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August 2011, Vol. 34

Ensuring virtual machine security

When preparing a server for production, you usually run the server through a series of processes and procedures that are designed to keep it secure. So how should you proceed when it’s time to secure virtual machines (VMs) as opposed to physical servers? This tip covers a few caveats for virtual machine security. The first set of caveats applies to the host server environment, and the second applies to the VMs themselves. Protecting host servers A virtual machine environment always consists of at least two environments: the host server environment, often referred to as the resource pool, and a production environment, which is maintained by VMs. There may be other environments—training, development, testing and more—but the first two are the most common. As a rule, you should always segregate the host environment from any VM environment (see Figure 1). This provides an initial layer of protection for all VMs. Figure 1. Segregating the resource pool from VM environments The resource pool should be linked to a resource directory ...

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