Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and Security

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Abstract

More and more companies offering computing services are shifting towards virtualization and cloud computing technologies. These new technologies provide a platform for the provision of computing services on demand. Virtualization provides a platform to run different applications on underlying hardware platforms by running multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. On the other hand, cloud computing allows organizations to offer computing services on-demand in the virtualization environment. Thus, virtualization enables software programs to run on hardware and software platforms while cloud computing offers services on the virtualization environment. Typically, virtualization takes cloud computing to the next level in computing. Both technologies run in hostile environments and a number of risks are associated with each technology. Security risks include the loading of programs and data that might modify current programs and compromise the integrity of software and hardware systems, among others. On the other hand, cloud computing is subject to security risks such as confidentiality and data integrity among others. Thus, the need to integrate security measures to inspire confidence in the users of the cloud, given the level of usage of the technologies in the recent past. In conclusion, therefore, virtualization is a technology that has gone a step further by integrating cloud computing which has taken cloud computing to another level.

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Introduction

Virtualization and cloud computing are new technologies that have widely been adopted by many organizations offering computing services. Many organizations in the recent past have been moving their services from the old computing models to virtualization and cloud computing technologies. However, due to the relative newness of the technologies, a few organizations have adapted the technologies in offering computing services. However, an observed trend indicates that the adoption of the technologies is on the rise. With the significant number of organizations moving towards the cloud and virtualization, a number of inquiries arise on the rationale for the trend. That has made the search for an answer on the reasons behind the shift from old computing models to the current computing technologies a critical research issue. Different researches have proposed a number of reasons for the adoption of the technologies. Among the proposed reasons for the observed trend are that many organizations have found virtualization and cloud computing cost-effective. That has strongly reinforced the need to understand the technologies, benefits associated with the technologies, and the baseline reasons for organizations such as Goolge.com to move towards virtualization and cloud computing technologies to offer their services despite the security risks associated with the technologies. However, in view of the aim of the research, it is important to establish the architecture of virtualization and cloud computing and how both technologies are integrated, by examining the relationship between them. Typically, virtualization is a technology that provides a platform for offering services on the cloud. That establishes a strong link between virtualization and cloud computing. However, cloud computing takes virtualization to the next level in computing by offering cloud-computing services on the virtualization platform. Both virtualization and cloud computing are susceptible to a number of potential security risks that need to be evaluated and mechanisms integrated into the systems to enhance security and ensure data integrity and confidentiality in the users of the technologies. Cloud computing is susceptible to security risks such as confidentiality, availability, and data integrity. On the other hand, the susceptibility of visualization to security risks from hostile environments including modification of programs and data with the potential to damage the functionality of the entire system is worth investigating to inform organizations on potential problems associated with the technologies and best approaches of overcoming such problems. Thus, organizations are made aware of the benefits and potential problems with the technologies.

Context of the problem

The current proposal asserts that many organizations have shifted from the old computing models to the new virtualization and cloud computing technologies in the provision of computing services. The primary aim of the study will be to establish the rationale behind many organizations have realized that cloud computing services must be offered on a platform that integrates cloud computing and virtualization, and find out how virtualization and cloud computing are strongly related. That further calls for the need to establish the underlying relationship between virtualization and cloud computing technologies. On the other hand, virtualization and cloud computing technologies are susceptible to security risks and threats despite many organizations adopting the new computing approach. Thus, the research will endeavor to establish and crystallize an understanding of both technologies to provide concrete reasons for the trend towards the technologies, witnessed in large computing firms and other organizations that offer services through the cloud. Therefore, the research will endeavor to establish the relationship between the technologies, the security issues associated with the technologies, and the trend is moving towards virtualization and cloud computing despite the security issues associated with the technologies.

