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Community Blog Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M – Part 3: Attaining O&M Perfection with Bastionhost

Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M – Part 3: Attaining O&M Perfection with Bastionhost

This article explores the architecture and operational intricacies of Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost.

By Shantanu Kaushik

Bastionhost is a state-of-the-art cloud-based O&M solution from Alibaba Cloud, but it offers a lot more than what is on the surface. The evolving cloud practices require a certain set of features to start with, and this requirement increases every year, with a new default set every decade.

Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost responds to a need for an automated, efficient, and effective operation and maintenance solution that incorporates a security audit platform. Bastionhost is an O&M solution that offers identity authentication and account management scenarios. In this article, we will explore the architecture and operational intricacies of Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost.

To begin, let’s take at the diagrams below to see how services work with and without Bastionhost. The first image below is a representation of O&M using Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost:

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The second image represents an architecture without Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost management:

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The main difference between both architectures is clear. You get a unified and centralized approach with an effective O&M with Bastionhost, but the operations are messy and improperly managed without it.

We have established how Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost works. Now, let’s discuss each aspect of this solution.

O&M

Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost offers a centralized approach to service operations. You can easily manage asset O&M permissions, monitor, and reproduce any O&M scenarios in real-time. This helps you work on identity authentication, performing operation audits, and enable access control.

You can troubleshoot issues easily using Bastionhost:

  • Backtracking of O&M Events
  • Management of Assets
  • Assignment of Responsibilities
  • Authority Management

Some of the main benefits associated with Bastionhost O&M are listed below:

  • Supports client/server architecture for protocols, such as SSH, RDP, or SFTP
  • Supports clients, such as PuTTY, SecureCRT, XShell, WinSCP, and MSTSC
  • Extends one-click synchronization for Alibaba Cloud ECS instances and RDS dedicated clusters
  • Supports thousands of concurrent sessions
  • Provides SLA granted stability of service
  • Supports O&M failure reviews to help set up better O&M standards
  • Supports visual audit records to help record and broadcast the O&M sessions. This helps reproduce the entirety of the O&M process for evidence collection and monitoring and tracking events.
  • Supports cloud and on-premise asset management
  • Supports the synchronization of RAM users in an Alibaba Cloud account
  • Supports synchronization of AD and LDAP users

Bastionhost allows the O&M personnel to manage and maintain all server assets with a single sign-on with a centralized portal to access server resources and manage assets. Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost manages all accounts and passwords in a centralized manner that simplifies account management.

Security and Authorization

Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost implements the security control based on principles of least privilege. The Principles of Least Privilege (PoLP) is a security concept that provides permissions and access based on requirements. In PoLP, you are essentially assigning the lowest level of access needed (least amount of access) for an individual (role) to successfully complete a task.

PoLP is among the best practices for security in the IT industry. Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost provides a centralized management system to provide a seamless and effective user permission control system, as required by PoLP. This enables Bastionhost to assign permission to users and user groups for tasks, such as file creation, upload, or download.

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Only the permissions required to a complete a role are granted

Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost provides superb identity authentication features with two-factor authentication using the SMS verification code structure for user login and identity verification.

Bastionhost supports high-risk command blocking scenarios. Imagine a scenario where a command runs to delete data and format your system disks. This could be a breach attempt, a fault, or misconfiguration. To avoid this situation, Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost automatically blocks such commands and prevents any accidents that could hurt your business productivity and cause further irreparable damage.

Use-Case Scenarios

High-Availability Requirements

Let’s refer to the architecture of Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost. This diagram below depicts High-Availability and Elastic Bandwidth with Bastionhost:

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The high-availability architecture enables you to balance service loads according to the operations demand. This ensures a higher level of O&M efficiency to maintain a smooth and stable O&M experience. HA architecture with Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost is highly recommended for enterprises and businesses that require constant monitoring and frequent O&M services, such as finance and banking industries, e-commerce platforms, and the gaming industry. You get O&M audits in real-time with high-availability architecture.

Elastic Bandwidth helps you scale the allocated bandwidth on-demand and in real-time. This ensures stable performance for thousands of concurrent O&M tasks and prevents any performance bottlenecks that could interrupt continuous operation during heavy workload scenarios. Elastic Bandwidth helps you create O&M channels to allow access to the service using the Internet and RDP, which helps establish better cross-region O&M scenarios.

Internet Industries

Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost provides access to many server resources with one click. The Internet industry has seen exponential growth over the last two decades, and maintaining secure access to information is important. Bastionhost helps avoid problems with access with account management tools and offers fine-grained permission management.

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Finance Industries

Finance industries thrive on data security for sensitive data. Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost provides security monitoring for O&M operations of server assets, preventing data leakage issues induced by unauthorized access. Bastionhost strengthens the security by preventing breaks in business continuity for an efficient O&M system.

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You can backtrack security events easily and perform seamless audit functions with Bastionhost. Stopping high-risk command execution makes Bastionhost is a perfect candidate for finance industry-specific O&M requirements.

Wrapping Up

O&M is an essential service. When we talk about cloud-based O&M, the service is required to establish the reliability and availability of services. A decent O&M solution has to offer benefits like elastic scaling and high-availability scenarios. Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost provides everything and checks all the boxes that a state-of-the-art O&M solution should check.

In the next article of this series, we will introduce Alibaba Cloud Operation Orchestration Service (OOS). We will discuss different scenarios where Alibaba Cloud OOS can help you perform automated and efficient O&M operations.

Upcoming Articles

  1. Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M – Part 4: Alibaba Cloud Operation Orchestration Service
  2. IDaaS – Why Is Identity Management Important?
  3. Data Encryption and Protection with HSM
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