Virtualized Environments Essential to Disaster Recovery

Virtualized environments are playing an increasingly significant role in disaster recovery (DR) and all organizations should learn to leverage that virtualization, according to Kevin Brosnan, solutions architect at Burnaby, Canada-based software company Teradici.Virtualized IT environments reduce costs, he said during the June 25 webinar Leveraging Virtualization for Improved Availability and Disaster Recovery.They also reduce the burden of physical desktop management, as well as server infrastructure, improving uptime and staff productivity and you get the flexibility of a virtual environment.

Spotlight

Force10 Networks

Force10 Networks develops high-performance data center solutions powered by the industry’s most innovative line of open, standards-based, networking hardware and software. The company’s Open Cloud Networking framework grants Web 2.0/portal operators, cloud and hosting providers, enterprise and special-purpose data center customers new levels of flexibility, performance, scale and automation—fundamentally changing the economics of data center networking. Force10 Networks operates globally, providing 24x7 service and support to its customer base in more than 60 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.force10networks.com.

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Virtual Desktop Tools, Server Hypervisors

Metasploitable: A Platform for Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

Article | April 28, 2023

Contents 1. Overview 2. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing 3. Metasploit Penetration Test 4. Why Choose Metasploit Framework for your Business? 5. Closing remarks 1. Overview Metasploitable refers to an intentionally vulnerable virtual machine that enables the learning and practice of Metasploit. Metasploit is one of the best penetration testing frameworks that helps businesses discover and shore up their systems' vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them. Security engineers use Metasploit as a penetration testing system and a development platform that allows the creation of security tools and exploits. Metasploit's various user interfaces, libraries, tools, and modules allow users to configure an exploit module, pair it with a payload, point it at a target, and launch it at the target system. In addition, Metasploit's extensive database houses hundreds of exploits and several payload options. 2. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing An ethical hacker is one who works within a security framework and checks for bugs that a malicious hacker might use to exploit networks. They use their experience and skills to render the cyber environment. To protect the infrastructure from the threat that hackers pose, ethical hacking is essential. The main purpose of an ethical hacking service is to report and assess the safety of the targeted systems and networks for the owner. Ethical hacking is performed with penetration test techniques to evaluate security loopholes. There are many techniques used to hack information, such as – Information gathering Vulnerability scanning Exploitation Test analysis Ethical hacking involves automatic methods. The hacking process without automated software is inefficient and time-consuming. There are several tools and methods that can be used for ethical hacking and penetration testing. The Metasploit framework eases the effort to exploit vulnerabilities in networks, operating systems, and applications and generates new exploits for new or unknown vulnerabilities. 3. Metasploit Penetration Test Reconnaissance: Integrate Metasploit with various reconnaissance tools to find the vulnerable spot in the system. Threat Modeling and Vulnerability Identification: Once a weakness is identified, choose an exploit and payload for penetration. Exploitation: The payload gets executed at the target if the exploit, a tool used to take advantage of system weakness, is successful, and the user gets a shell for interacting with the payload (a shellcode is a small piece of code used as the payload).The most popular payload, a set of malicious codes to attack Windows systems, is Meterpreter, an in-memory-only interactive shell. (Meterpreter is a Metasploit attack payload that provides an interactive shell for the attacker to explore the target machine and execute code.)Other payloads are: Static payloads (it enables port forwarding and communications between networks) Dynamic payloads (to evade antivirus software, it allows testers to generate unique payloads) Command shell payloads (enables users to run scripts or commands against a host) Post-Exploitation: Metasploit offers various exploitation tools for privilege escalation, packet sniffing, keyloggers, screen capture, and pivoting tools once on the target machine. Resolution and Re-Testing: Users set up a persistent backdoor if the target machine gets rebooted. These available features in Metasploit make it easy to configure as per the user's requirements. 4. Why Choose Metasploit Framework for your Business? Significant advantages of the Metasploit Framework are discussed below: Open-source: Metasploit Framework is actively developed as open-source software, so most companies prefer this to grow their businesses. Easy usage: It is very easy to use, defining an easy-naming conversation with the commands. This also facilitates the building of an extensive penetration test of the network. GUI Environment: It mainly provides third-party instances that are friendly. These interfaces ease the penetration testing projects by providing the facilities with services such as button clicks, over-the-fly vulnerability management, and easy-to-shift workspaces, among others. Cleaner Exits: Metasploit can cleanly exit without detection, even if the target system does not restart after a penetration test. Additionally, it offers various options for maintaining persistent access to the target system. Easy Switching Between Payloads: Metasploit allows testers to change payloads with the 'setpayload' command easily. It offers flexibility for system penetration through shell-based access or meterpreter. 5. Closing remarks From DevSecOps experts to hackers, everyone uses the Ruby-based open-source framework Metasploit, which allows testing via command-line alterations or GUI. Metasploitable is a vulnerable virtual machine ideally used for ethical hacking and penetration testing, in VM security. One trend likely to impact the future of Metasploitable is the increasing use of cloud-based environments for testing and production. It is possible that Metasploitable could be adapted to work in cloud environments or that new tools will be developed specifically for cloud-based penetration testing. Another trend that may impact the future of Metasploitable is the growing importance of automation in security testing. Thus, Metasploitable could be adapted to include more automation features. The future of Metasploitable looks bright as it continues to be a valuable tool for security professionals and enthusiasts. As the security landscape continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Metasploitable adapts to meet the community's changing needs.

