approach by a different design. Both make use of large grids or computers to do all the heavy lifting of security, but from there they differ completely. While there is some overlap in the products, the different designs show us multiple ways to implement Security as a Service.

I just finished reading, yet another Multi-Tenancy Design/Overview that claims to be secure or trusted. While I will agree that this particular design does cover Availability and some GRC (Governance, Regulatory, and Compliance) it is severely lacking in Integrity and Confidentiality. The design even went as far as saying the cloud/virtual administrator requires “COMPLETE VISIBILITY.” I was really taken aback by those words. Why does an administrator need ‘COMPLETE VISIBILITY?’ Which leads me to the question is Integrity and Confidentiality possible within any cloud or virtual environment? Or is it purely based on TRUST?

If so this is an appalling state of virtual and cloud environment security.