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Red Hat Insights Blog

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  • Insights guidelines for deployment at scale

    Authored by: Amaya Gil

    Insights usage varies from customer to customer so there is no real "one size fits all" template. However it is worth highlighting some of the features Red Hat has in place to assist with large sized deployments.

    This is not intended to be a best-practices guide, just some things to consider.

    Deployment

    I typically emphasize how easy it is to deploy insights - with it's minimal steps, due to being SaaS; however, for an even easier deployment of Insights on a large scale, Insights has scripts available in Puppet, Chef and Ansible to use along with our getting started guide. If a customer happens to be also managing these systems via a version of Satellite with Insights integration, mass registration of Insights is built in (via the bootstrap script provided with Satellite).

    Installation Methods

    Proxy

    A proxy is not required to be used for Insights, but typically the systems of customers with larger scale deployments are already set up to communicate with Red Hat via a proxy, rather than being individually connected (or in disconnected environments).

    Insights also supports this infrastructure model via proxy support as an option within our client, so there are no changes that you (as the customer) need to make with how your systems communicate with our servers.

    If you are using a version of Satellite with Insights integration, it can be used as the proxy.

    Frequency

    By default, Insights sends information once a day. e find that this default frequency fits the needs of most accounts.

    However, one may have concerns about the impact, at scale, of all these clients checking in and transmitting a payload on your network. To help with this, we have implemented a default, feature to make the Insights client automatically stagger its check-in time; so rather than all checking in at once, they'll check in individually or random groups. All out of the box!

    And if you want to take it a step further and have full control of your own schedule, the Insights client can be customized via cron (when using RHEL 6) or via systemd (when using RHEL 7.5+).

    Grouping

    Another capability we put in place is "grouping". Grouping allows you to plan remediation based on your Company’s criteria (purpose, localization, etc), giving you greater control of your infrastructure.

    System Grouping

    We find the most common usage of groups are by:

    • Environment (Prod / Dev / QA / Stage / etc)

    • For people or business groups (Amaya's systems / Insights team)

    • Business critical systems (Hadoop / Oracle / Etc)

    • Geographic localization (EMEA / NA / LATAM / APAC)

    Most of these are formed by customers around their workflow. However, some may already have a grouping method in place in other tooling like Satellite or Tower, which they replicate.

    If you are looking to mass group your systems, especially at a large scale, I recommend using the --group functionality in the Insights client upon registration, which allows for quick management and organization of these systems, although you can still do it manually via the UI afterwards. And of course, you can automate this with the methods mentioned before (Ansible, Chef, Puppet).

    Remediation

    Setting up the systems is one thing to consider at scale, but once Insights is setup and detecting all those problems now on 1000+ systems, how do you take action at scale?

    Actions

    A few recommendations in this regards would be:

    • Use Ansible remediation with Insights-generated playbooks to coordinate a fix for one or multiple issues impacting your infrastructure.

    • Use Planner to help coordinate planned remediations for actions and systems.

    • Use groupings for the systems you care about the most, this will chunk up the actions

    • Address by severity - Insights applies one of 4 severity (risk) levels to all actions to help you focus on the most important ones.

    • Attack the low hanging fruit - Insights also provides a "Risk of Change" rating for actions depending on the impact of the change on the environment. Remediating actions with the lowest Risk of Change generally won't require any downtime or coordination.

    Posted: 2018-09-07T15:04:56+00:00
  • Plans within Satellite!

    Authored by: Amaya Gil

    Remediation plans within Satellite!

    One of the most exciting capabilities in Satellite 6.3 is greater integration with Red Hat Insights. Although there are tons of other great features, this one is so important I thought it worth a blog post.

    Using Red Hat Insights from the Satellite UI is now no different than using it in the Customer Portal. The coolest added feature brings the full functionality of Insights Planner to Satellite (planner itself was added in 6.2). You can now create remediation plans and generate Ansible Playbooks from within Satellite! From there, you can also review and download the playbooks to simply apply them when you’re ready.

    Wanna know how? Just keep reading!

    image alt text

    Easily create remediation plans from Satellite 6.3

    Go to Red Hat Insights -> Planner in your Satellite 6.3 and you'll see the same Insights Planner as is in the Customer Portal.

    image alt text

    Click "Create a Plan" in the upper-right corner.

    image alt text

    In the Plan/Playbook Builder, add a name for your plan or playbook. Select the system, systems, or group you want your plan to apply to and the actions you want the plan to solve.

    image alt text

    Insights may give you different resolution options, based on factors such as the risk of change or down time to the system. Choose the one that best fits your requirements.

    image alt text

    Once that's done, your plan will pop up so you can review it. It's shown in a very visual way, so you can, at a glance, see the issues affecting the different systems and the total risk that issue represents.

    image alt text

    Next, download the automatically generated playbook.

    image alt text

    Once you've downloaded it, you can run it using Ansible from the command line as follows:

    [root@tower ]# ansible-playbook payload-ssh-dnsmasq.yml

    Happy remediating!

    Posted: 2018-07-23T09:46:03+00:00
  • Insights 103

    Authored by: Amaya Gil

    Back in the Hood!!

    After a crazy and exciting week of innovations in San Francisco, here I am again to tell you a bit more on how to customize Red Hat Insights to your needs!

    To blacklist or not to blacklist, that is the question

    As explained in my previous post Red Hat Insights 102, you can control the data Red Hat Insights sends to Red Hat servers, how data is sent, and when it is sent. But deviating from the default has its drawbacks too.

    We want to provide our customers with the necessary options and controls to the data that Insights collects. However, with each modification to the default payload sent to Red Hat, you may adversely change the level of analysis Insights provides about your environment. Since Insights collects what is minimally needed for analysis. Each removal of data from the collection payload can impact our rules capabilities to detect the issue within your infrastructure.

    NOTE:

    Before we continue, I want to add a few words about the differences in commands required for RHEL 6 vs. RHEL 7 systems. This will affect many of the commands shared below. The name of the Red Hat Insights client has changed for RHEL 7.5+ but has not yet done so for RHEL 6.

