Article | May 18, 2023
Although remote working or working from home became popular during the COVID era, did you know that the technology that gives the best user experience (UX) for remote work was developed more than three decades ago?
Citrix was founded in 1989 as one of the first software businesses to provide the ability to execute any program on any device over any connection. In 2006, VMware coined the term "virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)" to designate their virtualization products.
Many organizations created remote work arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the phenomenon will continue even in 2022. Organizations have used a variety of methods to facilitate remote work over the years. For businesses, VDI has been one of the most effective, allowing businesses to centralize their IT resources and give users remote access to a consolidated pool of computing capacity.
Reasons Why Businesses Should Use VDI for their Remote Employees?
Companies can find it difficult to scale their operations and grow while operating remotely. VDI, on the other hand, can assist in enhancing these efforts by eliminating some of the downsides of remote work.
As long as employees have sufficient internet connectivity, virtual desktops can accompany them across the world. They can use a tablet, phone, laptop, client side, or Mac to access the virtual desktop.
Reduced Support Costs
Since VDI setups can often be handled by a smaller IT workforce than traditional PC settings, support expenses automatically go down.
Data security is raised since data never leaves the datacenter. There's no need to be concerned about every hard disk in every computer containing sensitive data. Nothing is stored on the end machine while using the VDI workspace. It also safeguards intellectual property while dealing with contractors, partners, or a worldwide workforce.
Comply with Regulations
With virtual desktops, organizational data never leaves the data center. Remote employees that have regulatory duties to preserve client/patient data like function because there is no risk of data leaking out from a lost or stolen laptop or retired PC.
Enhanced User Experience
With a solid user experience (UX), employees can work from anywhere. They can connect to all of their business applications and tools from anywhere they want to call your workplace, exactly like sitting at their office desk, and even answer the phone if they really want to.
One of COVID-19's lessons has been to be prepared for almost anything. IT leaders were probably not planning their investments with a pandemic in mind.
Irrespective of how the pandemic plays out in the future, the rise of remote work is here to stay. If VDI at scale is to become a permanent feature of business IT strategies, now is the moment to assess where, when, and how your organization can implement the appropriate solutions. Moreover, businesses that use VDI could find that the added flexibility extends their computing refresh cycles.
Virtual Desktop Tools, Server Hypervisors
Article | June 8, 2023
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.
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.
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.
Virtual Desktop Tools, Virtual Desktop Strategies
Article | June 8, 2023
The modern application world is advancing at an unprecedented rate. However, the new possibilities these transformations make available don’t come without complexities. IT teams often find themselves under pressure to keep up with the speed of innovation. That’s why VMware provides a production-ready container platform for customers that aligns to upstream Kubernetes, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated (formerly known as VMware Enterprise PKS).
By working with VMware, customers can move at the speed their businesses demand without the headache of trying to run their operations alone. Our offerings help customers stay current with the open source community's innovations while having access to the support they need to move forward confidently.
Many changes have been made to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated edition over the past year that are designed to help customers keep up with Kubernetes advancements, move faster, and enhance security.
The latest version, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.13, bumped to Kubernetes version 1.22 and removed beta APIs in favor of stable APIs that have since evolved from the betas.
Over time, some APIs will evolve. Beta APIs typically evolve more often than stable APIs and should therefore be checked before updates occur. The APIs listed below will not be served with v1.22 as they have been replaced by more stable API versions:
Beta versions of the ValidatingWebhookConfiguration and MutatingWebhookConfiguration API (the admissionregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1 API versions)
The beta CustomResourceDefinition API (apiextensions.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta APIService API (apiregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta TokenReview API (authentication.k8s.io/v1beta1)
Beta API versions of SubjectAccessReview, LocalSubjectAccessReview, SelfSubjectAccessReview (API versions from authorization.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta CertificateSigningRequest API (certificates.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta Lease API (coordination.k8s.io/v1beta1)
All beta Ingress APIs (the extensions/v1beta1 and networking.k8s.io/v1beta1 API versions)
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated helps customers eliminate lengthy deployment and management processes with on-demand provisioning, scaling, patching, and updating of Kubernetes clusters.
To stay in alignment with the Kubernetes community, Containerd will be used as the default container runtime, although Docker can still be selected using the command-line interface (CLI) if needed.
Several updates have been made in regards to networking as well including support of Antrea and NSX-T enhancements.
With Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated version 1.10 and later, customers can leverage Antrea on install or upgrade to use Kubernetes network policies. This enables enterprises to get the best of both worlds: access to the latest innovation from Antrea and world-class support from VMware.
NSX-T was integrated with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated to simplify container networking and increase security. This has been enhanced so customers can now choose the policy API as an option on a fresh installation of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated. This means that users will have access to new features available only through NSX-T policy API. This feature is currently in beta.
In addition, more NSX-T and NSX Container Plug-in (NCP) configuration is possible through the network profiles. This operator command provides the benefit of being able to set configurations through the CLI, and this is persistent across lifecycle events.
We’ve made storage operations in our customers’ container native environments easier, too. Customers were seeking a simpler and more secure way to manage Container Storage Interface (CSI), and we introduced automatic installation of the vSphere CSI driver as a BOSH process beginning with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.11.
Also, as VCP will be deprecated, customers are advised to use the CSI driver. VCP-to-CSI migration is a part of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.12 and is designed to help customers move forward faster.
Implementing new technologies provides users with new capabilities, but it can also lead to new security vulnerabilities if not done correctly. VMware’s goal is to help customers move forward with ease and the confidence of knowing that enhancements don’t compromise core security needs.
This year, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated continued to see improvements that help meet today’s high security standards. Meeting the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks standards is vital for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated.
In recent Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated releases, a few Kubernetes-related settings have been adjusted to ensure compliance with CIS requirements:
Kube-apiserver with --kubelet-certificate-authority settings (v1.12)
Kube-apiserver with --authorization-mode argument includes Node (v1.12)
Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxage argument (v1.13)
Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxbackup argument (v1.13)
Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxsize argument (v1.13)
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated secures all communication between its control plane components and the Kubernetes clusters it manages, using TLS validated by certificates. The certificate rotations have been simplified in recent releases. Customers can now list and simply update certificates on a cluster-by-cluster basis through the “tkgi rotate-certificates” command. The multistep, manual process was replaced with a single CLI command to rotate NSX-T certificates (available since Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.10) and cluster-by-cluster certificates (available since Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.12).
Hardening of images
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated keeps OS images, container base images, and software library versions updated to remediate the CVEs reported by customers and in the industry. It also continues to use the latest Ubuntu Xenial Stemcell latest versions for node virtual machines. With recent releases and patch versions, the version of dockerd, containerd, runc, telegraf, nfs-utils had been bumped to the latest stable and secure versions as well.
By using Harbor as a private registry management service, customers could also leverage the built-in vulnerability scan features to discover the application images CVEs.
VMware is dedicated to supporting customers with production readiness by enhancing the user experience. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition has stayed up to date with the Kubernetes community and provides customers with the support and resources they need to innovate rapidly.
Virtual Desktop Tools, Virtual Desktop Strategies
Article | June 8, 2023
2. Software Development and Secure Testing
3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing
“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.
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.