Containers and Cybersecurity: Ansible, Kubernetes, More to Consider

Containers are a very big deal in enterprise computing right now. If your organization isn’t already using them, then trends indicate it probably will soon. This application virtualization technology has had profound implications for some companies that have embraced DevOps, and there is plenty of potential for it to have a similar impact on security operations. To understand why, it’s good to start with an understanding of just what containers are. A modern application is a collection of pieces of code: the main application itself, configuration files, and custom files on which it depends. These tend to be unique to the application as it’s configured to be deployed on a given server.

Spotlight

MagicCube, Inc.

In digital commerce there is no ubiquitous secure way to send, receive or capture sensitive data using consumer devices. Using a unique patent pending security platform, MagicCube secures the 500 Billion a a year e-commerce and m-commerce market allowing for 20% increase in revenue and lowering fraud risk of online and mobile commerce.

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Server Hypervisors

Boosting Productivity with Kubernetes and Docker

Article | September 9, 2022

Learn setting up a Docker and Kubernetes environment with the right considerations and choose the best-suited software from ten leading tools, softwares and platforms for your business needs. Contents The blog discusses how Kubernetes and Docker can boost software development and deployment productivity. In addition, it covers the benefits of the role of Kubernetes in orchestrating containerized applications and best practices for implementing these technologies to improve efficiency and streamline workflows. Docker and Kubernetes are both essential containerization ecosystem utilities. Kubernetes, an excellent DevOps solution, manages and automates containers' deployment and scaling, along with operating across clusters of hosts, whereas Docker is used for creating and operating containers. The blog covers tips to consider while choosing tools/platforms. It further enlists ten platforms providing Kubernetes and Docker, featuring their offerings. 1. Considerations While Setting Up a Development Environment with Kubernetes and Docker 1.1 Fluid app delivery A platform for application development must provide development teams with high velocity. Two factors contribute to high velocity: rapid application delivery and brief development cycles. Application platforms must support build processes that start with source code. The platforms must also facilitate the repetitive deployment of applications on any remote staging instance. 1.2 Polyglot support Consistency is the defining characteristic of an application platform. On-demand, repetitive, and reproducible builds must be supported by the platform. Extending a consistent experience across all languages and frameworks elevates the platform experience. The platform must support a native build process and the ability to develop and customize this build process. 1.3 Baked-in security Containerized environments are secured in a significantly different manner than conventional applications. A fundamental best practice is to utilize binaries compiled with all necessary dependencies. The build procedure should also include a directive to eliminate unnecessary components for the application's operation. Setting up a zero-trust architecture between platform components that orchestrate deployments significantly improves the workloads' security posture. 1.4 Adjustable abstractions A platform with paved paths and the flexibility to accommodate the requirements of software engineering teams has a greater chance of success. Open-source platforms score highly in this regard, particularly those with modular architectures that allow the team to swap out parts as they adjust. 2.Top Tips to Consider While Choosing Tools and Platforms for Kubernetes and Docker 2.1 Production-Readiness Configuring Kubernetes or Docker can be complex and resource-intensive. A production-ready platform will ensure having the necessary fully automated features without the need for configuration. Security is an essential aspect of production readiness. Additionally, automation is critical, as production readiness requires that the solution manage all cluster management duties. Automated backup, recovery, and restore capabilities must be considered. Also, ensure the high availability, scalability, and self-healing of the cluster's platform. 2.2 Future-Readiness As the cloud and software evolve, a system's hosting location may affect its efficacy. The current trend is a multi-cloud strategy. Ensure that the platform can support abstracting from cloud or data center providers and building a shared infrastructure across clouds, cloud regions, and data centers, as well as assist in configuring them if required. According to a recent study, nearly one-third of organizations are already collaborating with four or more cloud service providers. (Source: Microsoft and 451 Research) 2.3 Ease of Administration Managing a Docker or Kubernetes cluster is complex and requires various skill sets. Kubernetes generates a lot of unprocessed data, which must be interpreted to comprehend what's happening with the cluster. Early detection and intervention are crucial to disaster prevention. Identifying a platform that eliminates the issue of analyzing raw data is essential. By incorporating automated intelligent monitoring and alerts, such solutions can provide critical status, error, event, and warning data to take appropriate action. 2.4 Assistance and Training As the organization begins to acquire Kubernetesor Docker skills, it is essential to have a vendor that can provide 24/7 support and training to ensure a seamless transition. Incorrect implementation will add a layer of complexity to infrastructure management. Leverage automation tools that offer the support needed to use Kubernetes and Docker without the management burden. 3. 10 Tools and Platforms Providing Kubernetes and Docker 3.1 Aqua Cloud Native Security Platform: Aqua Security provides the Aqua Cloud Native Security Platform, a comprehensive security solution designed to protect cloud-native applications and microservices. Aqua offers end-to-end security for applications operating on Docker Enterprise Edition (Community Edition), protecting the DevOps pipeline and production workloads with complete visibility and control. It provides end-to-end security across the entire application lifecycle, from development to production, for both containerized and serverless workloads. In addition, it automates prevention, detection, and response across the whole application lifecycle to secure the build, cloud infrastructure, and operating workloads, regardless of where they are deployed. 