    For RHEL 7.5+ users, the name of the client (and all commands and locations that use the name of the client) is insights-client. For older RHEL users, the name and other changes will come to RHEL 6 with the release of RHEL 6.10. For now though, RHEL 6 users should continue to use the legacy client name: redhat-access-insights.

    Blacklisting information, or how to deny access to certain data

    Red Hat Insights collects metadata about the runtime configuration of a system (approximately 1% of what would be collected via sosreport during a support case) but this data can be customized, anonymized, blacklisted and obfuscated in the way that you need.

    You can decide to exclude entire files, specific commands, specific patterns, and specific keywords from the data that is sent to Red Hat. To enable these exclusions, you simply need to create a file called /etc/redhat-access-insights/remove.conf (or /etc/insights-client/remove.conf if you are already using RHEL 7.5) and specify this file in the remove_file line of /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf (or /etc/insights-client/insights-client.conf if you are already using RHEL 7.5), as in the following example:

    [remove]
    files=/etc/cluster/cluster.conf,/etc/hosts
    commands=/bin/dmseg
    patterns=password,username
    keywords=super$ecret,ultra$ecret
    

    Let's dig into the directives from the example above.

    • files: A comma-separated list of files to be excluded. Each element in the list of files must be the absolute path to the file. To ensure exclusion, file names listed here must match exactly what is shown in the collection rules.
    • commands: A comma-separated list of commands that should not be executed and whose output should not be sent. To ensure exclusion, command names listed here must match exactly what is shown in the collection rules.
    • patterns: A comma-separated list of patterns that should not be sent.
    • keywords: A comma-separated list of keywords that should not be sent. Matching keywords will be replaced with the literal keyword. For this option to take effect, the obfuscate option must be set to True in the /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf file.

    Important!

    Patterns affect entire lines so any line that includes a matching pattern will not be sent.

    As explained in my previous blog post, you can validate data to be sent with the redhat-access-insights --no-upload command.

    Let's get our hands dirty!

    Let's take a look at what's collected and sent to Red Hat by the Red Hat Insights client using the default configuration.

    Insights Host Overview

    To see what’s collected, without actually taking the action of collecting the data, we simply execute the agent with the --no-upload option as follows:

    [root@gherkin ~]# redhat-access-insights --no-upload
    Starting to collect Insights data
    See Insights data in /var/tmp/oLUbKq/insights-gherkin-20180521110933.tar.gz
    

    To inspect what's being collected, we simply have to unzip the generated tar.gz file and dig into it, through commands and files:

    [root@gherkin ~]# tar xvfz /var/tmp/oLUbKq/insights-gherkin-20180521110933.tar.gz
    [root@gherkin ~]# cd ./insights-gherkin-20180521110933/
    

    We can see the hostname being collected:

    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cat insights_commands/hostname
    gherkin
    

    NIC information is also collected:

    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cat insights_commands/ethtool_eno1
    Settings for eno1:
        Supported ports: [ TP ]
        Supported link modes:   10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
                                100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
                                1000baseT/Full
        Supported pause frame use: No
        Supports auto-negotiation: Yes
        Advertised link modes:  10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
                                100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
                                1000baseT/Full
        Advertised pause frame use: No
        Advertised auto-negotiation: Yes
        Speed: 1000Mb/s
        Duplex: Full
        Port: Twisted Pair
        PHYAD: 1
        Transceiver: internal
        Auto-negotiation: on
        MDI-X: off (auto)
        Supports Wake-on: pumbg
        Wake-on: g
        Current message level: 0x00000007 (7)
                       drv probe link
        Link detected: yes    
    

    Kernel version information, architecture, and OS version is collected too:

    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cat insights_commands/uname_-a
    Linux gherkin 3.10.0-693.11.1.el7.x86_64 #1 SMP Fri Oct 27 05:39:05 EDT 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cat insights_commands/uptime
     11:09:39 up 53 days, 10:27,  3 users,  load average: 0.40, 1.24, 0.90
    

    Filesystems currently mounted on our machine:

    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cat insights_commands/mount
    sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
    proc on /proc type proc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
    devtmpfs on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,nosuid,size=16323324k,nr_inodes=4080831,mode=755)
    securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
    tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
    [...]
    

    Insights also collects the hostnames and IPs our system knows about (these are my home LAN's machines):

    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cat etc/hosts
    127.0.0.1   localhost localhost.localdomain localhost4 localhost4.localdomain4
    ::1         localhost localhost.localdomain localhost6 localhost6.localdomain6
    # Máquinas virtuales residentes en gherkin
    192.168.100.250 ansible-tower    ansible-tower.tortilla.org
    192.168.100.189    ansible-node1    ansible-node1.tortilla.org
    192.168.100.199    icg1        icg1.example.com
    192.168.100.202    icg2        icg2.example.com
    192.168.100.147    icg3        icg3.example.com
    192.168.100.194    icg4        icg4.example.com
    

    But what if I don't want to send all that data to Red Hat? Well, let's configure our host so it won't send the previous data.

    First of all, we need to configure /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf to tell the Insights agent where the remove.conf file to be used is located:

    [root@gherkin ~]# vi /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf
    [redhat-access-insights]
    remove_file=/etc/redhat-access-insights/remove.conf
    

    Since we don't want to send our own machine name or IP to Red Hat, in the very same file, we need to specify to obfuscate them as follows:

    # Obfuscate IP addresses
    obfuscate=True
    
    # Obfuscate hostname
    obfuscate_hostname=True
    

    Another thing Red Hat Insights collects is the sshd configuration, for example, the access type:

    [root@gherkin insights-gherkin-20180521110933]# cd etc/ssh/
    [root@gherkin ssh]# grep -E '[P|p]assword' *
    #PermitEmptyPasswords no
    # the setting of "PermitRootLogin without-password".
    