One key factor for investigation is how virtualization enables the implementation of cloud computing by abstracting software and other computing platforms from users while hosting multiple operating systems to execute tasks concurrently (Virtualization Overview, 2006). It is important to note that virtualization and cloud computing are complementary in offering services to the user. However, virtualization allows for optimization of utility and grid computing technologies in the cloud and supports the dynamic pooling of resources towards the latter goal (Krutz & Vines, 2010). In addition to that, virtualization allows for the multiplexing of network operating systems. Further, investigations will show how virtualization has experienced exponential growth with organizations, individual customers, and corporate organizations in the recent past (Virtualization Overview, 2006).

On the other hand, investigations on how cloud computing integrates existing technologies to create the cloud computing concept will form another key area to research. Thus, investigations will reveal cloud computing as a solution traversing different application areas in the modern world of Information Technology, which has been experiencing exponential growth with time. In addition to that, the concept integrates technologies leading to the creation of a new cloud computing architecture defined by cloud access devices (Jaeger, Lin & Grimes, 2008). Companies offering services from the cloud will form the baseline benchmark.

Problem statement

Organizations have found it challenging to move from the old computing models to virtualization and cloud computing architecture, despite associated security risks and challenges with the technologies. Thus, the need for organizations to understand comprehensively the architecture of the technologies, the relationships between the technologies, and security challenges associated with the technologies. That reinforces the need to establish the rationale behind the observed trends in organizations adopting the technologies.

Hypothesis

Virtualization and cloud computing are two technologies that complement each other, with many organizations shifting from the old computing approaches to the new computing technologies in view of the benefits inherent in the technologies despite the security challenges experienced with the adoption of the technologies.

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Primary research question

The fundamental baseline of the study is to establish the relationship between virtualization and cloud computing and establish why organizations are trending towards the technologies. Thus, the need for organizations to comprehend the technologies before adopting them for their own use is a fundamental question whose answer will propel organizations to select and adopt the technologies, with other organizations investigated acting as the benchmark. The study also seeks to answer questions on why virtualization and cloud computing, which are relatively new technologies, have found significant adoption by large organizations, and the benefits associated with the technologies despite the prevalent security risks.

Research sub-questions

  1. Why have organizations decided to move from the old computing models to virtualization and cloud computing models despite the security risks associated with the computing models?
  2. What is virtualization, cloud computing, the architecture of the technologies, and the relationship between virtualization and cloud computing?
  3. Why are Companies moving towards Virtualization and Computing despite the security risks associated with the technologies?

Terms and definitions

Computer – A machine made of hardware, software, peripherals, and other accessories. The machine requires software consisting of programs and applications to function as intended.

Computer Security – Refers to the implementation of standards and guidelines, the technical and software applications that would protect the computer system, as well as the information stored and transferred electronically from one computer to another.

Cloud computing – A computing technique that offers computing services to clients such as software, data, and storage facilities on a shared platform. Cloud computing is therefore a service.

Virtualization – An automatic computing technique that allows multiple operating systems to run on an existing hardware platform upon which other programs execute. Virtualization provides incremental growth of the computing environment to accommodate rising computing needs without increasing the hardware platform.

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Limitations

Significance tests and statistical data analysis will not be conducted to evaluate the impact of visualization and cloud computing on organizations moving from old computing models to new technologies.

Delimitations

To ensure the validity of the results, the study uses delimitations including using a few case examples including google.com while dwelling more on an academic study to answer the research questions. Thus, the study will concentrate on theoretical propositions and academic research to try to establish a comprehensive baseline of understanding virtualization, cloud computing, the relationship between the technologies, and the benefits organization derive from these technologies.

Assumptions

The main assumption is that the findings are commensurate with computing needs in the practical environment.

