TSX-EMEA: ESX Console Security

Describes how to make the ESX Service Console authenticate to an Active Directory system.

Presenter: Yvo Wiskerke, Senior Consultant PSO, VMware.

I arrived late to this presentation after doing a brief video interview with Richard Garsthagen, Scott Herold and Alessandro Perilli. However, I was in time to see Yvo demonstrate how to make the ESX Service Console authenticate to an Active Directory system. Now I guess you might know about esxcfg-auth and Steve Beavers “ldap_search”. Yvo went for another approach which I was very impressed with. Using “Winbind”, which does ship as an RDM on the ESX cd., it allows you to join an ESX host to the domain from the command-line and will create “trusted” computer account objects in Active Directory. Yvo was able to setup authentication to ldap without creating users on the ESX host at all. As well as servicing SSH/puTTy style connection, he was able to prove that WinBind would allow the Vi Client to work with AD without VirtualCenter.

This approach is not without dangers if it is not correctly configured. In its basic format anyone with a valid AD account could log on to the ESX host. This is easily fixed by modifying the processing order of the main PAM files and by using tools like Sudo to control access to commands at the ESX host.

This was first published in April 2007

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