Virtual Desktop Tools, Server Hypervisors
Article | June 8, 2023
Businesses use a lot of technology to keep themselves competitive and Businesses use a lot of technology to keep themselves competitive and operationally efficient. One way that organizations use to make their technology infrastructure more accessible is through the use of virtualization. Let’s discuss what virtualization is, how it benefits businesses, and some examples of how you might consider leveraging virtualization to your company’s benefit.
Virtualization for Hardware and Software
Virtualization in its most basic sense is taking something and making it virtual. In regards to hardware and software, it involves taking these parts of your technology infrastructure and making them available in a virtual environment. Virtual applications and hardware solutions can be deployed to the cloud so that they can be accessed by any online device. Some examples of virtualization might include creating virtual machines, like workstations and server units, that are hosted in a virtual environment for as-needed access
Virtual Desktop Tools, Virtual Desktop Strategies
Article | June 8, 2023
Network virtualization has emerged as the widely recommended solution for the networking paradigm's future. Virtualization has the potential to revolutionize networks in addition to providing a cost-effective, flexible, and secure means of communication.
Network virtualization isn't an all-or-nothing concept. It can help several organizations with differing requirements, or it can provide a bunch of new advantages for a single enterprise. It is the process of combining a network's physical hardware into a single, virtual network. This is often accomplished by running several virtual guest machines in software containers on a single physical host system.
Network virtualization is indeed the new gold standard for networking, and it is being embraced by enterprises of all kinds globally. By integrating their current network gear into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and lay the groundwork for future growth.
Network virtualization also enables organizations to simulate traditional hardware like servers, storage devices, and network resources. The physical network performs basic tasks like packet forwarding, while virtual versions handle more complex activities like networking service management and deployment.
Addressing Network Virtualization Challenges
Surprisingly, IT teams might encounter network virtualization challenges that are both technical and non-technical in nature. Let's look at some common challenges and discuss how to overcome them.
Change in Network Architecture
Practically, the first big challenge is shifting from an architecture that depends heavily on routers, switches, and firewalls. Instead, these services are detached from conventional hardware and put on hypervisors that virtualize these operations. Virtualized network services are shared, scaled, and moved as required.
Migrating current LANs and data centers to a virtualized platform require careful planning. This migration involves the following tasks:
Determine how much CPU, computation, and storage resources will be required to run virtualized network services.
Determine the optimal approach for integrating network resilience and security services.
Determine how the virtualized network services will be implemented in stages to avoid disrupting business operations.
The key to a successful migration is meticulous preparation by architects who understand the business's network requirements. This involves a thorough examination of existing apps and services, as well as a clear knowledge of how data should move across the company most effectively.
Moreover, a progressive approach to relocation is often the best solution. In this instance, IT teams can make changes to the virtualization platform without disrupting the whole corporate network.
Network virtualization has the potential to considerably expand the number of logical technology layers that must collaborate. As a result, traditional network and data center monitoring technologies no longer have insight into some of these abstracted levels. In other circumstances, visibility can be established, but the tools fail to show the information correctly so that network operators can understand it. In either case, deploying and managing modern network visibility technologies is typically the best choice. When an issue arises, NetOps personnel are notified of the specific service layer.
Automation and AI
The enhanced level of automation and self-service operations that can be built into a platform is a fundamental aspect of network virtualization. While these activities can considerably increase the pace of network upgrades while decreasing management overhead, they need the documentation and implementation of a new set of standards and practices. Understand that prior network architectures were planned and implemented utilizing actual hardware appliances on a hop-by-hop basis. A virtualized network, on the other hand, employs a centralized control plane to govern and push policies to all sections of the network. Changes may occur more quickly in this aspect, but various components must be coordinated to accomplish their roles in harmony.
As a result, network teams should move their attention away from network operations that are already automated. Rather, their new responsibility is to guarantee that the core automation processes and AI are in sync in order to fulfill those automated tasks.
Driving Competitive Edge with Network Virtualization
Virtualization in networking or virtual machines within an organization is not a new trend. Even small and medium businesses have realized the benefits of network virtualization, especially when combined with a hosted cloud service provider. Because of this, the demand for enterprise network virtualization is rising, driving higher end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business tools. These network virtualization benefits can help boost business growth and gain a competitive edge.
