The Virtualization Practice

Virtualization Security

Virtualization Security focuses upon end-to-end security, integrity, auditability, and regulatory compliance for virtualization and clouds. Virtualization Security starts where the cloud and virtual environments begin: the end user computing device. ...
We follow the user through the virtual and cloud stacks until they reach the application the user wishes to use to retrieve the data that is important to them. Virtualization and cloud security is implemented where there is an intersection between user, data, and application while maintain strict control of management interfaces. As such virtualization security looks into all aspects of security devices, tools, controls, and guides that impact or can be used to secure virtual and cloud environments.

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Acquiring DynamicOps has kick-started VMware into a heterogeneous virtualization management strategy. This will be demonstrated in detail at VMworld this Fall. We now face a dramatically different virtualization landscape. The focus has now shifted to management – of business critical applications running on multiple virtualization platforms and potentially distributed across internal data centers and public clouds.

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VMware purchased Nicira, backed the Openflow Community, and is now touting software defined data centers (SDDC). But what is a software defined datacenter? Is it just virtualization or cloud with a software defined network? Or is it something more than that? Given heavy automation and scripting of most clouds, do we not already have SDDC? If not where are we going with this concept? What does SDN add to the mix?

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The 6/28 Virtualization Security Podcast we spoke about attacks, defense in depth, and compliance with Davi Ottenhiemer and Matt Wallace. Davi and Matt just published a book on how to defend your virtual environment against attack. Unlike other books, this approaches the problem from the point of view of well know attacks. It even gives examples of some of the more interesting attacks against any of the virtual environments, not just VMware vSphere. The discussion eventually found its way to even newer attacks and their impact on the environment.

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Storage Security is not only about Encryption, which is just one aspect of Storage Security requirements for the virtual and cloud environments. It is also about increasing defense in depth and knowledge of what is touching your storage environment. As well as providing security around those touch points and to a great extent auditing and protecting the data residing within the storage devices regardless of where the devices live: within the virtual environment or within a cloud.

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Dell buying Quest transforms the Virtualization Management market. Dell’s presence in the market, customer base, and market reach combined with its product set will put Dell in a strong position to compete not only with VMware, but also to create serious pain for IBM, HP, CA, and BMC. Furthermore, the opportunities to integrate the various Dell solutions look to be able accelerate private and public cloud adoption which will in turn benefit Dell’s core server and storage businesses.

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One year after announcing that he and XenSource co-founder Ian Pratt were leaving Citrix to launch Bromium with former Pheonix Technologies CTO Gaurav Banga; Simon Crosby was back at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco today to unveil Bromium’s micro-virtualization technology together with its plans to transform enterprise endpoint security.

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The 6/14 Virtualization Security Podcast we spoke about firewall placement within the virtual environment as well as storage based defense in depth. While we covered Encryption on the 5/31 podcast, in the 6/14 podcast we covered other measures when dealing with storage (which will be part of a followup post). This conversation was slightly different than all other firewall discussions, as it was about migrating from a physical environment to a virtual environment, and keeping the same firewall placements. Spurred by a customer, we sought to come to a set of guidelines to follow for defense in depth within the virtual as well as physical and hybrid cloud environments.

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The 5/31 Virtualization Security Podcast we spoke to High Cloud Security about encryption as a defense in depth, and where to place encryption within the virtual environment. This lead to an intriguing discussion about what is actually missing from current virtual environments when it comes to encryption. We can encrypt within each VM and we can encrypt within the networking fabric, as well as within the drives themselves, but currently that leaves several vulnerabilities and unencrypted locations that can be used as attack points. While we concentrated on vSphere, what we are discussing applies equally to all hypervisors.

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One of the decisions faced by anyone that wishes to have a cloud presence is what will be moved to the cloud, why, and whether or not there is a service that can be used instead of using virtual machines. Give The Virtualization Practice’s case, we plan on moving our customer facing VMs to the cloud, but what are those machines? The most important are a Web Server with a split LAMP stack, a Mail Server, and DNS.