    Now it's the time to tune the remove.conf file to our needs:

    [root@gherkin ~]# vi /etc/redhat-access-insights/remove.conf
    [remove]
    files=/etc/hosts,/proc/cpuinfo
    commands=/bin/dmesg,/bin/mount,/bin/mount,/bin/uname -a,/sbin/ethtool,/usr/bin/uptime
    patterns=password,username
    

    In this way, all the previous information won't be collected and sent. To verify it, we just need to re run the agent with --no-upload option, and see its results:

    [root@gherkin ~]# redhat-access-insights --no-upload
    WARNING: Excluding data from files
    Starting to collect Insights data
    WARNING: Skipping command /bin/dmesg
    WARNING: Skipping command /sbin/ethtool
    WARNING: Skipping command /bin/mount
    WARNING: Skipping command /bin/uname -a
    WARNING: Skipping command /usr/bin/uptime
    WARNING: Skipping file /proc/cpuinfo
    WARNING: Skipping file /etc/hosts
    See Insights data in /var/tmp/eJ9LoU/soscleaner-3125813513575232.tar.gz
    

    By executing the agent, you can see the list of commands that will be skipped, as specified in the remove.conf file).

    In addition, we'll inspect each of the previous commands and files from the tar.gz file:

    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cat insights_commands/hostname
    host0
    
    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cat proc/cpuinfo
    cat: proc/cpuinfo: No such file or directory
    
    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cat etc/hosts
    cat: etc/hosts: No such file or directory
    
    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cat insights_commands/ethtool_eno1
    cat: insights_commands/ethtool_eno1: No such file or directory
    
    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cat insights_commands/mount
    cat: insights_commands/mount: No such file or directory
    
    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cat insights_commands/uptime
    cat: insights_commands/uptime: No such file or directory
    

    And finally, let's verify how patterns also work with the example of the sshd configuration:

    [root@gherkin soscleaner-3125813513575232]# cd etc/ssh/
    [root@gherkin ssh]# ls
    sshd_config
    [root@gherkin ~]# grep -E '[P|p]assword' sshd_config
    

    Wrapping up

    Red Hat Insights has been designed to ensure that minimal, specific data is collected.

    We encourage customers to check what is collected with the --no-upload option prior to making modifications.

    Find out more

    If you want to know about the patterns and files and commands Insights collects data from as well as the the whole list of files and commands that are used to collect data from, you can take a look at this document.

    Posted: 2018-05-29T19:35:47+00:00
  • Red Hat Management & Automation with Insights at Red Hat Summit San Francisco 2018!

    Authored by: Will Nix

    Hi again everyone, I'm Will Nix, Technical Evangelist for Red Hat Management & Automation and I'm headed into my 7th year here at Red Hat. I'm really excited for everyone to join us this year at Red Hat Summit 2018 in San Francisco's Moscone center.

    For the past several years I've presented at Summit, and again this year I'll be presenting in several sessions, labs, and workshops. Check out a really brief description below and join me! Sign up for the events in your Red Hat Summit app, and don't forget to give us feedback on how the sessions went!

    Check out a list of all sessions where we'll be spreading the proactive systems management goodness here: https://agenda.summit.redhat.com/SpeakerDetail.aspx?id=365781:

    Session: Smarter infrastructure management with Red Hat Satellite & Red Hat Insights on Tuesday, May 8 at 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
    Learn how to integrate Satellite and Insights systems managment with prescriptive analytics to prevent unplanned downtime and enable secure deployments in your clouds and datacenters.
    
    Session: Operations risk remediation in highly secure infrastructures on Tuesday, May 8 at 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM
    For customers who are operating in connected highly secure environments and want to take advantage of Red Hat's prescriptive analytics and systems management service, Red Hat Insights.
    
    Mini-session: Monitor and automate infrastructure risk remediation in 15 minutes or less on Tuesday, May 8 at 3:55 PM - 4:15 PM
    A quick 15 minute session on the fastest way to begin monitoring risk in your Red Hat infrastructure.
    
    Lab: Implementing proactive security and compliance automation on Wednesday, May 9 at 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Replay: Implementing proactive security and compliance automation on Wednesday, May 9 at 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Join us in this lab to see how to use various Red Hat management and platform technologies to automate security in your environments.
    
    Lab: Integrated management with Red Hat technologies on Thursday, May 10 at 10:45 AM - 12:45 PM
    Choose your own adventure with each of Red Hat's Management technologies in this integrated lab, highlighting Red Hat CloudForms, Red Hat Ansible Tower, Red Hat Insights, and Red Hat Satellite.
    
    BYOD Workshop: Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat Insights test drive on Thursday, May 10 at 1:45 PM - 3:45 PM
    Bring your own laptop and login to a virtual lab environment where you can test drive Red Hat's latest Satellite 6 to quickly learn how to do content management and prescriptive analytics.
    

    One more thing! Drop by the Red Hat Management and Automation booth to check out demo's of Red Hat Ansible Automation technology, Satellite, CloudForms, and Insights. Let us know how we can help you better manage your mission critical environments.

    Thanks, and see you there!
    -Will

    Posted: 2018-05-01T15:21:09+00:00
  • Insights 102

    Authored by: Amaya Gil

    Before we begin...

    Before we begin with how to configure Red Hat Insights to be tailored to your needs (in terms of controlling what is sent to Red Hat servers and how it is sent) let me please remind you of the very basics of Red Hat Insights…

    Can I control what Red Hat Insights is doing behind the curtains?

    Absolutely!

    Red Hat Insights collects metadata about the runtime configuration of a system. The data collected is 1% of what would be collected via sosreport during a support case. The data collected is a subset of an sosreport, so if a sosreport has been approved for usage, Insights data collection should also be acceptable.

    The Red Hat Insights tool allows customers to review the data being collected by use of a --no-upload parameter. This runs the Insights client & collection, but does not transmit it to Red Hat for analysis. This collection is stored locally in a temporary directory where it can be inspected.

