The benefits of virtualization are so obvious and many organizations quickly adopted and deployed this solution in production level without taking the time to analyze all the implications of specific security technology.
The immediate benefits of server virtualization can be identified through the following points.
The ability to configure a virtualized dedicated server allows administrators to utilize the power of server in the right manner.
If a malicious program enter the virtual machine, it is relatively easy to restore the machine to its previous healthy state. While this is not always simple, but it is particularly useful in the case of virtual machine hosting a static data.
The relative isolation between virtual machines and the host server can significantly limit the damage caused by malicious programs designed to corrupt the system data. Even if the virtual disk is totally corrupt, the physical disk on which it is hosted remains intact.
The portability of virtual machines offers the possibility to implement restoration process and PRA at lower costs and greatly reduces the time needed to restart a server. It also allows others to easily move the workload of one physical server to another.
You can use many solutions to move the workload in all directions regardless of hardware configuration:
- Physical to Virtual
- Virtual to Virtual
- Virtual to Physical
The new features offered by virtualization technology allow to design systems that can automatically switch failure. Finally, by consolidating the infrastructure in complex environments and separate virtual networks, administrators can configure rules specific to each environment and maximize security. (Environments for testing or development, or production environments).
The potential risks of virtualization
- Like any new technology, virtualization addresses many needs and brings up new problems. These risks are sometimes constitutional in the architecture of virtualization.
- The isolation of the virtual machine and host system is challenged by some security experts. They have indeed discovered security problems available in VMs and the host machine making it possible in some cases. These flaws are extremely small, however, sometime these threats cause a serious problem, but service providers do not hesitate to find out independent solutions to improve their products.
- The distribution of machines (grid consolidation): One of the greatest risks of virtualization is partly in its reason for the consolidation. By consolidating workloads of the several virtual machines on other virtual machines sometimes increases the critical issues on those virtual servers.
- Access security and staff training: In general, we must not neglect the critical aspect of virtualization servers. If an unauthorized person gains an access to the server, it is possible for him to copy all the machines hosted to another destination as well. Even though, he can get all the sensitive information of the infrastructure. In worst situations, malicious users can significantly interfere and disrupt the service by rebooting the server, or changing configuration parameters.
- Performance monitoring and service: From a point of view of resource allocation, although separate from each other, it is possible for a malicious program to significantly affect the load of a virtual machine and thus impact the overall performance of the consolidated machines on that server. This can then cause performance problems because of changes in dynamic resource allocation set incorrectly. (The machines are switched from one server to another without limits).
How to reduce the risks of virtualization
To provide an appropriate response to new operational risk that is born with virtualization, it is necessary to treat them as the design phase. This requires asking the right questions.
- What services are to be virtualized and what is their interdependence with existing infrastructure?
- What is the impact of a malfunction or shutdown of a host server? (Impact classification, relations between machines)
- How to integrate and administer host servers in the existing infrastructure? (Secure environment, train and inform staff about IT policy, define processes and write procedures).
- How to monitor and evaluate the performance of the virtualized environment?
Three points deserve special attention
- Implementing a high availability solution for server virtualization (Clustering).
- Implementation of monitoring solutions tailored to virtualization (management pack).
- Implementation of advanced security and an access management server hosts.
Author Bio:- This article is contributed by Paul Lopez in association with BODHost.com. For more information you can contact us through Live chat or simply ask your doubts on our internal forum to know more about managed dedicated server hosting, cloud computing, virtualized servers, etc …