Gaining a Competitive Edge: Network Virtualization Benefits
Cost-Savings on Hardware
Faster Desktop and Server Provisioning and Deployment
Improved Data Security and Disaster Recovery
Increasing IT Operational Efficiency
Small Footprint and Energy Saving
Network Virtualization: The Path to Digital Transformation
Business is at the center of digital transformation, but technology is needed to make it happen. Integrated clouds, highly modern data centers, digital workplaces, and increased data center security are all puzzle pieces, and putting them all together requires a variety of various products and services that are deployed cohesively.
The cloud revolution is still having an influence on IT, transforming how digital content is consumed and delivered. This should come as no surprise that such a shift has influenced how we feel about current networking. When it boils down to it, the purpose of digital transformation for every company, irrespective of industry, is the same: to boost the speed with which you can respond to market changes and evolving business needs; to enhance your ability to embrace and adapt to new technology, and to improve overall security. As businesses realize that the underlying benefit of cloud adoption and enhanced virtualization isn't simply about cost savings, digital strategies are evolving, becoming more intelligent and successful in the process.
Network virtualization is also a path toward the smooth digital transformation of any business.
How does virtualization help in accelerating digital transformation?
Combining public and private clouds, involving hardware-based computing, storage, and networking software definition. A hyper-converged infrastructure that integrates unified management with virtualized computing, storage, and networking could be included.
Creating a platform for greater productivity by providing the apps and services consumers require when and when they utilize them. This should include simplifying application access and administration as well as unifying endpoint management.
Improving network security and enhancing security flexibility to guarantee that quicker speed to market is matched by tighter security.
Virtualization will also help businesses to move more quickly and safely, bringing products—and profits—to market faster.
Enhancing Security with Network Virtualization
Security has evolved as an essential component of every network architecture. However, since various areas of the network are often segregated from one another, it might be challenging for network teams to design and enforce network virtualization security standards that apply to the whole network.
Zero trust can integrate such network parts and their accompanying virtualization activities. Throughout the network, the zero-trust architecture depends on the user and device authentication. If LAN users wish to access data center resources, they must first be authenticated.
The secure connection required for endpoints to interact safely is provided by a zero-trust environment paired with network virtualization. To facilitate these interactions, virtual networks can be ramped up and down while retaining the appropriate degree of traffic segmentation.
Access policies, which govern which devices can connect with one another, are a key part of this process. If a device is allowed to access a data center resource, the policy should be understood at both the WAN and campus levels.
Some of the core network virtualization security features are:
Isolation and multitenancy are critical features of network virtualization.
Segmentation is related to isolation; however it is utilized in a multitier virtual network.
A network virtualization platform's foundation includes firewalling technologies that enable segmentation inside virtual networks.
Network virtualization enables automatic provisioning and context-sharing across virtual and physical security systems.
Investigating the Role of Virtualization in Cloud Computing
Virtualization in the cloud computing domain refers to the development of virtual resources (such as a virtual server, virtual storage device, virtual network switch, or even a virtual operating system) from a single resource of its type that also shows up as several personal isolated resources or environments that users can use as a separate individual physical resource.
Virtualization enables the benefits of cloud computing, such as ease of scaling up, security, fluid or flexible resources, and so on. If another server is necessary, a virtual server will be immediately created, and a new server will be deployed. When we need more memory, we increase the virtual server configurations we currently have, and we now have the extra RAM we need. As a result, virtualization is the underlying technology of the cloud computing business model.
The Benefits of Virtualization in Cloud Computing:
Efficient hardware utilization
Virtualization improves availability
Disaster recovery is quick and simple
Energy is saved by virtualization
Setup is quick and simple
Cloud migration has become simple
Motivating Factors for the Adoption of Network Virtualization
Demand for enterprise networks continues to climb, owing to rising end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business software. Thanks to network virtualization, IT companies are gaining the ability to respond to shifting demands and match their networking capabilities with their virtualized storage and computing resources. In fact, according to a recent SDxCentral report, 88% of respondents believe it is "important" or "mission critical" to implement a network virtualization software over the next two to five years.
Virtualization is also an excellent alternative for businesses that employ outsourced IT services, are planning mergers or acquisitions or must segregate IT teams owing to regulatory compliance.
