Virtual Security: About the Security Pros and Cons of Server Virtualization

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Executive Summary

Virtualization is used for enabling resource partitioning, resource pooling, and for executing multiple operating systems or conflicting applications on one physical machine - concepts which are clearly justifying the use of virtualization as they provide benefits like reduction of total cost of ownership, flexible service allocation scenarios, and ease of administration. Instead of focusing on operational benefits, this paper discusses the security pros and cons of virtualization. It should have become clear that virtual machines are not primarily designed for security. That is, virtualization does not equal security! - although such arguments might turn up in advertising brochures. There are security risks, scenarios and vectors that are unique to virtualization software and architectures which must be considered very carefully.

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