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Trusted Compute Pool Use Case Instantiation

Although all of the Cisco blades in this PoC were fully Intel TXT-capable, it was important to have a contrast between trusted and untrusted servers so as to differentiate trusted pools and prove the controls and status reporting mechanisms. For this reason, Intel TXT was disabled in the system BIOS configuration settings in one of the Cisco UCS blades to prohibit the system from executing a trusted launch. HyTrust Appliance had full integration of remote attestation capabilities. From VMWare ESXi side, the measured elements included the VMkernel, kernel modules, drivers, native management applications that run on ESXi, and any boot-time configuration options. As shown in Figure 3-9, the trust status dashboard of the HyTrust Appliance shows an unknown BIOS trust status, unknown VMM status, and overall unknown status for the second Cisco UCS blade as a consequence of disabling the Intel TXT support.

Figure 3-9. HyTrust trust attestation service dashboard indicating two trusted hosts and one untrusted host

Remote Attestation with HyTrust

The HyTrust Appliance provides extensive support for Intel TXT, plus policy control functionality for this use case—essentially establishing the parameters and policies for a trusted compute pool. As shown in Figure 3-10, the HyTrust Appliance provides management of critical platform attestation functionality, whitelisting of known-good measurements, and trust operation and report dashboards for trusted compute pools,

as well as a broad set of other virtualization security controls for workloads, servers, and administrators. The HyTrust Appliance and these solutions were used to detect, measure, and report the trust of both the server platforms and the hypervisor, and to implement workload controls (VM migration, etc.) based on the required platform trust attributes.

Figure 3-10. HyTrust Appliance with remote trust attestation architecture

To summarize, the remote attestation process provides an independent evaluation of the integrity measurements of the firmware, BIOS, and the VMM against knowngood (whitelist) program components, and it securely makes that assertion available to the HyTrust Appliance policy enforcement and reporting components. The evaluation of the measurements is comprehensive and covers the core of the BIOS, the BIOS configurations, the VMM kernel, and various VMM modules loaded as part of the VMware ESXi launch. Figure 3-11 shows a snapshot of the actual measurements of an ESXi Server with the known-good or whitelist values.

Figure 3-11. Trust attestation service trust report view

 
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