    # ls -lh /var/tmp/TAFHhW/insights-amaya-insights2-20180129165816.tar.gz
    -rw-r--r--. 1 root root 138K Jan 29 16:58 /var/tmp/TAFHhW/insights-amaya-insights2-20180129165816.tar.gz
    # ls -lh /var/tmp/sosreport-amaya-insights2-20180129165924.tar.xz
    -rw-------. 1 root root 12M Jan 29 16:59 /var/tmp/sosreport-amaya-insights2-20180129165924.tar.xz
    

    That data is sent to Red Hat’s servers over SSL and compared to our Support Knowledge Database, looking for matches, and results sent back to customer, in the form of actions, where they are displayed.

    Insights on Red Hat Insights

    Red Hat Insights requires Python-2.6.6-64 or later, being its main configuration file: /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf

    Red Hat Insights registration will auto-detect how the system is registered for software updates and can auto-configure the client based on that information. For auto-configuration, CERT is the default authmethod. Otherwise, authmethod can be set to BASIC, requiring a username and password for the target Insights server (Customer Portal or Satellite).

    Red Hat Insights uses Satellite server as a Proxy to send diagnostic data to the Customer Portal so requires a connected environment.

    Log files

    The log file can be found at /var/log/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.log. The logs rotate each time data is successfully collected, to .log.1,.2,.n, so be aware that if an upload has occurred since the case was opened, relevant logs might now be in a different file.
    The log file records the process of collecting data and uploading that data to the Insights server.

    I still want to control more of it

    Well, you can!

    Insights can be configured by the customer to further restrict what's collected / sent, and optionally to obfuscate hostname and / or IP addresses from reports if desired. Customers can always look at the source code directly from the rpm - everything is made available for their perusal.

    All data is trimmed down to the minimal necessary facts before being uploaded and encrypted both in transit and at rest. The customer may also choose to alter the name chosen to represent the system in the UI (eg,apache01.prod instead of a fully qualified domain name).

    Customers can opt-out of sending any data they wish to the service via a configuration blacklist. The service will continue to function, and only health checks which depend on that specific piece of data will be impacted.

    The Insights client will enable customers to ignore any specific file, keyword or pattern, making data redaction easy to use.

    The data collected is sent over a secure TLS / https connection. It's encrypted at rest on Red Hat's systems using LUKS encryption, and is kept only until the next report is received, which by default is 24 hours. If another report doesn't arrive in the scan interval period, the data on file (encrypted) is kept for a maximum of 2 weeks and then deleted from our systems.

    The Red Hat Insights client also provides an easy parameter to obfuscate hostname and IP information. The actual hostname and IP information is replaced with consistent obfuscated names sufficient for rule analysis.

    How is data collected?

    As new Insights rules are identified, there may be a need for additional metadata collection for analysis and detection. The list of System Information collected by Red Hat Insights is updated on an as-needed basis. The Red Hat Insights client, upon running, pings Red Hat to determine if any additional metadata is needed for rules which have been introduced since the last run. For example, if a new malware check is added, Insights may need to inspect new data sources to determine if a system is impacted.

    This automatic check is enabled by default to ensure customers get all new rules and proactive alerts for their system. This ping to Red Hat can be disabled and manually updated via rpm version; however, this may cause customers to miss out on new health checks which depend on new information.

    When Red Hat updates the collection rules, the rules are GPG signed by the redhat-tools GPG key. The Insights client will immediately abort if this signature cannot be verified. This file is also manually inspected carefully before each update is released.

    Some examples

    These are some of the files Red Hat Insights collects and sends to be processed:

    /etc/redhat-release
    /proc/meminfo
    /var/log/messages
    

    Do not worry! we do not collect the entire messages file, but rather the lines that match a potential rule (i.e. page allocation failure).

    Or some of the commands we run:

    Commands:

    /bin/rpm -qa                        
    /bin/uname -a
    /usr/sbin/dmidecode
    

    If you want to know the whole list of commands run and data collected you can take a look at this document.

    As said, main configuration file is /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf, and it’s a very usual ini type of file with # delimited comments, let’s take a brief look at it:

    [root@server ~]# cat /etc/redhat-access-insights/redhat-access-insights.conf
    
    # Example options in this file are the defaults
    
    # Change log level, valid options DEBUG, INFO, WARNING, ERROR, CRITICAL. Default DEBUG
    #loglevel=DEBUG
    
    # Log each line executed
    #trace=False
    
    # Attempt to auto configure with Satellite server
    #auto_config=True
    
    # Change authentication method, valid options BASIC, CERT. Default BASIC
    #authmethod=BASIC
    
    # username to use when authmethod is BASIC
    #username=
    # password to use when authmethod is BASIC
    #password=
    [...]
    

    To obfuscate your IP addresses, simply add the line:

    obfuscate=True
    

    Or to obfuscate hostnames, simply add the line:

    obfuscate_hostname=True Blacklist
    

    And addding items to the blacklist is as simple as using /etc/redhat-access-insights/remove.conf

    Wrapping up...

    We know you are concerned about the security of your data, yet there are times when it needs to be shared to provide the best capabilities for optimization and management. For this reason I wanted to let you know that the team here at Red Hat understands, and has worked hard to provide you with powerful tools that keep your data safe.
    Wanna know more?? Find more info here.

    Posted: 2018-02-19T17:58:15+00:00
  • Insights 101

    Authored by: Amaya Gil

    The new girl in the hood!

    First of all, let me introduce myself, my name is Amaya Gil and I’m a new Insights SME (so you will see a lot of me from now on), working as a Technical Marketing Manager in the Management BU at Red Hat.

    I’m a Computer Science Engineer from Madrid (Spain) and I’ve been a Redhatter since 2.010 evolving from different EMEA SA roles to the BU.

    I also happen to speak four languages and since English is one of them… here you go!

    What is Red Hat Insights?

    Haven't heard of Red Hat Insights yet? No problem, this is Red Hat Insights first stop!!!

