Introducing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Base Image

We’re excited to announce our latest step in the further optimizing of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for containers with the release of the RHEL Atomic base image. This image is much smaller than the current RHEL base image, giving just enough to get started on building your application or service.

We carved out python, systemd, and yes, even Yum is gone – leaving you with only the bare bone essentials like glibc, rpm, bash, and their remaining dependencies. This leaves us with an image that’s just under 30MB compressed, 75MB on disk; composed of 81 packages.

Continue reading “Introducing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Base Image”

SELinux Mitigates container Vulnerability

A new CVE, (CVE-2016-9962), for the docker container runtime and runc were recently released. Fixed packages are being prepared and shipped for RHEL as well as Fedora and CentOS. This CVE reports that if you execd into a running container, the processes inside of the container could attack the process that just entered the container.

If this process had open file descriptors, the processes inside of the container could ptrace the new process and gain access to those file descriptors and read/write them, even potentially get access to the host network, or execute commands on the host.

Continue reading “SELinux Mitigates container Vulnerability”

Container Live Migration Using runC and CRIU

In my previous article I wrote about how it was possible to move from checkpoint/restore to container migration with CRIU. This time I want to write about how to actually migrate a running container from one system to another. In this article I will migrate a runC based container using runC’s built-in CRIU support to checkpoint and restore a container on different hosts.

I have two virtual machines (rhel01 and rhel02) which are hosting my container. My container is running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and is located on a shared NFS, which both of my virtual machines have mounted. In addition, I am telling runC to mount the container

Continue reading “Container Live Migration Using runC and CRIU”

Container Tidbits: Adding Capabilities to a Container

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on removing capabilities from a container. But what if you want to add capabilities?

While I recommend that people remove capabilities, in certain situations users need to add capabilities in order to get their container to run.

One example is when you have a app that needs a single capability, like an Network Time Protocol (NTP) daemon container that resets the system time on a machine. So if you wanted to run a container for an ntp daemon, you would need to do a --cap-add SYS_TIME. Sadly, many users don’t think this through, or understand what it means to add a capability.

Continue reading “Container Tidbits: Adding Capabilities to a Container”

Evolution of Containers: Lessons Learned at ContainerCon Europe

Linux containers, and their use in the enterprise, are evolving rapidly. If I didn’t know this already, what I’m seeing at conferences like ContainerCon would confirm it. We’ve moved on from “what are containers, anyway?” to “let’s hunker down and get it right.”

Recently, I attended and spoke at LinuxCon/ContainerCon Europe. Like LinuxCon/ContainerCon North America, many of the keynotes touched on Linux container work going on in the community. At the European edition there was a particularly strong focus on Linux container security and networking. At least six sessions were focused on kernel security, orchestration security, and general container security. Four talks focused on container networking. Along with container security and networking, there were a lot of sessions about cloud native and containerized applications. 

Continue reading “Evolution of Containers: Lessons Learned at ContainerCon Europe”

Secure Your Containers with this One Weird Trick

Did you know there is an option to drop Linux capabilities in Docker? Using the docker run --cap-drop option, you can lock down root in a container so that it has limited access within the container. Sadly, almost no one ever tightens the security on a container or anywhere else.

The Day After is Too Late

There’s an unfortunate tendency in IT to think about security too late. People only buy a security system the day after they have been broken into.

Dropping capabilities can be low hanging fruit when it comes to improving container security.

What are Linux Capabilities?

According to the capabilities man page, capabilities are distinct units of privilege that can be independently enabled or disabled.

The way I describe it is that most people think of root as being all powerful. This isn’t the whole picture, the root user with all capabilities is all powerful. Capabilities were added to the kernel around 15 or so years ago to try to divide up the power of root.

Continue reading “Secure Your Containers with this One Weird Trick”

Notes from the Field – A Summary of the KVM Forum

I attended the KVM Forum in August of this year, and as a new Red Hatter with a lot of VMware experience, it was eye opening. I am seeing a lot of interest in Red Hat Virtualization from my customers, and so I wanted to understand the platform at a much deeper level. KVM is the technology that underpins the Red Hat Virtualization platform. A number of themes emerged for me as I attended sessions and enjoyed the hallway track. This was a forum for developers by developers, so infrastructure types like myself were far and few between but that did not impact my enjoyment of the conference. In fact, as a technical guy coming from a server background, I learned a lot more than I would have learned from a typical infrastructure focused conference. Below, I will highlight some topics that stood out to me.

Continue reading “Notes from the Field – A Summary of the KVM Forum”

Peace in Our Time: Bringing Ops and Dev Together

Frustrated by long delays getting new code into production? Worried that developers are adopting unapproved technologies? In an increasingly automated, containerized world it’s time to adapt your processes and policies so that developers can utilize the latest and most appropriate technology — and operations have full awareness of everything running in their environment.

The Problem and How to Solve It

IT processes, driven by business reliance on Mode 1 applications, have not been designed nor are equipped to handle rapid change. This creates friction between management and operations on one side, and developers on the other. For example, when developer teams want to employ new or different tools than the standards accepted by operations it often creates friction. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

In this post, we are going to take a deeper look at the collaboration that happens between development and operations when building and working with the “latest and greatest” technology stack.

Continue reading “Peace in Our Time: Bringing Ops and Dev Together”