Reasons to Adopt Network Virtualization:
A Business Needs Speed
Security Requirements Are Rising
Apps can Move Around
IT Automation and Orchestration
Reduce Hardware Dependency and CapEx: Adopt Multi-Tenancy Cloud
Network virtualization and cloud computing are emerging technologies of the future. As CIOs get actively involved in organizational systems, these new concepts will be implemented in more businesses. As consumer demand for real-time services expands, businesses will be driven to explore network virtualization as the best way to take their networks to the next level. The networking future is here.
Why is network virtualization important for business?
By integrating their current network gear into a single virtual network, businesses can reduce operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and set the stage for future growth.
Where is network virtualization used?
Network virtualization can be utilized in application development and testing to simulate hardware and system software realistically. Network virtualization in application performance engineering allows for the modeling of connections among applications, services, dependencies, and end users for software testing.
How does virtualization work in cloud computing?
Virtualization, in short, enables cloud providers to provide users alongside existing physical computer infrastructure. As a simple and direct process, it allows cloud customers to buy only the computing resources they require when they want them and to maintain those resources cost-effectively as the demand grows.
VMware, Vsphere, Hyper-V
Article | May 2, 2023
System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is a management tool for Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platform. It is part of Microsoft’s System Center product suite, which also includes Configuration Manager and Operations Manager, among other tools. SCVMM provides a single pane of glass for managing your on-premises and cloud-based Hyper-V infrastructures, and it’s a more capable alternative to Windows Server tools built for the same purpose.
Article | December 7, 2021
It’s an impactful release focused on significant NSX Security enhancements
Putting a hard shell around a soft core is not a recipe for success in security, but somehow legacy security architectures for application protection have often looked exactly like that: a hard perimeter firewall layer for an application infrastructure that was fundamentally not built with security as a primary concern. VMware NSX Distributed Firewall pioneered the micro-segmentation concept for granular access controls for cloud applications with the initial launch of the product in 2013. The promise of Zero Trust security for applications, the simplicity of deployment of the solution, and the ease of achieving internal security objectives made NSX an instant success for security-sensitive customers.
Our newest release — NSX-T 3.2 — establishes a new marker for securing application infrastructure by introducing significant new features to identify and respond to malware and ransomware attacks in the network, to enhance user identification and L7 application identification capabilities, and, at the same time, to simplify deployment of the product for our customers.
Modern day security teams need to secure mission-critical infrastructure from both external and internal attacks. By providing unprecedented threat visibility leveraging IDS, NTA, and Network Detection and Response (NDR) capabilities along with granular controls leveraging L4-L7 Firewall, IPS, and Malware Prevention capabilities, NSX 3.2 delivers an incredible security solution for our customers“
Umesh Mahajan, SVP, GM (Networking and Security Business Unit)
Distributed Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP)
Attackers often use multiple sophisticated techniques to penetrate the network, move laterally within the network in a stealthy manner, and exfiltrate critical data at an appropriate time. Micro-segmentation solutions focused solely on access control can reduce the attack surface — but cannot provide the detection and prevention technologies needed to thwart modern attacks. NSX-T 3.2 introduces several new capabilities focused on detection and prevention of attacks inside the network. Of critical note is that these advanced security solutions do not need network taps, separate monitoring networks, or agents inside each and every workload.
Distributed Malware Prevention
Lastline’s highly reputed dynamic malware technology is now integrated with NSX Distributed Firewall to deliver an industry-first Distributed Malware Prevention solution. Leveraging the integration with Lastline, a Distributed Firewall embedded within the hypervisor kernel can now identify both “known malicious” as well as “zero day” malware
Distributed Behavioral IDS
Whereas earlier versions of NSX Distributed IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Prevention System) delivered primarily signature-based detection of intrusions, NSX 3.2 introduces “behavioral” intrusion detection capabilities as well. Even if specific IDS signatures are not triggered, this capability helps customers know whether a workload is seeing any behavioral anomalies, like DNS tunneling or beaconing, for example, that could be a cause for concern.
Network Traffic Analysis (NTA)
For customers interested in baselining network-wide behavior and identifying anomalous behavior at the aggregated network level, NSX-T 3.2 introduces Distributed Network Traffic Analysis (NTA). Network-wide anomalies like lateral movement, suspicious RDP traffic, and malicious interactions with the Active Directory server, for example, can alert security teams about attacks underway and help them take quick remediation actions.
