Data Infrastructure Data Protection Diaries Fundamental Security Logical Physical

November 26, 2017 – 6:52 pm

Data Infrastructure Data Protection Security Logical Physical

Companion to Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials – Cloud, Converged, Virtual Fundamental Server Storage I/O Tradecraft ( CRC Press 2017)

server storage I/O data infrastructure trends

By Greg November 26, 2017

This is Part 6 of a multi-part series on Data Protection fundamental tools topics techniques terms technologies trends tradecraft tips as a follow-up to my Data Protection Diaries series, as well as a companion to my new book Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials – Cloud, Converged, Virtual Server Storage I/O Fundamental tradecraft (CRC Press 2017).

Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials Book SDDC

Click here to view the previous post Part 5 – Point In Time Data Protection Granularity Points of Interest, and click here to view the next post Part 7 – Data Protection Tools, Technologies, Toolbox, Buzzword Bingo Trends.

Post in the series includes excerpts from Software Defined Data Infrastructure (SDDI) pertaining to data protection for legacy along with software defined data centers ( SDDC), data infrastructures in general along with related topics. In addition to excerpts, the posts also contain links to articles, tips, posts, videos, webinars, events and other companion material. Note that figure numbers in this series are those from the SDDI book and not in the order that they appear in the posts.

In this post the focus is around Data Infrastructure and Data Protection security including logical as well as physical from chapter 10 , 13 and 14 among others.

SDDC, SDI, SDDI data infrastructure
Figure 1.5 Data Infrastructures and other IT Infrastructure Layers

There are many different aspects of security pertaining to data infrastructures that span various technology domains or focus areas from higher level application software to lower level hardware, from legacy to cloud an software-defined, from servers to storage and I/O networking, logical and physical, from access control to intrusion detection, monitoring, analytics, audit, monitoring, telemetry logs, encryption, digital forensics among many others. Security should not be an after thought of something done independent of other data infrastructure, data center and IT functions, rather integrated.

Security Logical Physical Software Defined

Physical security includes locked doors of facilities, rooms, cabinets or devices to prevent un-authorized access. In addition to locked doors, physical security also includes safeguards to prevent accidental or intentional acts that would compromise the contents of a data center including data Infrastructure resources (servers, storage, I/O networks, hardware, software, services) along with the applications that they support.

Logical security includes access controls, passwords, event and access logs, encryption among others technologies, tools, techniques. Figure 10.11 shows various data infrastructure security–related items from cloud to virtual, hardware and software, as well as network services. Also shown are mobile and edge devices as well as network connectivity between on-premises and remote cloud services. Cloud services include public, private, as well as hybrid and virtual private clouds (VPC) along with virtual private networks (VPN). Access logs for telemetry are also used to track who has accessed what and when, as well as success along with failed attempts.

Certificates (public or private), Encryption, Access keys including .pem and RSA files via a service provider or self-generated with a tool such as Putty or ssh-keygen among many others. Some additional terms including Two Factor Authentication (2FA), Subordinated, Role based and delegated management, Single Sign On (SSO), Shared Access Signature (SAS) that is used by Microsoft Azure for access control, Server Side Encryption (SSE) with various Key Management System (KMS) attributes including customer managed or via a third-party.

SDDC SDDI Data Protection Security
Figure 10.11 Various physical and logical security and access controls

Also shown in figure 10.11 are encryption enabled at various layers, levels or altitude that can range from simple to complex. Also shown are iSCSI IPsec and CHAP along with firewalls, Active Directory (AD) along with Azure AD (AAD), and Domain Controllers (DC), Group Policies Objects (GPO) and Roles. Note that firewalls can exist in various locations both in hardware appliances in the network, as well as software defined network (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), as well as higher up.

For example there are firewalls in network routers and appliances, as well as within operating systems, hypervisors, and further up in web blogs platforms such as WordPress among many others. Likewise further up the stack or higher in altitude access to applications as well as database among other resources is also controlled via their own, or in conjunction with other authentication, rights and access control including ADs among others.

A term that might be new for some is attestation which basically means to authenticate and be validated by a server or service, for example, a host guarded server attests with a attestation server. What this means is that the host guarded server (for example Microsoft Windows Server) attests with a known attestation server, that looks at the Windows server comparing it to known good fingerprints, profiles, making sure it is safe to run as a guarded resources.

Other security concerns for legacy and software defined environments include secure boot, shield VMs, host guarded servers and fabrics (networks or clusters of servers) for on-premises, as well as cloud. The following image via Microsoft shows an example of shielded VMs in a Windows Server 2016 environment along with host guarded service (HGS) components ( see how to deploy here).

Via Guarded Host SDDI SDDC
Via Guarded Hosts, Shielded VMs and Key Protection Services

Encryption can be done in different locations ranging from data in flight or transit over networks (local and remote), as well as data at rest or while stored. Strength of encryption is determined by different hash and cipher codes algorithms including SHA among others ranging from simple to more complex. The encryption can be done by networks, servers, storage systems, hypervisors, operating systems, databases, email, word and many other tools at granularity from device, file systems, folder, file, database, table, object or blob.

Virtual machine and their virtual disks ( VHDX and VMDK) can be encrypted, as well as migration or movements such as vMotions among other activities. Here are some VMware vSphere encryption topics, along with deep dive previews from VMworld 2016 among other resources here, VMware hardening guides here (NSX, vSphere), and a VMware security white paper (PDF) here.

Other security-related items shown in Figure 10.11 include Lightweight Direct Access Protocol (LDAP), Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS), and Kerberos network authentication. Also shown are VPN along with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) network security, along with security and authentication keys, credentials for SSH remote access including SSO. The cloud shown in figure 10.11 could be your own private using AzureStack, VMware (on-site, or public cloud such as IBM or AWS), OpenStack among others, or a public cloud such as AWS, Azure or Google (among others).

Where To Learn More

Continue reading additional posts in this series of Data Infrastructure Data Protection fundamentals and companion to Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press 2017) book, as well as the following links covering technology, trends, tools, techniques, tradecraft and tips.

Additional learning experiences along with common questions (and answers), as well as tips can be found in Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials book.

Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials Book SDDC

What This All Means

There are many different aspects, as well as layers of security from logical to physical pertaining to data centers, applications and associated data Infrastructure resources, both on-premises and cloud. Security for legacy and software defined environments needs to be integrated as part of various technology domain focus areas, as well as across them including data protection. The above is a small sampling of security related topics with more covered in various chapters of SDDI Essentials as well as in my other books, webinars, presentations and content.

From a data protection focus, security needs to be addressed from a physical who has access to primary and protection copies, what is being protected against and where, as well as who can access logically protection copes, as well as the configuration, settings, certificates involved in data protection. In other words, how are you protecting your data protection environment, configuration and deployment. Data protection copies need to be encrypted to meet regulations, compliance and other requirements to guard against loss or theft, accidental or intentional. Likewise access control needs to be managed including granting of roles, security, authentication, monitoring of access, along with revocation.

Get your copy of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials here at, at CRC Press among other locations and learn more here. Meanwhile, continue reading with the next post in this series, Part 7 Data Protection Tools, Technologies, Toolbox, Buzzword Bingo Trends

Ok, nuff said, for now.


Greg Schulz – Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert 2010-2017 (vSAN and vCloud). Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Courteous comments are welcome for consideration. First published on any reproduction in whole, in part, with changes to content, without source attribution under title or without permission is forbidden.

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