3.2 Weave Gitops Enterprise Weave GitOps Enterprise, a full-stack, developer-centric operating model for Kubernetes, creates and contributes to several open-source projects. Its products and services enable teams to design, build, and operate their Kubernetes platform at scale. Built by the creators of Flux and Flagger, Weave GitOps allows users to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters and applications in the public or private cloud or their own data center. Weave GitOps Enterprise helps simplify Kubernetes with fully automated continuous delivery pipelines that roll out changes from development to staging and production. Weaveworks has used Kubernetes in production for over eight years and has developed that expertise into Weave GitOps Enterprise. 3.3 Mirantis Kubernetes Engine Mirantis provides the Mirantis Kubernetes Engine, a platform designed to help organizations deploy, manage, and scale their Kubernetes clusters. It includes features such as container orchestration, automated deployment, monitoring, and high availability, all designed to help organizations build and run their applications at scale. Mirantis Kubernetes Engine also includes a set of tools for managing the lifecycle of Kubernetes clusters, including cluster deployment, upgrades, and patching. It also has security scanning and policy enforcement features, as well as integration with other enterprise IT systems such as Active Directory and LDAP. 3.4 Portworx by Pure Storage Portworx's deep integration into Docker gives Portworx container data services benefits directly through the Docker Swarm scheduler. Swarm service creation brings the management capability of Portworx to the Docker persistent storage layer to avoid complex tasks such as increasing the storage pool without container downtime and problems like stuck EBS drives. Portworx is also a multi-cloud-ready Kubernetes storage and administration platform designed to simplify and streamline data management in Kubernetes. The platform abstracts the complexity of data storage in Kubernetes. Additionally, it serves as a software-defined layer that aggregates Kubernetes nodes' data storage into a virtual reservoir. 3.5 Platform9 Platform9 provides a powerful IDE for developers for simplified in-context views of pods, logs, events, and more. Both development and operations teams can access the information they need in an instant, secured through SSO and Kubernetes RBAC. The industry’s first SaaS-managed approach combined with a best-in-class support and customer success organization with a 99.9% consistent CSAT rating delivers production-ready K8s to organizations of any size. It provides services to deploy a cluster instantly, achieve GitOps faster, and take care of every aspect of cluster management, including remote monitoring, self-healing, automatic troubleshooting, and proactive issue resolution, around the clock. 3.6 Kubernetes Network Security Sysdig provides Kubernetes Network Security, a solution that offers cloud security from source to run. The product provides network security for Kubernetes environments by monitoring and blocking suspicious traffic in real time. It helps organizations protect their Kubernetes clusters against advanced threats and attacks. The product and Sysdig Secure offer Kubernetes Network Monitoring to investigate suspicious traffic and connection attempts, Kubernetes-Native Microsegmentation to enable microsegmentation without breaking the application, and Automated Network Policies to save time by automating Kubernetes network policies. 3.7 Kubernetes Operations Platform for Edge Rafay delivers a production-ready Kubernetes Operations Platform for Edge, streamlining ongoing operations for edge applications. It provides centralized multi-cluster management to deploy, manage, and upgrade all Kubernetes clusters from a single console across all edge nodes. In addition, it offers comprehensive lifecycle management, with which users can quickly and easily provision Kubernetes clusters at the edge, where cluster updates and upgrades are seamless with no downtime. Furthermore, the KMC for Edge quickly integrates with enterprise-class SSO solutions such as Okta, Ping One, and Azure AD, among others. Other features include standardized clusters and workflows, integration and automation, and centralized logging and monitoring. 3.8 Opcito Technologies Opcito provides simplified container management with efficient provisioning, deployment, scaling, and networking. Its application containerization expertise helps containerize existing and new applications and dependencies. Opcito is well-versed in leading container orchestration platforms like Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. While it helps choose the container platform that best suits specific application needs, it also helps with the end-to-end management of containers so clients can release applications faster and focus on innovation and business. The container management and orchestration services include: building secured microservices, Enterprise-scale Container Management and Orchestration, Orchestration, and Container Monitoring. 3.9 D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP) D2iQ (DKP) enables enterprises to take advantage of all the benefits of cloud-native Kubernetes while laying the groundwork for intelligent cloud-native innovation by simplifying Kubernetes deployment and maintenance. It simplifies and automates the most difficult parts of an enterprise Kubernetes deployment across all infrastructures. DKP helps enterprises easily overcome operational barriers and set them up in minutes and hours rather than weeks and months. In addition, DKP simplifies Kubernetes management through automation using GitOps workflow, observability, application catalog, real-time cost management, and more. 3.10 Spektra Spektra, by Diamanti, a multi-cluster management solution for DevOps and production teams, provides centralized multi-cluster management, a single control plane to deliver everything needed to provision and manage the lifecycle of multiple clusters. Spektra is built to cater to business needs, from air-gapped on-prem deployments to hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures. It also enables stretching resources across different clusters within the tenant. Furthermore, it allows you to move workloads and their associated data from one cluster to another directly from its dashboard. Spektra integrates with lightweight directory access protocols (LDAP) and Active Directory (AD) to enable user authentication and streamline resource access. In addition, it offers application migration, data mobility, and reporting. 4. Conclusion It is evident that Kubernetes and Docker can significantly boost software development and deployment productivity. By adopting appropriate containerization platforms and leveraging Kubernetes for orchestration, organizations can streamline workflows, improve efficiency, and enhance the reliability of their applications. Furthermore, following the tips to choose the tools or platform carefully can further improve productivity.

