VMware vCSA 5.5 – Ready for Prime-time & the War Fighter

At VMworld US in San Francisco last week, VMware had quite a few different announcements around the 5.5 release of vSphere.

Announcements around the vCenter Server Appliance really hit home for me in the Federal space.

Ready for Prime-time
In vSphere 5.5, the vCenter Server Appliance limitations have been extremely raised when using the vCenter Server Appliance:

Previous to vSphere 5.5, the limits were:

  • 5 vSphere Hosts
  • 50 Virtual Machines

With vSphere 5.5, the limits are now:

In short the vCenter Server Appliance now has the horsepower to run in many, if not most vSphere Environments – even in the Fed space.

More Secure
My good friend Mike Foley at VMware, posted a couple articles about the vCenter Server Appliance in version 5.5.  In Part 1, he denotes some of the hardening that has been added to the vCenter Server Appliance, as well as other virtual appliances.  Check that post out here:
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/09/virtual-appliances-getting-more-secure-with-vsphere-5-5-part-1.html

STIGs
Now, more specifically targeting the “War Fighter.” It is no secret that DISA (the Defense Information Systems Agency) provides a significant amount of guidance around the process of securing different Information Technology assets. These include, but are not limited to Operating Systems, Applications, etc.  One of the terms often used is STIGs.  This is an acronym for Security Technical Implementation Guides.  These can be found here: http://iase.disa.mil/stigs/

How-To’s
Mike has additional posts detail making the vCenter Server Appliance more  STIG compliant.  In Part 1, Mike details how many of the appliances released with vSphere 5.5 have a more secure footprint. In his subsequent posts, he goes into more detail on the process of making the vCenter Server Appliance for vSphere 5.5 STIG Compliant. The additional posts can be found here:
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/09/virtual-appliances-getting-more-secure-with-vsphere-5-5-part-2.html
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/09/virtual-appliances-getting-more-secure-with-vsphere-5-5-part-3.html
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/09/virtual-appliances-getting-more-secure-with-vsphere-5-5-part-4.html

Now the vCenter Server Appliance for vSphere 5.5 has the capability to support more hosts and more virtual machines, in conjunction with the fact that it can be STIG compliant…

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