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Category Archives: Security

Assess the Performance Impact of the Security Change in Transparent Page Sharing Behaviour

As VMware continues to use a “secure by default” policy, there are some up-coming security changes to the Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) memory mechanism you need to be aware of and should assess for potential performance impact.

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Partner Exchange 2015 – Best Practices for installing and upgrading vSphere and vSOM

If your attending Partner Exchange 2015 and are interested in planning installs and upgrades for the latest versions of vSphere and vSOM be sure and come check out my session, INF4268.

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Logging USB devices plugged into ESXi

 

I just found an interesting question on an internal message board here in VMware. A customer was wondering if it was possible to disable USB ports at the ESXi level. They are a very security conscience organization and they want to block any opportunity for someone internally with malicious intent to plug in a USB drive. Normally, this would be done at the BIOS level of the hardware but some device manufactures don’t implement that functionality.

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vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 Released

Today VMware released Update 2 of its vSphere management solution, vCenter Server. In this release there are updates to the supported database versions and many resolved known issues.

What’s New

  • vCenter Server database support: vCenter Server now supports the following external databases:
    • Oracle 12c. Important: For pre-requisite requirements, see KB 2079443.
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • vCloud Hybrid Service: The vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) introduces a new container, Hybrid Cloud Service, on the vSphere Web Client home page. The Hybrid Cloud Service container contains the vCHS installer and the new vCloud Connector installer.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The vSphere customer experience improvement program is introduced to collect configuration data for vSphere and transmit weekly to VMware for analysis in understanding the usage and improving the product. For more details, see the vSphere Documentation Center.

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SDDC Reference Architecture

I’m pleased to announce the first in a series of reference architectures is now available.

This reference architecture showcases the integrations between VMware vCloud® Suite Enterprise, VMware NSX for vSphere®, and VMware vCenter Log Insight to create an on-demand infrastructure with a secure networking environment. It is based on real-world scenarios, user workloads, and infrastructure system configurations. It uses industry-standard servers, IP-based storage, and 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking to support a scalable and redundant architecture based on vCloud Suite Enterprise version 5.5.

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SSH keys when using Lockdown Mode – A 5.x Hardening Guide update

Hi,

I was informed today that there is a behavior in the 5.1 through 5.5 Update 1 Hardening Guides that is incorrectly documented.

The two affected guidelines are:

  • ESXi.enable-lockdown-mode
  • ESXi.remove-authorized-keys

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vSphere IAAS Interoperability: Virtual SAN, NSX, OpenStack

VSAN-NSX-OpenStackJust in time and right before everyone is off on a long 4th of July weekend here in the good old U.S. of A, I wanted to share a integration demo that I’ve been holding for some time now. Hopefully everyone can see the fireworks delivered by the demo as well.

In this demonstration we’re showcasing the advanced IAAS features and deep integration of vSphere with Virtual SAN, and NSX using Openstack as the Cloud Management Portal for a multi tenant IAAS platform.  To prove our point here, this is not just some isolated lab environment, this is a real environment running today and its leveraging currently available technologies.

The  environment utilized in this demonstration is actually the NSBU internal cloud which has over 200 environment as a mix of KVM and vSphere.  Virtual SAN is used for all vSphere data stores and NSX is used for all tenant connectivity with OpenStack providing a scalable and secure multi-tenant, multi-hypervisor environment.

This demonstration showcases the agility and flexibility of the integration capabilities of vSphere, NSX and Virtual SAN.  In the demonstration we rapidly standup of a two tier ‘application’ and demonstrate the connectivity between all elements of the virtual machines providing the applications.

When complete, all instances, networks and routers are decommissioned and the tenant is returned to an ‘empty state’.  The whole process takes less than 10 minutes (as can be seen in the instance uptime section in the horizon UI).

vSphere Hardening Guide 5.5 Update 1 Released!

I’m happy to announce the general availability of the vSphere Hardening Guide for vSphere 5.5 Update 1. This has been a work in progress for a little while now and I’m glad to get it out there!

There are 4 new additions to the guide. Please review.

  1. enable-VGA-Only-Mode: Used for server VM’s that don’t need a graphical console. e.g. Linux web servers, Windows Core, etc.
  2. disable-non-essential-3D-features: Remove 3D graphic capabilities from VM’s that don’t need them.
  3. use-unique-roles: A new companion control to use-service-accounts. If you have multiple service accounts then each one should have a unique role with just enough privs to accomplish their task. This is in line with least-priv operations
  4. change-sso-admin-password: A great catch. When installing Windows vCenter, you’re prompted to change the password of administrator@vsphere.local. When installing the VCSA in a default manner you are not. This control reminds you to go back and do that.

The rest are formatting, spelling, clarification, etc.. One interesting change is the “enable-nfc-ssl” control. That has been renamed to “verify-nfc-ssl” now that SSL is enabled by default in 5.5 for NFC traffic. All of the changes are called out in the Change Log.

I’d like to thank the many customers and internal folks who have contributed and pointed out the errors that needed correcting. It’s great to have so many folks that are willing to pitch in!

Head on over to the vSphere Hardening Guide page to grab your copy now!

Thanks and please feel free to contact me on Twitter at @vspheresecurity or email to mfoley at vmware.com if you have any input you’d like to share.

Enjoy!

mike

Does Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) Affect Performance?

YES!

Now that I’ve scared you, lets take a look at these use cases.

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vSphere Hardening Guide 5.5 Update 1 Beta 2 released

After a lot of great feedback from the community, here’s Beta 2.1 of the vSphere Hardening Guide for vSphere 5.5 Update 1.

There were some editing mishaps (cut off cells in the Excel sheet) that have been fixed since the Beta 1 release.

Also, all the *-no-self-signed-certs guidelines have been updated to be more in line with the contents in the ESX Security Whitepaper.

You can get the Beta 2.1 of the guide from the Security and Compliance Community.

The goal is to release this updated Hardening Guide the 1st week of June.

Thanks for all the great feedback. I look forward to getting more!

If you want to keep it private, send me email. mfoley at vmware dot com. I’ll return your emails as quickly as I can.

mike