The complexity of auditing infrastructure in a virtual world

We live in a world where assets are becoming more ethereal - virtual infrastructure is not uncommon. We also live in a world of compliance, where constant measurement against complicated government and industry regulation and internal policy and procedure is the norm. You can't be always be assured ahead of time what information you might need for an audit or policy check.

When virtualization became a reality back in the early 2000s, people didn't virtualize their most trusted assets. It was risky and you paid a tax on performance in order to achieve the benefits of assets that could be paused, moved and reconfigured on the fly like you can with virtualized assets. Well virtualization has matured greatly over the last decade and the barriers to implementation are effectively gone. Even the last hold-outs that required seemingly boundless I/O to sustain any sense of user responsiveness (I'm talking about you Exchange and SQL) - can now be virtualized and have benefits over physical implementations (such as virtual switches and devices that are meant to interact wit, protect and optimize your infrastructure).

So the combination of these two initiatives creates in interesting proposition. You audit your Active Directory and Exchange (or other key infrastructure pieces like SharePoint and SQL) - and you've also made them virtual assets. At most organizations the people in control of these two technologies are on different teams and are not always aware of the intricacies of each others toolsets and the critically of preventing an outage.

One thing you can do to understand the intertwined nature of the two technologies is to audit both in such a way that you (or someone in your organization) is made aware of any changes. On the infrastructure side (AD, Exchange, etc) - you're probably already doing this. On the virtual side however, you may not be aware that changes happening to the VMs, Host, Resource Pools or Clusters that may be negatively affecting you and the technology.

That's why with the newest release of ChangeAuditor - version 5.7, we included the ability to gather change and audit information about the virtual infrastructure in the same way and the same place as you're used to with your other technologies. You get the 6 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why and Workstation (or Origin)) that tells you if someone if making changes that can negatively affect you (or worse cause an audit failure or outage). We feel it's so critical that you gain this understanding that we've included the ability to audit VMware with any ChangeAuditor module.

So if you're in the position to either want or need to collect auditing information on your infrastructure, and it's virtualized or has the potential to be virtualized - you need a way to collect information on changes to your infrastructure and the virtual platform. ChangeAuditor can do this for you today.

About the Author