I’m very proud and honored to be invited again to the next Tech Field Day in Austin (TX). It will be the 16th edition of Tech Field Day (#TFD16), just one year after the 13th, still in Austin (and where I was also invited).

I’m very excited for this event, that remains a must for all techie-people: be a delegate is a unique opportunity to meet interesting people, learn more on products and solutions and usually learn directly by the higher (technical) level of each company… All without biased discussion and always with a high technical level … Contents first in very few words.

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VMware has released (on Feb, 15th) a new vCSA version: vCenter Server 6.5 U1f, with build number 7801515.

This release patches the vCSA operating system (Photon OS) mainly against two vulnerabilities: bounds-check bypass (Spectre-1, CVE-2017-5753) and rogue data cache load issues (Meltdown, CVE-2017-5754). As of now, there is still no patch for branch target injection vulnerability (Spectre-2, CVE-2017-5715).

VMware has also updated the security advisory dealing with all of its virtual appliances updates for Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, VMSA-2018-0007. But note that VMSA-2018-0004.2 has not been updated yet, and it still report that the suggested version for vCenter 6.5 is still 6.5U1e!

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We are still far from a solution for the Meltdown and Spectre, considering the delay of the microcode releases and the complexity of the possible Spectre fixes…

And now, some security researchers from NVIDIA and Princeton have discovered new variants of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws that may be more difficult to be fixed (but also to be exploited) than the originals.

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Runecast announces the new release version 1.7 of its proactive issue detection software, Runecast Analyzer. After the Meltdown and Spectre detection added in the previous releases, this latest version brings other interesting news.

Runecast Analyzer is powered by the largest database of automated VMware KB articles which feed its internal archive of known issues. The interesting aspect of this tool is that it’s very easy and fast to be deployed and that it can work fully in offline mode!

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The mitigations for Meltdown and Spectre issues have involved a combination of different type of fixes: some software based, such as Microsoft and Linux versions of the “kernel page table isolation” protection, but also fome hardware based, like the Intel’s microcode updates (part that is still missing in most cases).

Both type of patches can cause performance overheads and have some kind of impact on your environment. But how can you estimate it (before apply the patches) and how can you measure it (when the patches have been applied)?

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Uila has a very interesting product that provide a holistic full stack monitoring and visualization of an entire infrastructure from the hardware to the applications and services, end-to-end.

Uila provides a non-disruptive and scalable application auto-discovery solution for over 3000 applications and protocols with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology and automatically correlates any application performance issues with underlying network, storage and compute performance to get to root-cause.

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In June 2017, a team constituted of independent researchers, university research labs, and some of Google’s Project Zero members and cyberus technology discovered two security vulnerabilities enabled by the widespread use of speculative execution in most of the CPU. The problem was also independently discovered by other researchers, at about the same time. These vulnerabilities, called Meltdown and Spectre, were made public in January 2018.

Meltdown and Spectre are critical vulnerabilities existing in several modern CPU: these hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. Meltdown and Spectre can affect personal computers, mobile devices, server and several cloud services.

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Linux Kernel 4.15 has been released on 28 Jan 2018 and, thanks to the entire Linux Kernel development team, this release contains the latest code to deal with Meltdown and Spectre issues and minize the related risks.

The Kernel is the core code in the operating system managing low level tasks. In the update both vulnerabilities are explicitly addressed.And the interesting aspect is that the performance are not so bad!

There are infact three instinct vulnerabilities identified, one Meltdown and two variations of Spectre (known as v1 and v2). Kernel 4.15 actually address only Meltdown and Spectre v2 issues.

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Rubrik has announced that it has agreed to acquire Datos IO, a market leader in backup and recovery for NoSQL databases and big data file systems. Datos IO is the application-centric data management company for the multi-cloud world. Datos IO delivers a radically novel approach to data management, helping organizations embrace the cloud with confidence by delivering solutions that protect, mobilize, and monetize their data — at scale.

The acquisition of Datos IO will extend Rubrik’s reach into mission-critical cloud applications and databases increasingly adopted by application and DevOps teams at Fortune 500 companies.

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On May 2017, Dell EMC announced the next generation of PowerEdge servers: the new 14th generation, the first with the new Dell-EMC logo.

After less than 3 years from the introduction of Generation 13 of PowerEdge series, the newly designed 14th generation of the Dell EMC PowerEdge server portfolio forms a secure, scalable compute platform that is the ideal foundation for cloud, analytics or software-defined data center initiatives.

Of course, the new series was not complete with all models at the launch and has been shapen in the following months.

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Veeam licenses software in a variety of ways depending on the specific product and/or use case you are interested in. This includes licensing by the number of CPU sockets on a managed server (or host), as well as by the number of VMs, physical servers, workstations, cloud instances and/or users being managed.

We can summarize the different options (not all are available, it also depends on the product):

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After the special discount for all the eBook (and video) on Packt site, now it’s the turn for the printed book: for one week only, get 25% off all Packt print books as well as FREE shipping!

A good opportunity if you want to buy the Mastering VMware vSphere 6.5 book, or also other books from Packt.

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Meltdown and Spectre are critical vulnerabilities existing in several modern CPU: these hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. Meltdown and Spectre can affect personal computers, mobile devices, server and several cloud services.

There isn’t a single simple way to minimize those security risks, because you need to patch different levels of your stack. For a VMware environment, there are some tools to check your status (and also to help you to apply the right patches).

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This is an article realized for StarWind blog and focused on the pro and cons of an upgrade to vSphere 6.5. See also the original post.

VMware vSphere 6.5 is the latest version of the enterprise server virtual platform from VMware, but the new beta it’s already there for testers. Actually the next version it’s (in the beta) and you can register at https://secure.vmware.com/43478_vSphere_Beta_Reg.

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