Virtualization is the cornerstone of modern cloud-based multi-tenant architectures. Using virtual machines on the cloud offers businesses numerous competitive advantages, including:
- A high degree of scalability
- Reduced risk of disruption from server downtime
- Increased productivity for IT teams
- Lower IT costs
Many businesses have begun to switch to virtualized architectures for their day-to-day workloads.According to statistics cited by VMware, approximately “80% or more workloads” will be virtualized by the end of 2016, “but small and midsize businesses are lagging behind. Only 53% of applications are virtualized, with 32% surveyed having virtualized less than 40% of workloads.”
Companies that don’t take advantage of virtualization are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
How Virtualization Works
Virtualization uses specialized software to create isolated software containers within a single machine. Each one of these containers is completely independent from the others on the machine, using a specific amount of allocated resources for storage and CPU capacity.
The individual containers, or “virtual machines (VMs),” can operate independently of one another, using different operating systems, even though they’re all running off of the same physical machine.
This allows for a more efficient use of computing resources within a business’ data center compared to the standard x86 architecture, which is made to run one OS and application at a time. Without virtualization, a single machine might have to be dedicated to running one application that only requires 10% or less of the machine’s total resources.
With as much as 90% of each machine’s computing power being wasted, businesses are forced to deploy many more machines in total to meet their computing demands. By using virtualized architectures, businesses can greatly reduce their costs for acquiring, powering, and maintaining hardware.
Enforcing Security on Virtual Machines with Multi-Tenant Architectures
With individual pieces of hardware hosting several virtual machines, keeping each individual environment secure is a major concern, particularly for a cloud provider that has different clients using virtualized machines on the same server hardware.
To keep individual VMs safe from intrusion by users on other virtual machines, cloud companies need to make strict internal firewalls available for all of the environments they deploy. This is the absolute minimum that should be done, not the ultimate solution.
Each environment in a virtualized cloud setup should employ additional security layers to further protect individual VMs from intrusion. This includes measures such as:
- Strong perimeter firewalls
- Intrusion detection systems (IDS) with event logging software
- Anti-malware programs
- Encryption for data-at-rest and data-in-flight
- Managed security patching to eliminate vulnerabilities and exploits
Using multiple layers of security for each virtual machine keeps the opportunities for attack minimized. That being said, the users of each VM still need to practice strong, sensible internal security procedures. No amount of security can protect an organization’s data if they carelessly transmit and share user account details and information with others.
Why We Use VMware for Virtualization
To fully bring out the benefits of virtualization requires a platform that grants strong VM management capabilities without being massively over complicated. Additionally, the virtualization software should be a trusted, stable application.
This is why WHOA.com uses VMware software such as vCloud Director for managing virtualized environments. With the vCloud Director application, the management of vApps and the resources allocated to each is handled with a simple & intuitive graphic user interface.
With vCloud Director, setting up a new vApp and assigning resources to VMs takes minutes. Also, with the director’s dashboard, it’s easy to check how much computing resources each environment has available, and what they’re currently using.
WHOA enables the use of snapshots on the vCloud Director, empowering organizations to make a quick copy of a virtual environment so they can roll back to that state when performing test/dev operations.
Also, on the vCloud Director, virtual machines are easy to clone and move from one piece of hardware to the next. This allows companies to copy existing production environments and rapidly deploy copies for individual departments to use. Computing and storage resources can also be allocated with ease, so there’s no need for individual departments to struggle over who gets what computing resources.
Overall, the vCloud Director platform is a simple, powerful tool for allowing WHOA’s users to manage their virtual environments themselves if they want or need to, providing a strong degree of control typically not associated with using the cloud.
WHOA still offers support to manage the creation and allocation of virtual machines and resources to its customers who desire a more hands-off approach, however.
With the right virtualization platform, businesses can save money, be more flexible, and make their IT teams more productive.