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Server Virtualization

Efficient Management of Virtual Machines using Orchestration

Article | May 17, 2023

Contents 1. Introduction 2. What is Orchestration? 3. How Orchestrating Help Optimize VMs Efficiency? 3.1. Resource Optimization 3.2 Dynamic Scaling 3.3 Faster Deployment 3.4 Improved Security 3.5 Multi-Cloud Management 3.6 Improved Collaboration 4. Considerations while Orchestrating VMs 4.1. Together Hosting of Containers and VMs 4.2 Automated Backup and Restore for VMs 4.3 Ensure Replication for VMs 4.4 Setup Data Synchronization for VMs 5. Conclusion 1. Introduction Orchestration is a superset of automation. Cloud orchestration goes beyond automation, providing coordination between multiple automated activities. Cloud orchestration is increasingly essential due to the growth of containerization, which facilitates scaling applications across clouds, both public and private. The demand for both public cloud orchestration and hybrid cloud orchestration has increased as businesses increasingly adopt a hybrid cloud architecture. The quick adoption of containerized, micro-services-based apps that communicate over APIs has fueled the desire for automation in deploying and managing applications across the cloud. This increase in complexity has created a need for VM orchestration that can manage numerous dependencies across various clouds with policy-driven security and management capabilities. 2. What is Orchestration? Orchestration refers to the process of automating, coordinating, and managing complex systems, workflows, or processes. It typically entails the use of automation tools and platforms to streamline and coordinate the deployment, configuration, management of applications and services across different environments. This includes development, testing, staging, and production. Orchestration tools in cloud computing can be used to automate the deployment and administration of containerized applications across multiple servers or clusters. These tools can help automate tasks such as container provisioning, scaling, load balancing, and health monitoring, making it easier to manage complex application environments. Orchestration ensures organizations automate and streamline their workflows, reduce errors and downtime, and improve the efficacy and scalability of their operations. 3. How Orchestrating Help Optimize VMs Efficiency? Orchestration offers enhanced visibility into the resources and processes in use, which helps prevent VM sprawl and helps organizations trace resource usage by department, business unit, or individual user. Fig. Global Market for VNFO by Virtualization Methodology 2022-27($ million) (Source: Insight Research) The above figure shows, VMs have established a solid legacy that will continue to be relevant in the near to mid-term future. These are 6 ways, in which Orchestration helps vin efficient management of VMs: 3.1. Resource Optimization Orchestrating helps optimize resource utilization by automating the provisioning and de-provisioning of VMs, which allows for efficient use of computing resources. By using orchestration tools, IT teams can set up rules and policies for automatically scaling VMs based on criteria such as CPU utilization, memory usage, network traffic, and application performance metrics. Orchestration also enables advanced techniques such as predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize resource utilization. These technologies can analyze historical data and identify patterns in workload demand, allowing the orchestration system to predict future resource needs and automatically provision or de-provision resources accordingly 3.2. Dynamic Scaling Orchestrating helps automate scaling of VMs, enabling organizations to quickly and easily adjust their computing resources based on demand. It enables IT teams to configure scaling policies and regulations for virtual machines based on resource utilization and network traffic along with performance metrics. When the workload demand exceeds a certain threshold, the orchestration system can autonomously provision additional virtual machines to accommodate the increased load. When workload demand decreases, the orchestration system can deprovision VMs to free up resources and reduce costs. 3.3. Faster Deployment Orchestrating can help automate VM deployment of VMs, reducing the time and effort required to provision new resources. By leveraging advanced technologies such as automation, scripting, and APIs, orchestration can further streamline the VM deployment process. It allows IT teams to define workflows and processes that can be automated using scripts, reducing the time and effort required to deploy new resources. In addition, orchestration can integrate with other IT management tools and platforms, such as cloud management platforms, configuration management tools, and monitoring systems. This enables IT teams to leverage various capabilities and services to streamline the VM deployment and improve efficiency. 