The ESXi host generates and uses internal keys to encrypt virtual machines and disks. VCenter Server stores only the ID of each KEY, but not the key itself.
If a host reboots, center Server requests the KEY with the corresponding ID from the KMS and makes it available to ESXi. The key that center Server retrieves from the KMS unlocks an encrypted bundle in the AMX file that contains internal keys and other secrets.
You can use the sphere API to perform either a shallow decrypt operation with a new KEY or deep decrypt operation with a new internal key. Note: Core dumps on the center Server system are not encrypted.
Note: For information on some limitations concerning devices and features that sphere Virtual Machine Encryption can interoperate with, see. Virtual machine configuration files Most of the virtual machine configuration information, stored in the AMX and VMS files, is not encrypted.
The default Administrator system role includes all Cryptographic Operations privileges. You can create additional custom roles, for example, to allow a group of users to encrypt virtual machines but to prevent them from decrypting virtual machines.
Perform a deep decrypt of a virtual machine (use a different DECK). Perform a shallow decrypt of a virtual machine (use a different KEY).
Crypto-util Decrypt encrypted core dumps, check whether files are encrypted, and perform other management tasks directly on the ESXi host. The following options are available when you generate new encryption keys for a virtual machine.
See sphere Web Services SDK Programming Guide. A deep decrypt requires that the virtual machine is powered off and contains no snapshots.
Also, shallow decrypt is not supported on a linked clone of a virtual machine or disk. If the shallow decrypt fails before updating all links in the chain with the new KEY, you can still access the encrypted virtual machine as long as you have the old and new Keys.
Encryption generally uses a key of some sort to make data unreadable. Today’s encryption technology is extremely powerful and is a tremendously effective mechanism in preventing unwanted theft of data.
VMware has implemented the ability to do virtual machine encryption in sphere 6.5. In this post, we will take a closer look at VMware sphere virtual machine encryption configuration, how the technology protects your data and how it is implemented.
VM encryption provides security to the MDK that stores the data for a virtual machine. The I/O operations are encrypted from a virtual machine before they are written to the MDK disk.
Imagine the scenario and use case of how this type of security protects your virtualized environment and perhaps, very sensitive data. If an unscrupulous system administrator or someone who has potential access to the VMware sphere storage copied the virtual machine disk files to a removable device, they could take the disk to another VMware sphere environment, import the virtual machine disk files into the new environment, power up the virtual machine, and have access to all the data stored on the virtual machine disk file that was copied from the source environment.
They could then perform the same task as above and import the virtual machine into a new VMware sphere environment, perhaps at home. Passwords can potentially be gathered from the “offline” Active Directory environment and provide an extremely dangerous security situation if this goes undiscovered.
Virtual machine disks that are not encrypted are fully readable with no special effort on the part of the attacker outside of having access to the data. Let’s take a look at the requirements and steps to enable virtual machine encryption in VMware sphere.
The first requirement as listed is to provision a Key Management Server cluster. In the below walkthrough, we will add a supported KMS cluster server solution to the VMware sphere environment for use with virtual machine encryption tasks.
Navigate to the Configure menu of the center Server inside the sphere client. Adding a new Key Management Server in the properties of the VMware center Server configuration This will launch the Add KMS dialog box that will allow you to Create new cluster or point to an existing cluster.
Below we are creating a new KMS cluster inside the center Server configuration. Click this button to open the further configuration for trusting the KMS server.
Since in the lab, I have a certificate downloaded from the KMS server and a private key, I will be uploading these to center for establishing trust. To encrypt virtual machine disks, right-click on a virtual machine in the sphere client inventory, and choose VM Policies > Edit VM Storage Policies.
Note how you can granular assign storage policies, including encryption on a per-disk basis. The new functionality contained in VMware sphere to encrypt the VM configuration and hard disk files provides a powerful way to ensure that virtual machine data is not easily stolen, copied, or access in an unauthorized way outside the sanctioned VMware sphere infrastructure.
VMware continues to provide great functionality to ensure the security of virtual infrastructure and protect business-critical and sensitive data. Follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds for new releases, updates, insightful posts and more.
Brandon is a prolific blogger and contributes to the community through various blog posts and technical documentation primarily at Virtualizationhowto.com When you create a virtual machine with VMware Workstation, its execution is isolated from the host system.
Since everything is stored in clear in these defiles, it's thus possible to read the contents of the hard disk of this virtual machine. Normally, defiles are readable by any program compatible with that format, and your virtual machine's configuration file is also accessible in plain text.
In VMware Workstation, when you select your virtual machine, you can do what you want with it at this time. Note : this process can take a long time depending on the size of your virtual machine and mainly depending on the actual size of the virtual hard disks associated with it.
From now, the configuration file of your virtual machine will no longer be readable from external programs, such as Notepad for example. If you close VMware Workstation (or your virtual machine's tab) and select it again, you will be prompted for a password.
The only difference is that performance can be slightly altered due to encryption/decryption of data on the fly. You can also allow or not hot-plug USB devices to this virtual machine to prevent, for example, spreading viruses, and it retrieves data from the virtual machine to store them directly on its USB key.
You can also automatically expire the virtual machine on a specific date if you wish. If you click the “Advanced” button at the bottom right, you can also specify the message to display when the virtual machine has expired and specify which time-server to contact to find out when the virtual machine will be expired.
Nokogerra Enthusiast Posts: 43 Liked: 2 times Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:12 am Full Name: Anatolia Pylon Postby nokogerra Fri Nov 27, 2021 11:55 am this post Hello there. I have a few questions about encrypted VM backup process and I can't find the answers in the documentation (or can't understand them).
But why should I encrypt the proxy in case of NAD transport? Well, I can imagine the linux-guest FLR: the helper is deployed in the sphere, the encryptedVMDK is mounted to the appliance from the backup, and ESXi, which runs the helper, just get the KEY with the corresponding ID through the center.
Does anyone have the experience about how backup performance degrades in case of encrypted VMs? I can boot virtual machines on them with Sun XML VirtualBox, and they work just fine.
However, I want to mount them on my local computer, so I can read some files off of them without starting a virtual machine. Thinking it's a problem with the utility, I downloaded the SDK and made my own simple program in C to try to mount a disk.
It just initializes the API, connects to it, then attempts to open the disk. I just copied them to mine and created new VMs around them, but they work fine.