    Red Hat Insights is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that provides continuous, in-depth analysis of registered Red Hat-based systems to proactively identify threats to security, performance and stability across physical, virtual and cloud environments, and container deployments.

    Red Hat Insights analyzes select files on a system, getting smarter with each additional piece of intelligence and data. Red Hat Insights can automatically discover relevant information, proactively recommend tailored next actions, and even automate tasks with Ansible Playbooks. Using Red Hat Insights, customers can benefit from the experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat Certified Engineers, making it easier to identify, prioritize, and resolve issues before business operations are affected.

    As a SaaS offering, Red Hat Insights regularly updates and expands its knowledge base to reflect new IT challenges that can impact the stability of mission-critical systems.

    We even got a video for you!

    If I was still unable to make myself clear with what Red Hat Insights is, in this link I leave you a very quick video that would definitely clear your mind: Introduction to Red Hat Insights

    Getting started with Red Hat Insights

    To access Red Hat Insights, you just need a valid subscription to Red Hat and install the agent on each and every machine you want to monitor, it is as simple as running this command:

    [root@server ~]# subscription-manager register --auto-attach
    ​[root@server ~]# yum install redhat-access-insights
    [root@server ~]# redhat-access-insights --register
    

    But no worries! You can also evaluate Red Hat Insights before purchasing it,
    to begin evaluating Red Hat Insights, visit Insights Evaluation to activate any available evaluations associated with your account. This step must be completed prior to any system registration with Insights (the steps above).

    You must have RHEL 6 and later, or RHEL 7 and later, to use Insights (this process can be automated in different ways, further info can be found at Getting Started with Insights.

    Finally after registration, the Insights client will upload initial system metadata to Red Hat Insights. You should be able to immediately see your system in the Insights user interface.

    Insights from the UI

    First stop is the Dashboard, which will give you a quick overview of your systems, latests news from Red Hat, actions summary and plan summary.

    At a glance, Insights allows you to see your systems health, as well as some other intresting things like Latest news from Red Hat (under Latest box) or your Newest Systems (newly registered into Insights), Actions to be taken (in a summary form) or all of your Plans Summary, which gathers all the actions to be taken into groups of machines (previously defined by you).

    In the left side of the screen you can see all the Insights features in the form of tabs.

    Insights Dashboard Overview

    Insights prioritizes security and displays graphical and easy to understand alerts, that gives you a clear idea of the impact a given risk has for your infrastructure.

    Total Risk

    • Hot items = Red Hat will occasionally update this to point you to new / interesting information or Vulnerabilities.
    • High prio = Systems not checking in or critical suggestions from Red Hat about what to check out.
    • Plan Summary = A glance into current Action Planner plans and their completion status.
    • Actions Summary = numerical representation of topics and categories of problems in the infrastructure

    It’s all very intuitive and easy to use, as you can see.

    Insights Actions

    What can I monitor with Red Hat Insights?

    Insights is delivered as Software-as-a-Service via Red Hat Customer Portal, and integrated with CloudForms (4.0+) and Satellite (5.7, 6.1+)
    Supported Platforms:

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 and higher, RHEL 7 and higher
    • Red Hat OpenStack 7 and higher
    • Red Hat Virtualization 4 and higher
    • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform
    • Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure 6 and higher, and Cloud Suite 6 and higher (included in RHCI/RHCS SKU’s)

    One of the great features of Red Hat Insights is that there is no new infrastructure to manage, and also provides Ansible Tower integration which enables playbooks generated in Red Hat Insights to be automatically imported into Ansible Tower.

    In the next blog post, I will give you some insights on insights, how data is collected, what data is collected, how you can control it... so stay tuned!

    Wanna know more?? Find more info here

    Posted: 2018-02-08T15:10:40+00:00
  • January 2018 service release: A new year, a new look... and webhooks!

    Authored by: Will Nix

    Happy New Year! One way to get this new year started off right is to get started preventing some of the problems and downtime you may have experienced over the holidays. Using Insights can help future proof your infrastructure with integrated Ansible automation and a report on which systems you still need to patch for vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre. Click here to see if you have systems that are missing the latest patches for these critical vulnerabilities.

    Latest release

    We're pleased to announce the latest service release of Red Hat Insights.
    Read below for more information or check out the new features and let us know your thoughts by using the "Provide Feedback" button from within the Insights UI in the top right.

    For more information about the latest Insights release, refer to our Red Hat Insights Release Notes.

    Newest features:

    User Interface Layout

    In an effort to ease workflow and visibility throughout the Insights application we are shifting to a full screen application mode. This both frees up valuable screen space to more efficiently bring you the latest information on critical threats to your infrastructure, and gives us some more room to continue to add features that you request. Remember, keep the feedback coming, there's a provide feedback button at the top of the user interface.
    fullscreen

    Webhooks for integration

    Insights has now enabled our Webhook integration for custom alerts and notifications. Many of the Incident Management and response services that are used today allow for Webhook consumption which allows for Insights notifications in the tools and workflows you already use. For more information on getting Webhooks configured, please visit Understanding Red Hat Insights - Webhook Integration.

    webhooks

    Our engineers, for internal demo purposes, integrated Insights Webhooks functionality with the Slack messaging service. This example allowed for our teams to be notified in chat immediately when new critical issues had been identified on our registered hosts with Insights. For those interested our example code for this integration is online at:
    https://github.com/jharting/insights-slackbot/blob/tutorial/tutorial/Tutorial.md
    Please note, this is example code and is not officially supported by Red Hat.
    slackbot

    CI/CD workflow examples

    We previously added support for Jenkins and CI/CD workflow integration and now we have published some quick start example code. This code is available at https://github.com/RedHatInsights/insights-CI-examples/tree/master/examples/jenkins and we will have additional related materials coming soon right here on our blog.
    Please note, this is example code and is not officially supported by Red Hat.

    cicd

    Newest rules widget

    And to wrap up what's new in this service release, we've added a new widget to the UI with the latest rule additions to the Insights service. Since rules are constantly being added to Red Hat Insights on a regular basis you can now stay up to date with the latest additions on the Overview page. Additional filtering controls around when a rule was added have also been added to our rules page.
    rules

    Thanks for your feedback and helping continue to improve the Insights service. Have a great new year!

