Securing Workloads on Bare-Metal Windows Servers via the VMware NSX-T Agent (Kernel Module)

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Software-defined data centres, software-defined networks, software-defined storage – they are all great, aren’t they? They enable us to abstract software-defined-X from the physical and allows us to scale at speed via automation. However, physical servers, the elephant in the room, still exist, and they likely will for some time.

So then, can we integrate physical devices into a software-defined world? Yes. But, NSX-T micro-segmentation is only available to virtual machines, right? No. By using the VMware NSX-T Agent/kernel module, we can provide connectivity to bare-metal workloads and enable them to participate and leverage the same security functions as those enjoyed by virtual machines.

In this article, we deploy the NSX-T Agent to a Windows Server 2019 webserver hosting IIS and secure the physical, bare-metal server utilising the NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW).

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London VMUG - LonVMUG

London VMUG – 15th July 2021

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Earlier this month, I was honoured to have been able to present at the London VMware User Group. My session focussed on a discussion and demonstration around how we can leverage VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) to visualise applications, their dependencies, and their application traffic flows to effectively micro-segment an application using the VMware NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW).

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VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 5 – Data Flow Analysis & Micro-Segmentation

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In the previous articles of this series, we covered the installation (VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 1 – Installation) and configuration (VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 2 – Configuration) of vRealize Network Insight, before integrating vRNI with Microsoft Active Directory via LDAP (VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 3 – Identity & Access Management via LDAP).

In the most recent article (VMware vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) – Part 4 – Application Discovery), we delved into application discovery. We defined four applications via several options – manual creation of an application, as well as automated discovery based on vSphere Tags/Custom Attributes and VM naming conventions.

In this final article of the series, we will explore and analyse the collected data flows of one of the previously defined applications. The goal here is to identify all valid traffic flows required to secure the application utilising the NSX-T Distributed Firewall (DFW). My friends, today we look at micro-segmentation.

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Patch VMware vSphere Host via ESXCLI

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There may be some scenarios where you will need to patch a vSphere Host manually. Maybe the host is air-gapped for security purposes, or maybe the host is simply a standalone ESXi Server and isn’t connected to a vCenter Server.

Patching the host is a simple enough exercise, and in this article, I detail both the implementation and validation steps.

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Upgrading VMware NSX-T Data Center to 3.1

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With the recent announcement and general availability of VMware NSX-T Data Center 3.1 on Friday 30th October 2020, we have a number of enhancements, new features, and functionality. The new features and functionality can be seen in a previous post (VMware NSX-T 3.1.0 Release Announcement), however, I realise I’ve never discussed the upgrade procedure itself.

Upgrading NSX-T Data Center couldn’t be easier. Yes, there are some disruptive elements, however, if your NSX-T design has redundancy built-in, we aren’t talking much. Upgrading the edge and transport nodes is as simple as you can imagine, as is the process of upgrading the NSX Managers themselves and, in this article, I cover the process from start to finish.

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