Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Clustering Security

Clustering Security

Clustering security is one of the most important factors that needs to be considered during clustering. Connectivity, especially when they are implemented through the internet, is susceptible to any type of attack.

The attacks to clustering of nodes could come in different forms – it could be as simple as a virus wherein its sole purpose is to destroy files or could be a very powerful spyware that can easily hijack the controls of nodes for malicious purposes.

Those who want to implement clustering have to make sure the nodes, the connections and the implementation of nodes when it comes to handling workload could be optimized for security.

It only takes a single security flaw to destroy the entire clustering configuration. Whenever a network opens up a connection to its administrator, it automatically opens itself to different forms of attacks. This is also possible for users who try to access the nodes and stores data.

In gist, there is always a possibility of attack whenever an interaction happens with the client and the server. This is practically the “security nightmare” in clustering since interaction will always happen which means the nodes are always susceptible to different attacks.

Network Tool Based

Securing the nodes or clusters is based on the configuration of node connections and its connectivity to actual users. These actions are not determined by the hardware connections but they are dictated by network tools or technologies that implement different forms of clustering. Software giants such as Microsoft Corporation and Sun Microsystems and Open Source communities have network tools for proper implementation of different types of clustering.

The recognized names in clustering will always come with tight security measures to ensure that the nodes are not exposed to different attacks. This is also a point of difficulty in terms of implementing security measures. Because of the difference in user interface, how security is implemented or even the configuration of nodes have made migration to a new tool difficult. When a new network tool is implemented for clustering, security might not be immediately implemented.

But whatever network tool is used, it is important to have the latest version. Different types of attacks have been experienced the past year alone that an update is always necessary to achieve optimal security.

Domain Based vs. Local Security

There are tools for implementing clusters that base their security parameters such as administrator credentials in domains. On the other hand, there are tools that push for more security in local nodes. Each security measure has their advantages and disadvantages.

For domain based security for clusters, administrator could easily control the clusters since security is based online. It does not even matter where the administrator implements security and troubleshooting as long as there is a strong connection between the clusters and the administrator. However, domain based security could be easily hacked. Anything that is done online could be monitored and used against the administrator’s will.

Local security on the other hand boasts of optimal security by localizing administrator credentials for access. Most of the network tools for clustering today are using this form of security measure. But this type of security protocol is not easy. It requires a lot of resources especially when they are configured for the first time. Access to local nodes will also be challenging especially when the administrator tries to access them through online connectivity.

The Lesser the Better

Securing the nodes and general cluster is often jeopardized when they are constantly being opened by the network administrator. Continuous interaction from its users to access files and push the application faster is expected but intrusion from the network administrator should be minimized.

Network administrators have to make sure that the clustering configuration and security is done right in its installation. Updating is important but opening the cluster just to make some changes on the cluster because they are not done well for the first time should be minimized.

This is often challenging when administrators have to migrate to another network tool. But even with this challenge, careful configuration should be done especially on network security. As already indicated, making some changes on clustering could easily risk the nodes. With fewer interactions, clustering will not only be secured but the functions will be stable.

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