Theoretical Support

Virtualization

Virtualization is defined as “the ability to run multiple operating systems on a single physical system and share the underlying hardware resources” (Wilde & Hubber, n.d; Chen, & Noble, 2001; Garfinkel & Rosenblum, 2003). On the other hand, cloud computing is defined as “the provisioning of services in a timely (near on instant), on-demand manner, to allow the scaling up and down of resources” (Wilde & Hubber, n.d). Thus, virtualization is one of the dynamic factors of cloud computing that provide an interoperable platform for cloud computing (Petriu, Woodside, 2005). Typically, Virtualization provides platforms such as operating systems, hardware, and software resources upon which cloud computing offers on demand services with scalability options based on demand for services. Typically, virtualization has its foundation on the concept of a virtual machine. A virtual machine executes its tasks on a physical platform under the supervisory mode of a virtual machine monitor (VMM), often referred to as hypervisor. Xen. VMM is a product that belongs to the family of open source software products (Krutz & Vines, 2010).

Impact of Virtualization

The impact of virtualization will be studied has shown throughput in CPU resource utilization as one of the significant benefits of virtualization (Gu & Grossman, 2008). Typically, the benefit is realized by allowing fewer CPU cycles and support for off-host architecture in minimizing performance problems due to large amounts of data traffic in a virtual environment (Krutz & Vines, 2010).

Organizations intending to upgrade their IT infrastructure find the process technically less intensive, less demanding, and simplified. In addition to that, virtualization allows users and stakeholders to own the entire migration process from old to new technologies in different environments (Virtualization Overview, 2006).

One such is the thin environment. In a thin environment, a server with a capacity of 200 GB, which is intended to be scaled to 400 GB, will have to acquire a complete physical capacity similar to 400 GB. On the other hand, dynamic allocation of space in a similar server in a virtualized environment for available space can be increment online and allocations are serviced on demand without any detrimental effect on users and the performance of the server. In addition to that, virtualization enables efficient utilization of energy and other performance related functions. Virtualization also allows for incremental addition or scaling of resources on demand in an efficient manner. Other additional benefits include fault tolerance, economies of scale, data servers, usage protocols on server levels, and virtual machine mobility. Based on the benefits realized from the use of virtualization technologies, different organizations have pursued integration and use of virtualization technologies to exploit the benefits associated with the technology. One typical example is VMWARE (Scheffy, 2007).

Organizations using Virtualization

Many organizations have adopted virtualization technologies based on a range of benefits already outlined above. Among the firms in the list include VMWARE. VMWARE is an example of a firm that has pioneered a number of virtualization technologies including the VMware pioneered x86-based virtual technology in 1988 which exploited the concept of software and hardware virtualization in a virtual environment. In a typical VMware environment, a uniform image created in a virtual environment by the virtual machine consists of different servers across which workloads are balanced in a virtual center. The platform thus created provides a baseline for operating systems, which also provide a platform for other applications and utilities to execute in the virtual environment (Redhat, 2007; Lorincz, Redwine & Sheh, 2003; Hao, Lakshman, Mukherjee & Song, 2009).

Virtual PC and Virtualization

A virtual PC is a tool that enables users to exploit the services provided on a virtualized platform to access services from the cloud. That, establishes a strong link between virtualization and cloud computing. The above statement provides the rationale to investigate the virtual PC in relating to virtualization and cloud computing as discussed below.

A virtual PC provides the capabilities to access services for the users by running and accessing different services from the virtualized environment to the cloud. However, different operating systems have different configurations, software, and hardware requirements for virtual PCs (Lorincz, Redwine & Sheh, 2003).

Security in a Virtual Environment

Typically, operating systems security is often compromised, thus usurping system integrity. That demands for a secure root virtual machine to disallow any interference with guest programms from modifying the functionality of the virtual environment. On the other hand, in a cloud-computing environment, security is also of paramount importance to ensure data and applications integrity, discussed under the cloud computing section (Jain, 2007; Miller, 2008). In a virtualization environment, different strategies used to enforce security at different levels are discussed below.