    Will

    Posted: 2018-01-10T00:11:44+00:00
  • Avoid unplanned downtime this holiday season with automated risk remediation

    Authored by: Will Nix

    It's that time of year again! Many of us in information technology don't have the luxury of letting our guard down during this crucial time for retail, finance, healthcare, and logistics. Being on call or glued to a monitor or app so that we can keep track of late breaking issues and quickly troubleshoot problems if the need arises is often a requirement in the infrastructure and operations world.

    Downtime is unavoidable. It’s either planned or it's forced.

    We can help you avoid unplanned downtime and save your organization time and effort with a quick introduction to Red Hat's proactive analytics service for security and infrastructure operations: Red Hat Insights.
    downtime

    When your systems are forced down or have known critical vulnerabilities how do you typically respond?

    For those risk averse and security conscious, and to be honest -- who isn’t these days, being informed and having accurate intelligence to more quickly fix vulnerabilities and bugs so that we can safeguard valuable data and achieve greater infrastructure stability is only half the battle.

    actions

    The other half is actually acting on that intelligence. Red Hat Insights can help you do both.

    top10

    I'll also link you to the getting started guide so that you can begin using Insights right away with an evaluation, or you can contact your Red Hat account team for a larger scale proof of concept. It only takes a couple of minutes to get up and running on most deployments, and may take only a few seconds if you're already leveraging automation technologies like Ansible, or one of Red Hat's Management portfolio solutions like Ansible Tower, CloudForms, or Satellite.

    What is Red Hat Insights?

    Red Hat developed the Insights service for exactly the type of problems that keep us on edge during this time of year, to ease troubleshooting, find problems that crop up, and fix them faster!

    exec

    Red Hat Insights takes advantage of both historical data and the latest knowledge from Red Hat and scales to your infrastructure. Insights is a constantly evolving and hyper-aware Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that monitors and helps manage risk in both the traditional datacenter and hybrid cloud environments.

    trend

    Insights is not an appliance and requires a very minimal setup with no added infrastructure cost. The goal with Insights has always been to help reduce complexity and risk in our customers’ infrastructures. We want to enable an easy to understand analysis of where problems exist and how to quickly resolve them with trusted, validated advice from Red Hat.

    Get Started with Red Hat Management:

    We do this in a few different ways. Insights is already integrated into each of the tools you may be using to manage your Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure, and we continue to more tightly integrate with each management solution from Red Hat each release.

    The latest releases of Red Hat Ansible Tower supports Insights host reporting directly from the inventory as well as project integration for Insights Ansible Playbook generation and automation jobs built with or imported from the Insights Planner.

    Red Hat Satellite has had Insights support since Satellite 5.7 and Satellite 6.1, and continues to be a popular platform management solution for systems lifecycle provisioning and management, as well as risk reporting and remediation with Insights integration.

    Red Hat CloudForms has had Insights reporting integration since CloudForms 4.0, and now with the latest 4.5 release has Ansible automation capabilities to further increase remediation efficiency across your managed infrastructures.

    Red Hat's Customer Portal also makes it really easy to get started with Insights if you don't currently utilise any other software in the management portfolio.

    Even if you're using the Ansible upstream unsupported offering you can take advantage of dynamically generated Ansible Playbooks from Insights to quickly remediate any problems that are identified. Insights can generate a playbook template that enables you to run immediately with ansible-playbook or AWX, or modify tasks therein for your own needs.
    playbook

    In addition, If you have a Technical Account Manager or Consulting engagement you can also engage those services to get more information about enabling Insights reporting for infrastructure health assessments.

    How it works:

    I'll drop a few screenshots here to give you an idea of how Red Hat Insights works and how easy it is to get started, but if you have a minute or two you should give it a try. Insights supports RHEL 6.4 and newer, so you will need a current RHEL subscription to take advantage of Insights.

    You can also use Satellite 5.7 or newer for Insights reporting, but at the time of this post the newest Insights features are being developed for Red Hat Satellite 6 and newer, Red Hat CloudForms 4.5 and newer, and Ansible Tower 3.2 and newer.

    We're always adding new Rules based off of the newest or hottest critical issues which are impacting our customers' infrastructures that trigger Actions.

    rules

    A Rule is how we describe what kind of risks we're looking for from the analytics engine.

    When a rule is generated for reporting an action is displayed.
    actions

    Actions typically offer a description of the associated risk, tailored to the system with the problem, and how to resolve.

    topics

    From here, you perform the remediation. If you’re using automation, it will call the Insights client to run again and verify if the problem has been resolved.
    plan3

    Using these techniques you can remediate vast amounts of systems with automation, or more surgically if you need to perform some targeted manual or custom automated remediations.

    plan1

    plan2

    So if you’d like to get started this holiday season and take advantage of Insights proactive remediation capabilities click here to get started. We think Insights will help you avoid potential downtime and increase your infrastructure health score with a minimal time investment during this busy holiday season.

    score

    And finally, as with everything we do here at Red Hat - We truly value your feedback. There's a "Provide Feedback" button at the top of Red Hat Insights in the Customer portal, which you get access to as an Insights subscriber, so please give us your feedback about what's working great or what could help make Insights more valuable for you. Barring that, you may also email us at insights at redhat dot com as well.

    Thanks for reading, and stay secure and informed,
    Will

    Posted: 2017-12-15T18:01:25+00:00
  • September 2017 service release: CI/CD client now in tech-preview, and feature updates

    Authored by: Will Nix

    The Red Hat Insights team is pleased to present our September 2017 service release.

    Red Hat Insights is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that helps prioritize risk remediation and prevent unplanned downtime. Insights enables customers to proactively monitor and quickly remediate for infrastructure risks and critical security alerts detected in their environments. Using Insights requires no added infrastructure expansion, with no complex setup or configuration, and can be deployed across most infrastructures in a few seconds.