3.4. Improved Security Orchestrating can help enhance the security of VMs by automating the deployment of security patches and updates. It also helps ensure VMs are deployed with the appropriate security configurations and settings, reducing the risk of misconfiguration and vulnerability. It enables IT teams to define standard security templates and configurations for VMs, which can be automatically applied during deployment. Furthermore, orchestration can integrate with other security tools and platforms, such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls, to provide a comprehensive security solution. It allows IT teams to automate the deployment of security policies and rules, ensuring that workloads remain protected against various security threats. 3.5. Multi-Cloud Management Orchestration helps provide a single pane of glass for VM management, enabling IT teams to monitor and manage VMs across multiple cloud environments from a single platform. This simplifies management and reduces complexity, enabling IT teams to respond more quickly and effectively to changing business requirements. In addition, orchestration also helps to ensure consistency and compliance across multiple cloud environments. Moreover, orchestration can also integrate with other multi-cloud management tools and platforms, such as cloud brokers and cloud management platforms, to provide a comprehensive solution for managing VMs across multiple clouds. 3.6. Improved Collaboration Orchestration helps streamline collaboration by providing a centralized repository for storing and sharing information related to VMs. Moreover, it also automates many of the routine tasks associated with VM management, reducing the workload for IT teams and freeing up time for more complex tasks. This can improve collaboration by enabling IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. In addition, orchestration provides advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling IT teams to track performance, identify bottlenecks, and optimize resource utilization. This improves performance by providing a data-driven approach to VM management and allowing IT teams to work collaboratively to identify and address performance issues. 4. Considerations while Orchestrating VMs 4.1. Together Hosting of Containers and VMs Containers and virtual machines exist together within a single infrastructure and are managed by the same platform. This allows for hosting various projects using a unified management point and the ability to adapt gradually based on current needs and opportunities. This provides greater flexibility for teams to host and administer applications using cutting-edge technologies and established standards and methods. Moreover, as there is no need to invest in distinct physical servers for virtual machines (VMs) and containers, this approach can be a great way to maximize infrastructure utilization, resulting in lower TCO and higher ROI. In addition, unified management drastically simplifies processes, requiring fewer human resources and less time. 4.2. Automated Backup and Restore for VMs --Minimize downtime and reduce risk of data loss Organizations should set up automated backup and restore processes for virtual machines, ensuring critical data and applications are protected during a disaster. This involves scheduling regular backups of virtual machines to a secondary location or cloud storage and setting up automated restore processes to recover virtual machines during an outage or disaster quickly. 4.3. Ensure Replication for VMs --Ensure data and applications are available and accessible in the event of a disaster Organizations should set up replication processes for their VMs, allowing them to be automatically copied to a secondary location or cloud infrastructure. This ensures that critical applications and data are available even during a catastrophic failure at the primary site. 4.4. Setup Data Synchronization for VMs --Improve overall resilience and availability of the system VM orchestration tools should be used to set up data synchronization processes between virtual machines, ensuring that data is consistent and up-to-date across multiple locations. This is particularly important in scenarios where data needs to be accessed quickly from various locations, such as in distributed environments. 5. Conclusion Orchestration provides disaster recovery and business continuity, automatic scalability of distributed systems, and inter-service configuration. Cloud orchestration is becoming significant due to the advent of containerization, which permits scaling applications across clouds, both public and private. We expect continued growth and innovation in the field of VM orchestration, with new technologies and tools emerging to support more efficient and effective management of virtual machines in distributed environments. In addition, as organizations increasingly rely on cloud-based infrastructures and distributed systems, VM orchestration will continue to play a vital role in enabling businesses to operate smoothly and recover quickly from disruptions. VM orchestration will remain a critical component of disaster recovery and high availability strategies for years as organizations continue relying on virtualization technologies to power their operations and drive innovation.