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Server Hypervisors

VM Applications for Software Development and Secure Testing

Article | September 9, 2022

Contents 1. Introduction 2. Software Development and Secure Testing 3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing 4. Conclusion 1. Introduction “Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.” —James Bach. Testing software is crucial for identifying and fixing security vulnerabilities. However, meeting quality standards for functionality and performance does not guarantee security. Thus, software testing nowadays is a must to identify and address application security vulnerabilities to maintain the following: Security of data history, databases, information, and servers Customers’ integrity and trust Web application protection from future attacks VMs provide a flexible and isolated environment for software development and security testing. They offer easy replication of complex configurations and testing scenarios, allowing efficient issue resolution. VMs also provide secure testing by isolating applications from the host system and enabling a reset to a previous state. In addition, they facilitate DevOps practices and streamline the development workflow. 2. Software Development and Secure Testing Software Secure Testing: The Approach The following approaches must be considered while preparing and planning for security tests: Architecture Study and Analysis: Understand whether the software meets the necessary requirements. Threat Classification: List all potential threats and risk factors that must be tested. Test Planning: Run the tests based on the identified threats, vulnerabilities, and security risks. Testing Tool Identification: For software security testing tools for web applications, the developer must identify the relevant security tools to test the software for specific use cases. Test-Case Execution: After performing a security test, the developer should fix it using any suitable open-source code or manually. Reports: Prepare a detailed test report of the security tests performed, containing a list of the vulnerabilities, threats, and issues resolved and the ones that are still pending. Ensuring the security of an application that handles essential functions is paramount. This may involve safeguarding databases against malicious attacks or implementing fraud detection mechanisms for incoming leads before integrating them into the platform. Maintaining security is crucial throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC) and must be at the forefront of developers' minds while executing the software's requirements. With consistent effort, the SDLC pipeline addresses security issues before deployment, reducing the risk of discovering application vulnerabilities while minimizing the damage they could cause. A secure SDLC makes developers responsible for critical security. Developers need to be aware of potential security concerns at each step of the process. This requires integrating security into the SDLC in ways that were not needed before. As anyone can potentially access source code, coding with potential vulnerabilities in mind is essential. As such, having a robust and secure SDLC process is critical to ensuring applications are not subject to attacks by hackers. 3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing: Snapshotting: Snapshotting allows developers to capture a VM's state at a specific point in time and restore it later. This feature is helpful for debugging and enables developers to roll back to a previous state when an error occurs. A virtual machine provides several operations for creating and managing snapshots and snapshot chains. These operations let users create snapshots, revert to any snapshots in the chain, and remove snapshots. In addition, extensive snapshot trees can be created to streamline the flow. Virtual Networking: It allows virtual machines to be connected to virtual networks that simulate complex network topologies, allowing developers to test their applications in different network environments. This allows expanding data centers to cover multiple physical locations, gaining access to a plethora of more efficient options. This empowers them to effortlessly modify the network as per changing requirements without any additional hardware. Moreover, providing the network for specific applications and needs offers greater flexibility. Additionally, it enables workloads to be moved seamlessly across the network infrastructure without compromising on service, security, or availability. Resource Allocation: VMs can be configured with specific resource allocations such as CPU, RAM, and storage, allowing developers to test their applications under different resource