    Insights offers automated remediation capabilities via Ansible Playbooks for both Ansible core and Red Hat Ansible Tower, as well as enhanced executive reporting features and overall infrastructure health scoring.

    Our September 2017 release brings several new features to the Customer Portal Insights Web UI that are currently available for production environments, and next generation beta features that are offered for testing and feedback in our technology preview service called Insights Beta. Accompanying this release there is also a new Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) client for Insights integrations with containers and container images in technology preview. For more information about technology previews, see Technology Preview Features Support Scope.

    Read below for more information or check out the new features and let us know your thoughts by using the "Provide Feedback" button from within the Insights UI.

    For more information about the latest Insights release, refer to our Red Hat Insights Release Notes.

    Newest features:

    Expanded Red Hat Ansible Tower integration

    Insights and Ansible Tower now offer improved reporting integration in the newly released Ansible Tower 3.2
    Insights reporting in tower 3.2

    With Ansible Tower 3.1, we built the first step of our integration with Red Hat Insights - allowing you to sync Insights remediation playbooks to Ansible Tower for use as needed. We’ve continued to enhance this integration in Ansible Tower 3.2. Now, we bring the ability to view Insights Actions directly in Ansible Tower. With this, you can more easily see your minor, major, and critical issues, and with just a few clicks, schedule remediation with Insights Plans.

    Insights CI/CD Client available as Technology Preview

    For those who would like to be on the cutting edge, a new Insights client that can be integrated directly into a container centric CI/CD pipeline is now available, enabling the identification of risk earlier in a development cycle within images or containers. The new client is designed for flexibility and allows for integration with the existing CI/CD tools such as Jenkins or GitLab CI.

    If you'd like to run the new client in a non-production environment please make sure you update your available channels list for your product subscriptions and then follow "How do I get the new Insights client?".

    For additional details on how to begin using Insights with CI/CD & examples please visit Red Hat Insights GitHub, RedHatInsights/insights-CI-examples: Sample project for Insights container build scanning demo

    Risk of Change [Beta]

    Some remediations are more complex than others and may require additional planning due to the impact they have on the environment it’s running on; such as those that require a kernel update and reboot vs a simple modification to a line in a configuration file. Insights now evaluates the “risk" of the change (Very low, Low, Moderate & High) as to the impact that change has on your environment and presents that to the user. By displaying this additional information we aim to provide you a quick idea of the effort required and to assist you in finding the easy fixes / low hanging fruit and remove that risk from your infrastructure. This is a filterable value while viewing lists of hits and is presented to users on rule & impacted system drill downs.
    Risk of change

    This information is also now presented when generating a playbook within Insights, where a user can select between a fix and a mitigation. By highlighting the risk of the change as well as if that selection requires a reboot, we hope to better inform the user on the impact this generated playbook will have on their environment by mitigating these detected issues within Insights.
    Ansible, risk of change

    Improved Executive Reporting functionality

    Based on customer feedback, the Overall Score presentation has been redesigned as a gauge to provide a better understanding of your current score, the color-coded health of that score, and the overall range used. For more details on "Overall Score" please visit https://access.redhat.com/articles/3199992.
    Exec reporting 1

    PDF Download now available in Next-gen Beta environment. Users now have the ability to export their account's executive report into PDF format allowing for the report to be easily shared.
    Exec reporting 2

    Inventory view changes

    The available inventory and criteria filters on each page of Insights have been redesigned to give you more control and less intrusive. The new page filters now come collapsed by default to give you as much screen real estate as possible. When expanding these filters you will now find additional options for filtering that have been added to each page. When selecting one or more filters, breadcrumbs are displayed to easily show you the active filters on your current view.
    Inventory and filter changes

    To improve the overall and experience for accounts with larger deployment we have removed the previously used "infinite scrolling" and have implemented pagination for these pages. This pagination will still allow for filtering while significantly reducing the amount of time needed for these pages to initially load and to be used.
    Inventory pagination changes

    Planner and Playbook builder changes

    The addition of the Playbook summary provides users with clearer visibility of affected systems chosen, the resolution that has been selected, as well as a reboot summary to identify reboot requirements for that playbook, if applicable, to allow for adequate planning and personnel coordination for maintenance windows.
    Planner updates

    TLDR;

    A big thank you from myself and the Insights team to all the customers and Red Hatters who provide feedback that helps us prioritize new features and quality of life value-added improvements. We hope you enjoy the new features and functionality. Please let us know how we can continue to improve the Insights service and what you think of the new enhancements!

    Will

    Posted: 2017-10-05T17:58:07+00:00
  • Insight into 0-days

    Authored by: Stanislav Kontar

    Security-based Red Hat Insights rules attempt to analyze and detect issues that impact the security of your systems in different ways:

    • Detect high profile, high priority, and 0-day vulnerabilities
    • Detect misconfigurations of your software which may impact security
    • Detect other issues that could have security implications, such as expired certificates

    The Red Hat Product Security team works closely with the Red Hat Insights team to provide current, updated, and helpful content for these security rules. In this blog, we’ll focus on the first category of the rules, which are targeted at high profile vulnerabilities and the associated background work we do.

    Customer Security Awareness

    The Red Hat Product Security team continuously analyzes security vulnerabilities that affect Red Hat products. Some security flaws are recognized to be of especially great concern, or are expected to generate significant media attention. These issues might be branded (with a name, logo, website), are actively used in exploits “in the wild,” or are a severe problem in core packages or in the functionality of Red Hat products.

    When such a high-priority vulnerability is presented, the Red Hat Product Security team starts a process known as Customer Security Awareness (CSAw). CSAw issues are frequently kept secret (embargoed) for a period of time so that proper fixes can be developed and prepared for release by those involved, before the vulnerability is publicly disclosed. During an embargo period, the Red Hat Product Security team and engineering team(s) work with upstream package maintainers, security researchers, and security teams of other Linux vendors with the goal of creating an optimal fix. The objective is to allow stakeholders to have simultaneous access to the fix(es) so that as many end users as possible have access to it before a potential attacker gets details on how the vulnerability can be exploited.

