Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Disaster Recovery

January 24, 2020

The benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) as a foundation for building a cloud platform are well documented, as organizations are turning to HCI to simplify complexity for both hardware and virtualized environments. We’ve recently published a white paper in collaboration with Nutanix and Fujitsu on this topic, Simplifying Multi-Cloud and Securing Mission Progress. But recent research from Meritalk1 highlights that HCI represents many other use cases beyond cloud. In this first installment in a series of 3 blogs, we’ll examine how HCI is impacting disaster recovery (DR) in the data center.

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VMWARE

VMware NSX 3.2 Delivers New, Advanced Security Capabilities

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 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.

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Discovering SCVMM and Its Features

Article | May 26, 2021

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.

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Researchers Explore Details of Critical VMware Vulnerability

Article | April 17, 2020

Researchers have published the details of an investigation into CVE-2020-3952, a major vulnerability in VMware's vCenter that was disclosed and patched on April 9. The flaw was given a CVSS score of 10. CVE-2020-3952 exists in VMware's Directory Service (vmdir), which is a part of VMware vCenter Server, a centralized management platform for virtualized hosts and virtual machines. Through vCenter Server, the company says, an administrator can manage hundreds of workloads. The platform uses single sign-on (SSO), which includes vmdir, Security Token Service, an administration server, and the vCenter Lookup Service. Vmdir is also used for certificate management for the workloads vCenter handles.

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

Article | June 11, 2020

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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Computer Aid

Computer Aid operates in the suburbs of Central, & Northern Brisbane (Queensland), and in Melbourne's inner east (Victoria), and can provide a wide range of technology and computer services for your business & personal needs.

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