constraints. Maintaining a 1:1 ratio between the virtual machine processor and its host or core is highly recommended. It's crucial to refrain from over-subscribing virtual machine processors to a single core, as this could lead to stalled or delayed events, causing significant frustration and dissatisfaction among users. However, it is essential to acknowledge that IT administrators sometimes overallocate virtual machine processors. In such cases, a practical approach is to start with a 2:1 ratio and gradually move towards 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and so on while bringing virtual allocation into IT infrastructure. This approach ensures a safe and seamless transition towards optimized virtual resource allocation. Containerization within VMs: Containerization within VMs provides an additional layer of isolation and security for applications. Enterprises are finding new use cases for VMs to utilize their in-house and cloud infrastructure to support heavy-duty application and networking workloads. This will also have a positive impact on the environment. DevOps teams use containerization with virtualization to improve software development flexibility. Containers allow multiple apps to run in one container with the necessary components, such as code, system tools, and libraries. For complex applications, both virtual machines and containers are used together. However, while containers are used for the front-end and middleware, VMs are used for the back-end. VM Templates: VM templates are pre-configured virtual machines that can be used as a base for creating new virtual machines, making it easier to set up development and testing environments. A VM template is an image of a virtual machine that serves as a master copy. It includes VM disks, virtual devices, and settings. By using a VM template, cloning a virtual machine multiple times can be achieved. When you clone a VM from a template, the clones are independent and not linked to the template. VM templates are handy when a large number of similar VMs need to be deployed. They preserve VM consistency. To edit a template, convert it to a VM, make the necessary changes, and then convert the edited VM back into a new template. Remote Access: VMs can be accessed remotely, allowing developers and testers to collaborate more effectively from anywhere worldwide. To manage a virtual machine, follow these steps: enable remote access, connect to the virtual machine, and then access the VNC or serial console. Once connected, full permission to manage the virtual machine is granted with the user's approval. Remote access provides a secure way to access VMs, as connections can be encrypted and authenticated to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, remote access allows for easier management of VMs, as administrators can monitor and control virtual machines from a central location. DevOps Integration: DevOps is a collection of practices, principles, and tools that allow a team to release software quickly and efficiently. Virtualization is vital in DevOps when developing intricate cloud, API, and SOA systems. Virtual machines enable teams to simulate environments for creating, testing, and launching code, ultimately preserving computing resources. While commencing a bug search at the API layer, teams find that virtual machines are suitable for test-driven development (TDD). Virtualization providers handle updates, freeing up DevOps teams, to focus on other areas and increasing productivity by 50 –60%. In addition, VMs allow for simultaneous testing of multiple release and patch levels, improving product compatibility and interoperability. 4. Conclusion The outlook for virtual machine applications is highly promising in the development and testing fields. With the increasing complexity of development and testing processes, VMs can significantly simplify and streamline these operations. In the future, VMs are expected to become even more versatile and potent, providing developers and testers with a broader range of tools and capabilities to facilitate the development process. One potential future development is integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into VMs. This would enable VMs to automate various tasks, optimize the allocation of resources, and generate recommendations based on performance data. Moreover, VMs may become more agile and lightweight, allowing developers and testers to spin up and spin down instances with greater efficiency. The future of VM applications for software development and security testing looks bright, with continued innovation and development expected to provide developers and testers with even more powerful and flexible tools to improve the software development process.