    In addition to analyzing the vulnerability in-depth, making sure we have well-tested fixes available, creating an article to explain the issue, etc., the Red Hat Product Security and Red Hat Insights product teams start another process to make sure that Red Hat Insights brings a high level of value for security-conscious customers:

    Preparation work

    It is often a race against the clock to develop detections and remediations for a vulnerability before the exploit goes public. We treat the data and content around these issues with the highest priority, knowing that a significant number of customers depend on it. We must keep the information confidential, but we also have to cooperate with various internal parties and subject matter experts to create a response. To that end, we create a private repository, with access restricted to peers on a “need to know” basis. Team coordination is critical.

    Here are three recent examples of CSAw issues:

    These issues utilized different engineering and testing groups. Each issue had unique technical nuances and potential impacts that had to be evaluated and corrected … all simultaneously. Often times we’ll have up to four developers collaborating on the final solution. With all of these moving parts, good lines of communication between collaborators are essential.

    Identification of vulnerable packages

    Once we have the shared, embargoed workspace setup, we collaborate on the vulnerability, with each engineer bringing their unique experience and expertise to bear. The first step is to identify which of our packages contains the vulnerable software and create a list of vulnerable packages that were released in various channels.

    The breadth of the Red Hat Insights coverage goes beyond our initial analysis that kicked off the CSAw event. Red Hat Insights coverage includes outdated/out-of-support versions of the packages, and the solution(s) must support those older versions.

    Like most major Linux distributions, Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses a process called backporting whereby security fixes are applied to existing stable versions instead of only using new, upstream packages that might introduce new features, changes, or unexpected behavior with the package. If you are not familiar with this concept, you can read Determining your risk, which discusses why commercial security scanners are often wrong when it comes to our products.

    Because of our backporting policy, we do not rely on version comparison. We must be much more precise, so we create a tree of vulnerable package versions. If a system analyzed by Red Hat Insights uses a vulnerable package version, we flag it as such.

    Rule development

    Close cooperation within the Red Hat Product Security team is our next step, especially between the engineers working on the Insights rule and a group of analysts who analyze the vulnerability. In the race against the clock to develop the Insights rule, we communicate with the technical analysts and package maintainers searching for updates on available information. The Insights rule development for CSAw is a parallel and iterative process.

    The Red Hat Insights client can be configured to frequently gather the required data (such as installed packages, running services, or software configurations) so we can start analyzing the scope of impact. The Red Hat Product Security engineers who are working on the Insights rule develop several artifacts: rule server back-end logic, rule web UI front-end content, detection scripts, and Ansible Playbooks.

    The goal is to provide the Insights rule components, scripts, and playbooks to the customers, as quickly as possible.

    This is a complex task that can be interrupted many times and requires additional considerations and changes as new information emerges. To bring order and prevent missed steps, we utilize a set of extensive checklists that we update and improve based on our experience with them. These checklists assist us in delivering functionality that is up to our high quality standards, and ensures that important details are not overlooked.

    We have one checklist for making sure that we follow a specific timeline so we can act quickly and correctly if the vulnerability goes public earlier than expected. We have another checklist with all tasks to make sure that any team member can see what is the state of work and cover for emergencies. And yet another checklist helps us communicate with analysts and make sure we are consistent when using their analyses.

    Categorization

    One of the main questions we ask ourselves when developing a rule is, “Can we break out all of the affected systems into more categories?”. This is important because we want to build in flexibility and enable our customers to take a risk-based approach to remediation. Customers can quickly recognize systems they should act on first, if they have limited resources.

    A good example of this categorization is a rule for another CSAw vulnerability, DROWN - Cross-protocol attack on TLS using SSLv2 (CVE-2016-0800), with eight different categorizations. This enables customers to easily evaluate the scale of impact on various systems – from systems that have the vulnerable package merely installed, to ones that are running software listening on externally accessible ports while using an old version of OpenSSL, making the system vulnerable to very effective exploitation.

    This real-world advice helps our customers prioritize their efforts and initially focus on areas where they have the most exposure, allowing them to choose to defer remediation of lower risk systems until after the greatest risks are remediated.

    Mitigation

    Most vulnerabilities can be fixed by applying an update to affected packages. Ultimately, this is the best solution since it corrects the vulnerability. However, sometimes that is not desirable, or the fix might not be available immediately. Scheduling downtime for critical systems can sometimes be time-consuming, complex, or not feasible at that time.

    If analysts are aware of effective mitigations of the issue – like using SELinux, changing software configurations or settings, running a short script, etc. – and the Red Hat Insights framework is able to detect those when they are used, the rule will also propose them. Having options for mitigations allows customers to better plan how they want to react without having to worry about exposure, and deploy the final fix at a time of their choosing.

    In some cases, when we agree that the mitigation is as good as a fix, the Insights rule will disappear from the Red Hat Insights notifications list. If we deem it to be a good, but temporary solution, its severity is toned down.

    Showtime!

    Before a CSAw vulnerability becomes public, we review our rule against real production data. The rule is still embargoed and is accessible to as few people as necessary, even within Red Hat. Because of this, the rule back-end is uploaded to the production server out-of-band. It is moved from one private space to another as the access to the production server is also limited.

    Everything is double-checked and tested as a whole. If testing goes as planned, the rule is ready when the CSAw vulnerability goes public. We share much of our work through our Red Hat Product Security Center articles and the Red Hat Insights service itself. Simultaneously, the vulnerability is announced on the mailing lists and to the public, a vulnerability article is published on the Customer Portal, fixes are made available in the repositories, and the rule status is changed to “active”.

    And at that point, the long days of work by many tireless people become available to Red Hat Insights customers – so you can be aware of the things that matter the most at the moment.


    Red Hat Security Blog

    Posted: 2017-09-18T12:53:46+00:00
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