Virtualization Security Challenges

Virtualization presents a number of security challenges. Several of these issues can be solved by employing a good security policy. For example, if you have multiple servers that all have different levels of trust, you can separate them using a firewall. This will ensure that only those servers with different levels of trust can communicate with each other. You can also prevent VMs from compromising each other by running them on separate servers or networks.

VM Sprawl

Virtual machines can quickly get out of control, causing systems to run without knowing why. These systems may require resources that are not used and are difficult to deprovision when needed. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the risks associated with VM sprawl. A formal process can be implemented to prevent overprovisioning and provide detailed documentation when VMs are created.

One of the most common challenges facing many organizations is VM sprawl. This problem occurs gradually and IT teams may not be aware of it at first, but it can quickly become a problem. Once VMs are created, it can be difficult to remove them, as the process to create them can be very quick. Another issue is that many VMs may be created without approval or the proper process.

VM sprawl also causes significant management overhead. Managing the storage space used by unused VMs creates a challenge for storage administrators. They may need to manage backups and rebalance storage. Furthermore, VMs can make it difficult to manage the security of an organization’s data.

VM sprawl is one of the most common security risks associated with virtualization. Developers often fail to delete VMs after testing, making it difficult for IT teams to keep track of them. They can become unpatched, unprotected, and occupy valuable hardware. Proper lifecycle management is the key to controlling VM sprawl and preventing it from becoming a problem.


One of the most challenging aspects of virtualization is security. Virtual machines are supposed to be isolated from other VMs, but they can be vulnerable to attacks if there are problems with the underlying operating system or hypervisor. In addition, if multiple VMs are running on a single physical server, the risks increase. Also, hypervisors are not bug-free, and if they are not patched, they may be vulnerable to attacks. In such a situation, organizations should be vigilant in updating their hypervisors and operating systems to mitigate these risks.

One of the best ways to protect virtual machines is to implement strict security policies. Virtualization security should include the encryption and integrity checking of virtual memory image files, as well as isolation and reinforcement of virtual machines. Another important measure is to keep the VM network separate from the management network. In addition, businesses should avoid using third-party hypervisor add-ons. While these technologies may be beneficial for security, they may not be the best choice for businesses.

Cloud computing is another challenge for security. Cloud servers are usually run by commercial providers, and these providers may not be fully trustworthy. As such, cloud servers must be secured to prevent unauthorized access. However, virtualization can improve security and help businesses deliver the benefits of cloud computing. Furthermore, it can reduce IT costs by leveraging existing hardware.


There are several security challenges associated with virtualization. Most virtualization systems give administrators full access to the virtual infrastructure. If a VM is compromised, it could give an attacker control of the whole virtual network. Additionally, VM clocks tend to drift, meaning that tasks may be running early or late. Consequently, inaccurate time tracking can hamper forensic investigations. Furthermore, most virtualization systems require routing VM traffic outside the host, which can cause latency and complicate networking.

To address these issues, enterprises should require the separation of workloads. For example, hosted virtual desktop workloads should be isolated from the rest of the physical data center. In addition, security policies should be customized for each virtual machine. This will help avoid the mixing of workloads with different levels of trust. Further, administrators must manage the hypervisor/VMM layer tightly, as it provides critical support. In addition, administrative access must be restricted. However, most virtualization platforms provide multiple paths to administer hypervisors.

As the number of mainstream IT environments adopting virtualization grows, there are many security challenges to consider. New security standards and mechanisms are needed to address the vulnerabilities that virtualization introduces. A study from emedia found that 52% of respondents said that virtualization introduced new security challenges. Some of the main challenges include patching, new host software, and guest-to-guest attacks.

Application Performance

While virtualization brings a lot of benefits to performance and security, it also comes with several challenges. For instance, many virtualization systems allow full admin access to virtual infrastructure, which could give attackers full control of virtual servers and virtual machines. Also, many virtualization systems allow VM clocks to drift, so that tasks can run early or late. Time tracking will not provide adequate forensic information if there is a breach. Another challenge with virtualization is complex networking.

In addition, VMs share resources, which can have an impact on their performance. Some virtual machines may stall when their hardware limit has been reached, stealing CPU resources from other VMs. This can degrade performance and scalability. To mitigate this issue, virtualization solutions should be set up to prevent unused hardware ports from connecting to a physical server.

Application performance monitoring (APM) tools are designed to track and measure the performance of application environments. This way, they can detect problems before they occur and take the necessary action. In addition, these tools can correlate performance changes to external events and help to predict application performance in the future. This helps IT organizations scale up their application operations throughout the lifecycle.

Virtualization security challenges are common and can occur when VMs are not protected. Traditional firewalls are not built to handle the increased number of virtual machines. Traditional firewalls can be difficult to administer and monitor traffic between VMs and cannot access data when applications are moved.


A bottleneck in virtualization security can be caused by poor storage allocation, mismanagement of virtual storage or poor design. Storage allocation is a tricky task and requires data to guide decisions. For example, one bottleneck can be caused by VMs that are constantly running multiple reports, scripts or end-of-month payments.

Bottlenecks are most common when there is high contention. These problems can be eliminated with deliberate planning. A good way to do this is to monitor incoming and outgoing port connections and identify any IP conflicts. Then, you can fix the bottleneck before it affects your operations. But there is no guarantee that bottlenecks will disappear entirely.

Network bottlenecks often result from poor network or storage fabric design. Mismatched hardware selection is a common problem. A workgroup server with a single Gigabit Ethernet port may become a bottleneck. As a result, performance is affected. When this happens, your system isn’t efficient, affecting web surfing, emailing, playing online games, and more.

Performance bottlenecks are a real problem when it comes to virtualization. You’re expected to deliver consistent performance for your users, but performance bottlenecks can cause VMs and applications to crash. The solution is to ensure your software is using the network as efficiently as possible.

Licensing Compliance

Licensing compliance for virtualization brings management challenges. It can be difficult to determine which software applications to license, as many vendors have different licensing schemes. However, some general strategies can be helpful for many vendors. One example is socket-specific license requirements, which refer to the number of CPU sockets on a virtual server. This is common because most software vendors assume that their products will be used on virtual servers.

Licensing compliance is crucial to avoid problems with virtualization. Virtualization allows administrators to have more control over network and specific system components, but this also increases the risk of malicious actions. Consequently, organizations must implement appropriate governance for virtualization that creates administrative isolation between the components of the system and clearly states access and monitoring controls.

Licensing software requires proper classification and identification. Software license management tools can help with this task. In addition to determining who should be licensed, the software should also identify indirect users. Some vendors, such as SAP and Oracle, issue processor-based licenses to users. The issue is that indirect access can be hard to identify unless there is a systematic monitoring tool.

To successfully manage licensing compliance for virtualization, enterprises must understand the licensing policies of the virtualization software and hardware. Many enterprises invest in software to monitor licensing compliance and vendor support policies. However, the licensing compliance process can be complicated when moving to the cloud. Therefore, organizations should take special care to select a software management solution that supports all virtualization technologies.