Server virtualization is the first step to achieving the business benefits of cloud computing. Virtualization enables real business value such as server consolidation, higher compute capacity utilization, data center space/power/cooling efficiencies, and operational agility.
However, security concerns are often cited as the #1 obstacle for deploying cloud capabilities in the enterprise. Virtualization brings with it an aggregation of risks to the enterprise when consolidating application components and services of varying risk profiles onto a single physical server platform. The aggregation of risk is created due to the added potential of compromise of the hypervisor layer, which in turn could lead to a potential compromise of all the shared physical resources of the server that it controls such as memory and data as well as other virtual machines on that server. Concerns about security initially prevented virtualization of several categories of applications, including Internet-facing applications used to communicate with customers and consumers.
Intel IT has more than tripled the number of virtualized applications inside our Office and Enterprise environments in 2010 from 12% to 42% and are currently over 50%. To achieve our goal of 75% required us to overcome the security challenges of virtualizing externally facing applications.
I am pleased to announce the release of Intel IT's first cloud security white paper that describes how we neutralized these security risks to expand server virtualization into the DMZ thereby allowing us to further accrue the business benefits of virtualization. Through our comprehensive approaches described in this paper, we have been able to ensure that our virtualized environment is as secure as our physical environment. In fact with some of the additional security measures deployed in our virtual environment, one could argue that our virtual environment is even more secure. Read this cloud security paper to learn more and decide for yourself.