Virtualization: The Advantages and Disadvantages of VM

Virtualization provides a company with significant opportunity to increase efficiency and decrease costs in its IT operations. However, virtualization also introduces additional risks. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of virtualization:

Advantages of Virtualization:

  • Server hardware costs may decrease for both server builds and server maintenance.
  • Multiple operating systems can share processing capacity and storage space that often goes to waste in traditional servers, thereby reducing operating costs.
  • The physical footprint of servers may decrease within the data.
  • A singlehost can have multiple versions of the same operating system, or even different OSs, to facilitate testing of applications for performance differences.
  • Creation of duplicate copies of guests in alternate locations can support business continuity efforts.
  • Application support personnel an have multiple versions of the same OS, or even different OS’s, on a single host to more easily support users operating in different environments.
  • A single machine can house a multitier network in an educational lab environment without costly reconfigurations of physical equipment.
  • Smaller organizations that had performed tests in the production environment may be better able to set up logically separate, cost-effective development and test environments.
  • If set up correctly, a well-built, single access control on the host can provide tighter control for the host’s multiple guests.

Disadvantages of Virtualization:

  • Inadequate configuration of the host could create vulnerabilities that affect not only the host but also the guests.
  • Exploits of vulnerabilities within the host’s configuration, or a denial of service, could affect all of the host’s guests.
  • A compromise of the management console could grant unapproved administrative access to the host’s guests.
  • Performance issues of the host’s own OS could impact each of the host’s guests.
  • Data could leak between guests if memory is not released and allocated by the host in a controlled manner.
  • Insecure protocols for remote access to the management console and guests could result in exposure of administrative credentials.

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