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.

VirtualizationBackup

During a briefing of Quest’s new data protection announcements I started to think about the future of data protection. Quest recently announced that NetVault will now work with Exagrid devices and that there is now a Capacity Edition targeting SMBs and SMEs. These changes add some more capabilities to an existing product suite. While, these announcements do not necessarily merge with virtualization backup, the combination of Quest’s tools and partnerships do form an impressive view of the future with respect to Data Protection.

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VMware prices and licenses its products today along a set of models that are not optimized for either pure market penetration (like Microsoft) or pure extraction of the maximum cash from each customer (like Oracle). These policies will likely ensure that VMware continues to dominate the high end of the market – especially in enterprise accounts, but that VMware will leave itself open to being eaten from below by Microsoft Hyper-V (especially in Windows only SMB/SME accounts). The long term answer to how VMware positions itself with respect to price and value in the marketplace will likely come from vFabric and Cloud Foundry, as both of these products are crucial to the long term strategic position of VMware in the market – and also will rely upon aggressive third party support to succeed.

Application Security within the Virtual and Cloud Environments

Virtualization and Cloud Security architects, pundits, and writers like myself often talk about protecting the data within the virtual and cloud environments. However, in order to protect that data we need to be able to determine how the data will be used, accessed, modified, and eventually removed. So, how can we understand data security without understanding the application around it. But there is an even more fundamental problem, how do we define the application and the security measures we should take?

HP Delivers High Performance and Security to Thin Client Line

As Virtual Desktops become standard components of the entire desktop environment there are increasing demands on the end point devices to provide the performance of legacy desktop computers they are replacing. Devices with more memory, faster processors and expandable peripheral device support are quickly replacing the utility devices most associated with thin clients. On Monday February 13, 2012 HP announced the release a new class of thin client devices that are designed to address the end user performance needs and adds security architecture to combat increasing security threats.

The 2/9 Virtualization Security Podcast was a discussion on when would one use a virtual firewall. This was in response to being told that there are some people that would never use a virtual firewall for anything, and that got me thinking. Outside of the politics involved with using virtual vs physical firewalls, when would you use one? What are the cut offs, and best practices around using virtual firewalls. We were joined by Rob Randell of VMware to discuss this point.

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.

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?

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.