Network Detection and Response (NDR)
Alert overload, and resulting fatigue, is a real challenge among security teams. Leveraging advanced AI/ML techniques, the NSX-T 3.2 Network Detection and Response solution consolidates security IOCs from different detection systems like IDS, NTA, malware detection. etc., to provide a ”campaign view” that shows specific attacks in play at that point in time. MITRE ATT&CK visualization helps customers see the specific stage in the kill chain of individual attacks, and the ”time sequence” view helps understand the sequence of events that contributed to the attack on the network.
Key Firewall Enhancements
While delivering new Advanced Threat Prevention capabilities is one key emphasis for the NSX-T 3.2 release, providing meaningful enhancements for core firewalling capabilities is an equally critical area of innovation.
Distributed Firewall for VDS Switchports
While NSX-T has thus far supported workloads connected to both overlay-based N-VDS switchports as well as VLAN-based switchports, customers had to move the VLAN switchports from VDS to N-VDS before a Distributed Firewall could be enforced. With NSX-T 3.2, native VLAN DVPGs are supported as-is, without having to move to N-VDS. Effectively, Distributed Security can be achieved in a completely seamless manner without having to modify any networking constructs.
Distributed Firewall workflows in vCenter
With NSX-T 3.2, we are introducing the ability to create and modify Distributed Firewall rules natively within vCenter. For small- to medium-sized VMware customers, this feature simplifies the user experience by eliminating the need to leverage a separate NSX Manager interface.
Advanced User Identification for Distributed and Gateway Firewalls
NSX supported user identity-based access control in earlier releases. With NSX-T 3.2, we’re introducing the ability to directly connect to Microsoft Active Directory to support user identity mapping. In addition, for customers who do not use Active Directory for user authentication, NSX also supports VMware vRealize LogInsight as an additional method to carry out user identity mapping. This feature enhancement is applicable for both NSX Distributed Firewall as well as NSX Gateway Firewall.
Enhanced L7 Application Identification for Distributed and Gateway Firewalls
NSX supported Layer-7 application identification-based access control in earlier releases. With NSX-T 3.2, we are enhancing the signature set to about 750 applications. While several perimeter firewall vendors claim a larger set of Layer-7 application signatures, they focus mostly on internet application identification (like Facebook, for example). Our focus with NSX at this time is on internal applications hosted by enterprises. This feature enhancement is applicable for both NSX Distributed Firewall as well as Gateway Firewalls.
NSX Intelligence is geared towards delivering unprecedented visibility for all application traffic inside the network and enabling customers to create micro-segmentation policies to reduce the attack surface. It has a processing pipeline that de-dups, aggregates, and correlates East-West traffic to deliver in-depth visibility.
Scalability enhancements for NSX Intelligence
As application infrastructure grows rapidly, it is vital that one’s security analytics platform can grow with it. With the new release, we have rearchitected the application platform upon which NSX Intelligence runs — moving from a stand-alone appliance to a containerized micro-service architecture powered by Kubernetes. This architectural change future-proofs the Intelligence data lake and allows us to eventually scale out our solution to n-node Kubernetes clusters.
Large Enterprise customers that need visibility for application traffic can confidently deploy NSX Intelligence and leverage the enhanced scale it supports.
NSX Gateway Firewall
While NSX Distributed Firewall focuses on east-west controls within the network, NSX Gateway Firewall is used for securing ingress and egress traffic into and out of a zone.
Gateway Firewall Malware Detection
NSX Gateway Firewall in the 3.2 release received significant Advanced Threat Detection capabilities. Gateway Firewall can now identify both known as well as zero-day malware ingressing or egressing the network. This new capability is based on the Gateway Firewall integration with Lastline’s highly reputed dynamic network sandbox technology.
Gateway Firewall URL Filtering
Internal users and applications reaching out to malicious websites is a huge security risk that must be addressed. In addition, enterprises need to limit internet access to comply with corporate internet usage policies. NSX Gateway Firewall in 3.2 introduces the capability to restrict access to internet sites. Access can be limited based on either the category the URL belongs to, or the “reputation” of the URL. The URL to category and reputation mapping is constantly updated by VMware so customer intent is enforced automatically even after many changes in the internet sites themselves.