Optimize Your Cloud – Starting with Virtualization Security

By: Bill Kleyman| - Leave a comment

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The modern data center and cloud infrastructure is evolving. Users are now a lot more mobile and are utilizing new types of devices to access the cloud. As the workload becomes even more cloud and application centric, there will need to be direct optimizations happening within the server and data center environment. Virtualization has always sat at the heart of many modern technologies and is certainly one of the major vehicles for cloud computing.

While server virtualization remains the most common infrastructure platform for x86 server OS workloads in on-premises data centers, Gartner analysts believe that the impact of new computing styles and approaches will be increasingly significant for this market. This includes OS container-based virtualization and cloud computing. The worldwide x86 server virtualization market is expected to reach $5.6 billion in 2016, an increase of 5.7 percent from 2015, according to Gartner.

We’re all aware of the big benefits virtualization can bring. However, when deploying a virtual infrastructure, we have to make sure to do everything possible to optimize the experience. On top of these virtual systems sit:

  • Applications
  • Virtual desktops
  • File shares
  • User resources
  • Databases

All of these systems (and even VDI) have to be secured against malicious users or inbound attacks. When we look at the modern hypervisor – we see major efficiencies built in around networking, storage and compute. However – what happens when we need to deploy AV? Or, what if we need proactive, real-time, monitoring of an entire virtual infrastructure? What if we require application-layer protection for critical business workloads? Although there may be answers to these questions, the real challenge is to deploy these security measures without impacting the performance of your virtual infrastructure.

This is where hypervisor-level security and optimization can really help. Imagine being able to create a complete security solution that does not impact the performance of your virtual machines. In fact, this proactive infrastructure can be designed to catch malicious attacks before they even hit a VM. Your data center partner or your own private infrastructure must be able to handle user experiences while still providing the highest levels of security. To accomplish this – there are several considerations. So, to create cloud optimization – look for the following when creating powerful virtualization deployments; coupled with security.

  • Proactive monitoring. Imagine being able to catch advanced threats against your virtual environment before they even reach the VM. This type of monitoring, alerting and even proactive issue resolution can save on time and quite a bit of headache. A lot of time can be saved when issues are resolved before they can actually cause any major problems. This means having proactive access to application-level security, intra-VM protection, and even stateful, deep packet inspection.
  • Cloud integration. Many organizations are looking to specifically extend their on premise environments to the cloud. Not everything, however – but specific services and workloads. To make this happen, companies must look at how their virtualization environments will actually scale into the cloud. Virtualization plays a huge role in how IT environments create connections with cloud resources. This is why hypervisor and virtualization-level control is absolutely critical. In creating your own virtualization and cloud ecosystem, working with the right technology partner can help create those connections and even specific optimizations.
  • Optimizing resources. In the world of VDI and virtual server security – update and scan storms can be nightmares. So, eliminate both challenges by removing the process from the VM. Resources are not cheap – so optimizing your VMs means more user density, less resource bottlenecks, and an improved overall environment. Lost resources aren’t only a security challenge – they also create serious cost concerns. Cloud optimization and security also heavily revolves around controlling your resources. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Working with a partner can help plan out resource consumption for a business working to extend into the cloud.
  • Centralized management. Remember, central management isn’t just about visibility. It’s about having direct access to anti-virus/anti-malware, hypervisor-layer firewalls, and even proactive intrusion detection services (IDS). Most of all – you need direct control over data repositories, specific workloads, and anything that has a compliance wrapper around it. A big initiative for organizations looking to create greater levels of security and optimization revolves around removing complexity and fragmentation. In fact, good management best practices help create powerful compliance-ready environments.

It’s clear that virtualization will continue to be a big part of any growing organization. More businesses understand the demands of the user and the workloads that they require to be productive. This is why it’s critical to deploy next-generation virtualization optimizations within your data center. Hypervisor-level security allows the administrator to focus on the overall virtual platform instead of individual VMs. Your data center and cloud partner help you focus on compliance for the workloads they’re controlling. Remember, IT continues to grow as the critical component of any business. Leaders will look to this type of technology to help them optimize their infrastructure and allow for even greater environment control.

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About The Author

Bill Kleyman

Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Bill enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues around everything that is technology. During the day, Bill is the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, where he interacts with enterprise organizations and helps align IT strategies with direct business goals. Bill’s whitepapers, articles, video blogs and podcasts have been published and referenced on InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Data Center Knowledge, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and many others. Most recently, Bill was ranked #16 in the Onalytica study which reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape, globally.

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