Hyper-V virtualization security guidelines and tips

Data centers can't depend solely on Microsoft for Hyper-V security. You can implement several configurations and procedures to secure Hyper-V virtualization.

With the release of Hyper-V R2, Microsoft made headway in its feature set and capabilities. At first, new features in Hyper-V R2, such as Live Migration and Cluster Shared Volumes, appeased some skeptics of Microsoft's second foray into server virtualization. But Microsoft still struggles to shake criticism of its virtualization platform.

Virtualization security guide
Server virtualization security best practices

Developing a virtual security plan

Guarding against virtualization security risks

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Hyper-V virtualization security guidelines
While potentially unfair, one critique is that Hyper-V's underlying code is closely linked to Microsoft's often-attacked Windows OS. A real Hyper-V security issue, however, is that administrators cannot use third-party applications for traffic monitoring and enforcement.

Despite these concerns, however, Hyper-V isn't an insecure virtualization platform per se. Hyper-V benefits from the safeguards built into Windows Server 2008. Microsoft also releases regular patches to resolve known vulnerabilities.

Nevertheless, the burden of Hyper-V security rests largely on IT personnel. Virtualization administrators can harden Hyper-V's defenses in several ways. The resources in this section on Hyper-V security include tips and best practices to secure a virtual environment.

Windows virtual machine security spotlight
SearchWindowsServer.com's Hyper-V and virtual machine security Technology Spotlight features topics including patch management, security tools, storage risks and managing security risks. Check out the guide for additional details on securing your Hyper-V virtual machines.

Security best practices for Microsoft Hyper-V installations
With various virtualization platforms, the attack surface (the area that systems are prone from attack)increases from multiple physical machines to standalone hosts containing numerous virtual machines. So why can an attack area widen despite your efforts at server consolidation? To prevent this problem, you need to treat each VM as a standalone host and consider the physical servers on which they reside. If that sounds difficult, this tip provides Hyper-V security best practices to alleviate administrator stress in managing and securing virtual machines.

How to improve security in Hyper-V virtual networks
If you think that virtual switches are digital copies of physical switches, you're due for a harsh awakening. In fact, Hyper-V virtual switches lack support for third-party monitoring and network traffic analysis tools. Luckily, there are a few workarounds that mimic the security features of physical servers and switches, and this tip shows you how.

This was first published in April 2010

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