On 9/8 was held the Virtualization Security Podcast featuring Phil Cox, Director of Security and Compliance at RightScale, to discuss the impact of and need for automation of cloud security. Given that we create clouds by automating deployment of workloads we also need to automate the security of those workloads during the same deployment. This podcast delves into that need, and touches on where over automation is also a problem.
“The latest challenge on the security front isn’t necessarily an exotic new threat vector: it’s the attackers themselves. They’re organized, well-resourced and patient. And there’s no silver technology bullet to effectively combat them.”
This is a very important point, and one that I have seen at other security conferences for the last 5 years or so. However, attacks are possible because there is a lack of confidentiality and integrity of the data held within the systems under attack. So the system becomes the week point.
The week before VMworld on 8/25 was the Virtualization Security Podcast featuring Greg Ferro (@etherealmind), CCIE to discuss Cisco VM-FEX and its impact on virtualization and cloud security. VM-FEX is a method by which the fabric of a UCS top of rack switch is extended to the VM, but only if the VM is using VMDirectPath. So does this impact Virtualization and Cloud Security in any way?
If there was one thing I saw and heard about at VMworld, was the number of third party collaborations that were taking place. While not explicitly stated by VMware at VMworld, the show floor had many different collaborations that were taking place. This level of collaboration shows a level of maturity within the virtualization and cloud vendor ecosystems. A maturity, that shows that the vendors understand the benefits of leveraging other companies to lower their overall costs while producing better and more attractive products. Some of the collaborations I saw where purely the resale of products, while others were integrations between products.
My pilgrimage from VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas has come to an end. In my humble opinion, this has been the week for the storage side of things with some amazing and interesting new stuff that has been released or is about to be released. There has been some really cool stuff that is working with SSD and storage.
VMware announced a loosely coupled group of vCloud providers that will use vCloud Connector to loosely couple their clouds, so that VMs can move from vCloud to vCloud without requiring you to renegotiate pricing, capability, and functionality with multiple cloud vendors, just your local one. This announcement is intriguing in that it is a move to push the cloud into the global space, but also fraught with peril if not done correctly.
In an interesting move, VMware acquired PacketMotion late on friday just before VMworld which could lead to some intriguing statements during the show. Packet Motion is a hybird physical and virtual set of security appliances, where the virtual appliances generally talk to the physical components which do the heavy lifting. Yet this does not fit VMware’s vShield products line-up, or has VMware finally realized it also needs to consider physical security?
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Choosing a Private Cloud platform involves trading off the scale of the environment, the types of applications running on the environment and compatibility with public cloud platforms with each other. VMware, DynamicOps, Gale Technologies, Abiquo, Platform Computing and Cisco offer the most compelling enterprise focused production application platforms. However other use cases and markets are best handled by other vendors.
More and more is coming out about the attack from a MacDonald’s that left an organization crippled for a bit of time. The final tally was that the recently fired employee was able to delete 15 VMs before either being caught or he gave up. On twitter, it was commented that the administrator must not have been a powershell programmer because in the time it takes to delete 15 VMs by hand, a powershell script could have removed 100s. Or perhaps the ‘Bad Actor’ was trying to not be discovered. In either case, this has prompted discussions across the twitter-sphere, blog-sphere, and within organizations about how to secure from such attacks.