The PostgreSQL community announced last week that an important security update will be released on April 4, 2013. This release will include a fix for a high-exposure security vulnerability and all users are strongly urged to apply the update as soon as it is available. Knowing how disruptive urgent security updates can be to IT and developers, the PostgreSQL community issued advanced warning in the hopes that it would ease the impact to day-to-day operations while helping as many companies as possible to adopt the update quickly.
As such, we would like to take the time to remind us all how important these security updates are to your business, and how to apply them most efficiently for vFabric Postgres.
The Cost of Missing Security Updates
Maintenance and security software updates are essential in extending application longevity as well as in keeping the confidence of customers who use services based on the application.
When big data disasters hit, the impacts quickly move beyond financial and affect reputation and trust. Databases are a particular area of concern. A recent article titled, “Making Database Security Your No. 1 2013 Resolution,” cited a Verizon study that showed only 10 percent of total security spend goes into database protection, while 92 percent of stolen data comes out of databases.
According to the seventh annual U.S. Cost of a Data Breach report from Ponemon Institute, the cost of an average data breach was $5.5M in 2011 or $194 per record. While $5.5M may not sound like a lot to some companies, losing one million records at a cost of $194 per record adds up. Continue reading →
First, to see what we are talking about, it would be helpful to login to your vFabric Postgres VM. vPostgres supports SSL by default (see last weeks post on securing your vPostgres deployment for more security tips). Therefore, it is pretty easy to connect to a server and set things up inside for those who really want to personalize things at a very low level (like pg_bha.conf for connection restrictions). After the first initialization, you can connect either as user postgres or root with the same password you used at first boot.
As with every other system, it is never really recommended to connect with the user root for security reasons. By connecting with user postgres you will find the following things once connected. Continue reading →
Especially in today’s world, security is top of mind for app developers, DBAs, and CIOs alike. One of the benefits that VMware strives to include in every product is a system of reasonable defaults for security. This generally means that users should expect a reasonably secure middleware application when they deploy a VMware app by default.
vFabric Postgres (vPostgres) is no different. There are not that many security settings in vFabric Postgres. However, there are a few things you can look at as options to further harden your deployment, and of course, the virtual machine that you are deploying them on, particularly if it is exposed to an external environment.
SSL Connection Restrictions
vFabric Postgres has as default users postgres and root, and both can connect to the virtual machine with SSL. If you want to restrict access to the virtual machine for certain users or a group of users, here is some advice to follow:
1. In order to restrict SSL connection only to the members of the group vFabric (the user postgres is a member of this group by default), add this line at in /etc/ssh/sshd_config.
The vFabric Postgres 9.2 release seriously upped the user interface (UI) experience. In our post last week, we talked about the built in, VM-based GUI to help manage the system, network, and updates. This week, we’d like to take you through the changes your DBAs and developers will see when using the updated database server—listing the databases on the server, seeing database global data, and drilling into processes and locks. All of this comes out of the box with the vFabric Postgres appliance.
Connecting to the Database Management Interface
Once your vFabric Postgres server is up and running, you can connect to its database management interface using this URL in a web browser. The connection is made with https, port 8443 at the IP address or domain for the server: Continue reading →
In part one of this two-part series on vFabric Postgres user interfaces, we look at the built-in GUI capabilities within the VM of the latest release—vFabric Postgres 9.2. Based on VMware Studio, vFabric Postgres 9.2 uses an instinctive user interface to fully control the behavior of the database virtual machine and allows you to perform basic tasks that are normally associated with an OS. In part 2, we will cover the key features of the database server’s new GUI and explain how to get overview-level information and see both processes and locks. Continue reading →
In a nutshell, dynamic memory management in vFabric Postgres is conceptually like Elastic Memory for Java (EM4J), but for a virtualized, enterprise-class, open source database instead of an application server.