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Virtual Desktop Strategies, Server Hypervisors

Virtualizing Broadband Networks: Q&A with Tom Cloonan and David Grubb

Article | April 27, 2023

The future of broadband networks is fast, pervasive, reliable, and increasingly, virtual. Dell’Oro predicts that virtual CMTS/CCAP revenue will grow from $90 million in 2019 to $418 million worldwide in 2024. While network virtualization is still in its earliest stages of deployment, many operators have begun building their strategy for virtualizing one or more components of their broadband networks.

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Server Virtualization

How to Start Small and Grow Big with Data Virtualization

Article | June 9, 2022

Why Should Companies Care about Data Virtualization? Data is everywhere. With each passing day, companies generate more data than ever before, and what exactly can they do with all this data? Is it just a matter of storing it? Or should they manage and integrate their data from the various sources? How can they store, manage, integrate and utilize their data to gain information that is of critical value to their business? As they say, knowledge is power, but knowledge without action is useless. This is where the Denodo Platform comes in. The Denodo Platform gives companies the flexibility to evolve their data strategies, migrate to the cloud, or logically unify their data warehouses and data lakes, without affecting business. This powerful platform offers a variety of subscription options that can benefit companies immensely. For example, companies often start out with individual projects using a Denodo Professional subscription, but in a short period of time they end up adding more and more data sources and move on to other Denodo subscriptions such as Denodo Enterprise or Denodo Enterprise Plus. The upgrade process is very easy to establish; in fact, it can be done in less than a day once the cloud marketplace is chosen (Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In as little as six weeks companies can realize real business benefits from managing and utilizing their data effectively. A Bridging Layer Data virtualization has been around for quite some time now. Denodo’s founders, Angel Viña and Alberto Pan, have been involved in data virtualization from as far back as the 1990’s. If you’re not familiar with data virtualization, here is a quick summary. Data virtualization is the cornerstone to a logical data architecture, whether it be a logical data warehouse, logical data fabric, data mesh, or even a data hub. All of these architectures are best served by our principals Combine (bring together all your data sources), Connect (into a logical single view) and Consume (through standard connectors to your favorite BI/data science tools or through our easy-to-use robust API’s). Data virtualization is the bridge that joins multiple data sources to fuel analytics. It is also the logical data layer that effectively integrates data silos across disparate systems, manages unified data for centralized security, and delivers it to business users in real time. Economic Benefits in Less Than 6 weeks with Data Virtualization? In a short duration, how can companies benefit from choosing data virtualization as a data management solution? To answer this question, below are some very interesting KPI’s discussed in the recently released Forrester study on the Total Economic Impact of Data Virtualization. For example, companies that have implemented data virtualization have seen an 83% increase in business user productivity. Mainly this is due to the business-centric way a data virtualization platform is delivered. When you implement data virtualization, you provide business users with an easy to access democratized interface to their data needs. The second KPI to note is a 67% reduction in development resources. With data virtualization, you connect to the data, you do not copy it. This means once it is set up, there is a significant reduction in the need for data integration engineers, as data remains in the source location and is not copied around the enterprise. Finally, companies are reporting a 65% improvement in data access speeds above and beyond more traditional approaches such as extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes. A Modern Solution for an Age-Old Problem To understand how data virtualization can help elevate projects to an enterprise level, we can share a few use cases in which companies have leveraged data virtualization to solve their business problems across several different industries. For example, in finance and banking we often see use cases in which data virtualization can be used as a unifying platform to help improve compliance and reporting. In retail, we see use cases including predictive analytics in supply chains as well as next and best actions from a unified view of the customer. There are many uses for data virtualization in a wider variety of situations, such as in healthcare and government agencies. Companies use the Denodo Platform to help data scientists understand key trends and activities, both sociologically as well as economically. In a nutshell, if data exists in more than one source, then the Denodo Platform acts as the unifying platform that connects, combines and allows users to consume the data in a timely, cost-effective manner.

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Spotlight

MagicCube, Inc.

In digital commerce there is no ubiquitous secure way to send, receive or capture sensitive data using consumer devices. Using a unique patent pending security platform, MagicCube secures the 500 Billion a a year e-commerce and m-commerce market allowing for 20% increase in revenue and lowering fraud risk of online and mobile commerce.

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