Title:Virtualization Shares: Feasibility and Implementation in the USNA Computer Science Department
Authors:Christopher Wheeler
Serial Number:2010-03
Publication Date:3-10-2010
Abstract:The research study, Virtualization Shares: Feasibility and Implementation in the USNA Computer Science department was conducted at the United States Naval Academy in an effort to help define a how sharing virtual machines which had been transferred via external hard drive from host to host, and run on VMware workstation, could be run on a single powerful server and require users to interact with them using a thin client. Specific topics cover basic virtualization concepts, differences in architecture between Xen and VMware, and the performance seen on a test network utilizing one server running ESX. As corporations and other large enterprises, including the Department of Defense, move from the traditional physical server infrastructure towards virtual consolidation, study in this area becomes more and more pertinent. In the USNA Computer Science Department, this server resides on a sandboxed network, used only for testing purposes, but this technique has been implemented across many major organizations running servers as a result of low utilization of traditional physical infrastructure. Using a virtualized architecture allows more dynamic load sharing based on the current demands placed on a particular host, and overall results in less idle time on the infrastructure. The goal of this research paper was to define potential architectures that satisfy our existing needs, including labs for Information Assurance classes, exercises such as Cyber Defense Exercise, and development work. By analyzing their relative performance, a compromise between performance, ease-of-use, and the resources of the Department provided recommendations that will become an integral part of Computer Science and Information Technology education. At the conclusion, numerous studies on both VMware and Xen architecture were analyzed, which gave insight into architectures to be modeled by the Department. For the purposes of research, Xen was focused on more heavily by nature of being open source. However, our current VMware license weds us to their infrastructure, the main reason for solely analyzing ESX. This study may also lead to further research into topic areas such as dynamic image swapping across multiple servers, vulnerabilities of virtualization shares, and even more utile architectures for the Departmentís needs.
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