Compared to a normal PostgreSQL server, vFabric Postgres brings two additions necessary for flexible virtualization of the database server. These two features can help companies realize the benefits of virtualizing the database and the associated cost savings from running an open source database on an extremely cost-effective infrastructure.
Elastic shared memory management
Automatic memory configuration
Elastic Shared Memory Management
Directly embedded with PostgreSQL core, the elastic shared memory management is a new feature of vFabric Postgres. This capability allows memory to be released or obtained according to the other virtual machine needs on the same server. Continue reading →
You do not need more than a couple of minutes to have a Postgres server available for your applications. It will be deployed pre-configured to simplify operations on virtualized environments such as the VMware vSphere server. The download will come with several install steps completed automatically, including:
postgresql.conf settings automatically tuned to the VM memory
SSL configuration on server side immediately available
Initial machine and database server accounts set up with the same single password
User interface to control both the VM core and the database server
In order to set up this server and that many interfaces all at once, you do not need to spend that 5 minutes in front of your screen, and everything can be done in 3 simple steps. Continue reading →
VMware has a strong commitment and belief that PostgreSQL will be a broadly used and popular IT technology for decades to come. This latest release marks a significant advancement that serves to underscore this assertion. First, VMware has chosen to standardize on a single common core, donating all advancements to the core to the community at large. As a result, the Postgres community at large will benefit from consistent, professional engineering that will ensure this project continues to advance with the demands of industry, in particular with cloud computing. The new VMware distribution, now shares the same common core as the open source PostgreSQL 9.2 release in September 2012.
This release builds on the PostgreSQL 9.1 most notably with the addition of new developer-oriented capabilities including JSON support, and enterprise IT-oriented capabilities such as cascading replication and index-only scans. These advancements solidify Postgres now as a database that can handle the vast majority of data types and workloads.
In addition to improvements to the core, VMware will continue to extend the vFabric Postgres distribution to better meet the demands of large scale web applications running on virtualized and cloud deployments. Continue reading →
Application developers and data management teams continue to look for ways to modernize legacy apps, manage costs more effectively, build new apps on robust application platforms, and solve big data problems. These are some of the key reasons why vFabric is on the CIO (or CTO) agenda. With several new product releases in the vFabric Suite, VMware continues to provide a best-in-class application platform and help customers solve their top application development and data management problems.
Virtualization continues to be one of the top priorities for CIOs. As the share of virtualized workloads approaches 60%, the enterprise is looking at database and big data workloads as the next target. Their goal is to realize the virtualization benefits with the plethora of relational database sprawling in their data centers. With the increasing popularity of analytic workloads on Hadoop, virtualization presents a fast and efficient way to get started with existing infrastructure, and scale the data dynamically as needed.
VMware’s vFabric Data Director 2.5 now extends the benefits of virtualization to both traditional relational databases like Oracle, SQL Server and Postgres as well as Big Data, multi-node data solutions like Hadoop. SQL Server and Oracle represent the majority of databases in enterprises, and, Hadoop is the one of the fastest growing data technologies in the enterprise.
vFabric Data Director enables the most common databases found in the enterprise to be delivered as a service with the agility of public cloud and enterprise-grade security and control.
The key new features in vFabric Data Director 2.5 are:
Support for SQL Server – Currently supported versions of SQL Server are 2008 R2 and 2012.
Support for Apache Hadoop 1.0-based distributions: Apache Hadoop 1.0, Cloudera CDH3, Greenplum HD 1.1, 1.2 and Hortonworks HDP-1. Data Director leverages VMware’s open source Project Serengeti to deliver this capability.
Streamlined Data Director Setup – Complete setup in in less than an hour
One-click template creation for Oracle and SQL Server through ISO based database and OS installation
Oracle database ingestion enhancements – Now includes Point In Time Refresh (PITR)
Data Director’s self-provisioning enables a whole new level of operational efficiencies that greatly accelerates application development. With this new release, Data Director now delivers these efficiencies in a heterogeneous database environment.