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Virtual Desktop Strategies, Server Hypervisors

Addressing Multi-Cloud Complexity with VMware Tanzu

Article | April 27, 2023

Introduction With cloud computing on the path to becoming the mother of all transformations, particularly in IT's ways of development and operations, we are once again confronted with the problem of conversion errors, this time a hundredfold higher than previous moves to dispersed computing and the web. While the issue is evident, the remedies are not so obvious. Cloud complexity is the outcome of the fast acceleration of cloud migration and net-new innovation without consideration of the complexity this introduces in operations. Almost all businesses are already working in a multi-cloud or hybrid-cloud environment. According to an IDC report, 93% of enterprises utilize multiple clouds. The decision could have stemmed from a desire to save money and avoid vendor lock-in, increase resilience, or businesses might have found themselves with several clouds as a result of the compounding activities of different teams. When it comes to strategic technology choices, relatively few businesses begin by asking, "How can we secure and control our technology?" Must-Follow Methods for Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Success Data Analysis at Any Size, from Any Source: To proactively recognize, warn, and guide investigations, teams should be able to utilize all data throughout the cloud and on-premises. Insights in Real-Time: Considering the temporary nature of containerized operations and functions as a service, businesses cannot wait minutes to determine whether they are experiencing infrastructure difficulties. Only a scalable streaming architecture can ingest, analyze, and alert rapidly enough to discover and investigate problems before they have a major impact on consumers. Analytics That Enables Teams to Act: Because multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud strategies do not belong in a single team, businesses must be able to evaluate data inside and across teams in order to make decisions and take action swiftly. How Can VMware Help in Solving Multi-Cloud and Hybrid-Cloud Complexity? VMware made several announcements indicating a new strategy focused on modern applications. Their approach focuses on two VMware products: vSphere with Kubernetes and Tanzu. Since then, much has been said about VMware's modern app approach, and several products have launched. Let's focus on VMware Tanzu. VMware Tanzu Tanzu is a product that enables organizations to upgrade both their apps and the infrastructure that supports them. In the same way that VMware wants vRealize to be known for cloud management and automation, Tanzu wants to be known for modern business applications. Tanzu uses Kubernetes to build and manage modern applications. In Tanzu, there is just one development environment and one deployment process. VMware Tanzu is compatible with both private and public cloud infrastructures. Closing Lines The important point is that the Tanzu portfolio offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of where applications operate and how they are controlled. We observe an increase in demand for operating an application on any cloud, and how VMware Tanzu assists us in streamlining the multi-cloud operation for MLOps pipeline. Apart from multi-cloud operation, it is critical to monitor and alarm each component throughout the MLOps lifecycle, from Kubernetes pods and inference services to data and model performance.

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Virtual Desktop Strategies

Network Virtualization: Gaining a Competitive Edge

Article | July 26, 2022

Network virtualization (NV) is the act of combining a network's physical hardware into a single virtual network. This is often accomplished by running several virtual guest computers in software containers on a single physical host system. Network virtualization is the gold standard for networking, and it is being adopted by enterprises of all kinds globally. By integrating their existing network gear into a single virtual network, enterprises can save operating expenses, automate network and security processes, and set the stage for future growth. Businesses can use virtualization to imitate many types of traditional hardware, including servers, storage devices, and network resources. Three Forces Driving Network Virtualization Demand for enterprise networks keeps rising, driven by higher end-user demands and the proliferation of devices and business software. Through network virtualization, IT businesses are gaining the ability to respond to evolving needs and match their networking capabilities with their virtualized storage and computing resources. According to a recent SDxCentral survey, 88% of respondents believe that adopting a network virtualization solution is "mission critical" and that it is necessary to assist IT in addressing the immediate requirements of flexibility, scalability, and cost savings (both OpEx and CapEx) in the data center. Speed Today, consider any business as an example. Everything depends on IT's capacity to assist business operations. When a company wants to 'surprise' its clients with a new app, launch a competitive offer, or pursue a fresh route to market, it requires immediate IT assistance. That implies IT must move considerably more swiftly, and networks must evolve at the rapid speed of a digitally enabled organization. Security According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, the average organization experiences two successful cyberattacks every week. Perimeter security is just insufficient to stem the flood, and network experts are called upon to provide a better solution. The new data center security approach will: Be software-based Use the micro-segmentation principle Adopt a Zero Trust (ZT) paradigm In an ideal world, there would be no difference between trustworthy and untrusted networks or sectors, but a ZT model necessitates a network virtualization technology that allows micro-segmentation. Flexibility Thanks to the emergence of server virtualization, applications are no longer linked to a specific physical server in a single location. Applications can now be replicated to eliminate a data center for disaster recovery, moved through one corporate data center to another, or slipped into a hybrid cloud environment. The problem is that network setup is hardware-dependent, and hardwired networking connections restrict them. Because networking services vary significantly from one data center to the next, as an in-house data center differs from a cloud, you must perform extensive personalization to make your applications work in different network environments—a significant barrier to app mobility and another compelling reason to utilize network virtualization. Closing Lines Network virtualization is indeed the future technology. These network virtualization platform characteristics benefit more companies as CIOs get more involved in organizational processes. As consumer demand for real-time solutions develops, businesses will be forced to explore network virtualization as the best way to take their networks to another level.

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Spotlight

Force10 Networks

Force10 Networks develops high-performance data center solutions powered by the industry’s most innovative line of open, standards-based, networking hardware and software. The company’s Open Cloud Networking framework grants Web 2.0/portal operators, cloud and hosting providers, enterprise and special-purpose data center customers new levels of flexibility, performance, scale and automation—fundamentally changing the economics of data center networking. Force10 Networks operates globally, providing 24x7 service and support to its customer base in more than 60 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.force10networks.com.

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