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Old 07-27-2009, 02:35 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Introduction to Consumer Virtualization

With some companies putting such a focus on virtualization, have you ever stopped to wonder what it is? Better yet, have you ever thought about how it could benefit you? This primer aims to answer those very questions, by taking a look at what virtualization is, why it exists, its limitations and also discuss scenarios where it could benefit the regular consumer.

You can read through the full article here, and once done, discuss it here!
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:44 AM   #2
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VMware server and player are free, are they not?
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:39 PM   #3
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Hi Krisia:

I'm not familiar enough with VMware Server to make a definitive comment, but it appears that it's designed for server use, meaning a server is required and all virtual machines will be installed there. You'll access those virtual machines via the network through a web browser. This technique might be fine for the business environment, but I think the end-user would enjoy better performance and flexibility than that would offer.

VMware Player has no other purpose than to utilize virtual machines created with another version of VMware, but it can't create them. It's very, very limited in its overall use when compared to even a free tool like VirtualBox.
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:23 PM   #4
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VMware Server is technically free if you sign up for it through their website, but it is limited in functionality and is primarily designed for remote access. It can be run and administered locally, but again as I've found out it's limited in features.

I'll put it this way, ever since I gave VMware Workstation a try I will never go back to VMware Server.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:11 AM   #5
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I was sitting at my office desk and thought , hey lets just read it! lol! Its informative and precisely detailed!

OOH yess! i can play the good old Final Fantasy VII by installing Win 98' as my Virtual OS! It crashes a lot on XP!
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomsday View Post
I was sitting at my office desk and thought , hey lets just read it! lol! Its informative and precisely detailed!
So give it a try! It's so easy, you won't believe it until you try.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:57 AM   #7
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Default Using VM for security

Can VM be used for security?

If you have VM running on your computer and then surf the net or just download stuff, if you shut off VM will it revert your computer back to the state it was in before you used VM?

Not sure if I am using the correct term here... but sort of like having your machine in a
"sandbox"

I got the impression from a different article that VM might be able to do this.

Just wondering.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:14 AM   #8
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Hi Rake:

The Sandbox term is spot-on, and although I'm not certain of all the hypervisors that offer this feature, I do know that VMware does. There, the feature is called "Snapshot", which allows you to essentially capture the virtual machine at some given point in time. So, if you boot up and do something, then shut down, you can load things back up with the Snapshot instead, which will revert you back to that point in time.

If you want things done automatically, there's also an option to allow you to automatically revert to the snapshot each time you shut down, which is similar functionality to public terminals.

How secure it is in the end game, I'm uncertain. When shutting down, it will wipe out what you just did, but if someone had the skills, they may be able to take your VM file and decrypt certain portions of it, but something like this would require huge talent and in the end, just wouldn't be that reasonable. For utmost security, you might want to write a quick script (batch file in Windows) to automatically "Shrink" the virtual machine's hard disk each night. What that does is purge all of the deleted data in the VM, in order to shrink the physical size of the virtual hard disk, which would result in an absolute deletion of such data.

When I take a more in-depth look at each hypervisor out there, I'll check to see which ones offer similar functionality. But if you are interested in playing around, VMware offers a 30-day trial that you could use.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:42 PM   #9
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Default More on VM and security

Hi Rob,

Thanks for answering my post, and for the information. I am looking forward to your next article on this subject, and to whatever you can find out about VM and it's Sandboxing abilities.

I found the address of that other article I mentioned I had read about VM and here it is

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...l#xtor=RSS-182

I am not sure if this is of any interest or help to you but this person seems to know a lot about VM and securtiy. It's a bit over my head but I am trying to learn more about VM.

Thanks for the explanation of what VM does in this area. I will have to give it a try.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:05 AM   #10
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Virtual Machines can indeed be extremely secure, but like with all things they are not foolproof.

If you had a virtual machine running it is possible for it to catch viruses or maleware, or even be hacked. This infected guest OS then, while unlikely, does have the capability to attempt to infect the host OS. Shutting down an infected VM and restoring it to a snapshot would obviously remove anything that had been installed, but my point is this wouldn't help if the host OS had become infected before this occured.

From what I know this is rare though, and most VM's have extremely restricted access to hardware... but nonetheless things like a USB flash stick could become infected in the guest OS, and directly infect the host OS if both used the same filesystem such as Windows guest to a Windows host. (VMWare would allow this to happen, since USB devices are shared between OS's by default). There is no perfect sandbox unless you configure the VM as tightly as possible, some even suggest to install antivirus in the VM...
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