Security Issues

Detection is one of the technologies used to identify and isolate malware and the security threats with the potential danger to modify data, which might lead to a potential disaster. Typically, various security threats inherent in a virtual environment especially targeting the running environment of a virtual machine are identifiable. One such is the susceptibility of hostility in a virtual environment. These hostilities might lead to corruption of data and procedures in the virtual environment. A number of perspectives detail the security threats and their potential impact in a virtual environment. These include, but not limited to complete compromise, partial compromise, to abnormal compromise of the security of the virtual environment.

Cloud Computing

The services in the cloud are modeled into cloud platform as a service (PaaS), cloud software as a service (SaaS), and cloud infrastructure as services. It is defined as “the provisioning of services in a timely (near on instant), on-demand manner, to allow the scaling up and down of resources” (Wilde & Hubber, n.d). These services define the architecture of cloud computing. Cloud computing is modeled on private, hybrid,community, and public clouds. This technology encapsulates various elements that are integral to its genesis. These include utility computing, to ensure effective service delivery to customers and grid computing that endeavors to provide optimal solutions to computational problems. This approach rivals parallel processing where resources are pooled together to provide optimal solutions to problems through advanced computing powers. In addition to these, autonomic computing is another element that automates a computing device to perform its tasks without external controls as used in breathing systems and other practical areas of applications (Ormandy, 2009).

On the other hand, virtualization from the above definition of cloud computing provides the platform for cloud computing, implying that cloud computing takes virtualization to the next level (Jaeger, Lin & Grimes, 2008). These technologies include thin clients and browsers for accessing enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle, high-speed broadband access that forms the backbone of cloud computing, and Server firms and data centers that place demands for large computing capacities. Some of the areas where cloud-computing technologies have been integrated include Google.com. According to Jaeger, Lin & Grimes (2008), Google has pooled together a large number of servers to provide tremendous computing powers for its services (Reese, 2009).

On the other hand, virtualization is a concept that describes the abstraction of computer resources from applications to end users. It enables the implementation of multi-tenancy on shared and scalable platforms for different tenants and offers dedicated services to customers. Different tasks and task executing environments logically partition physical resources to optimize their usage, as is evident in a Virtual 3.1 Machine Monitor.

Virtualization comes with a variety of benefits to the consumer. These include abstraction of shared resources such as databases, operating systems, data storages, and applications. To realize the benefits due to virtualization, different environments define and incorporate the concept in different ways. Some of the areas where virtualization has been applied as a platform to implement cloud computing include systems such as sun micro system, Sun xVM in its supervisor environment, and a host of other technologies (Jaeger, Lin & Grimes, 2008; Provos, 2003). Virtualization focuses on security issues that span users and service providers. Typically, all forms of external services, customers, and service providers need to work in a secure environment. Service providers therefore endeavor to ensure that cloud-computing infrastructure integrates security measures to prevent inadvertent or intentional modification of files and data while on transmission. Thus, the need for cloud service providers to show evidence of security audits for their services based on evaluations conducted against established benchmarks. One of the auditors for these cloud computing services providers includes SAS 70. A typical example of service providers certified to comply with security needs include Google and Microsoft. On the other hand, security compliance requirements regimes include European Data Privacy Directives, among others (Jaeger, Lin, Lin & Grimes, 2008; Varia, 2008).

Current Situation

Arguments show that cloud computing service providers subject their systems to security audits to create the kind of confidence in users of their services despite the fact that individual users are responsible for the ultimate security of the system. Data is stored at specific locations designated by the customer and not the service provider. That inspires a degree of confidence in the user of the system. Data encryption and segmentation typically provides secure data storage facilities. It is incumbent upon the service provider to use well designed and reliable encryption techniques based on algorithms that are not easy to decrypt.

Security Issues

Like a virtualized environment, cloud computing service providers should incorporate self-regulatory measures to ensure compliance. These include privacy (Jaeger, Lin & Grimes, 2008).

An analysis of cloud computing infrastructure evidently lays demands in meeting some of the basic security requirements. These security requirements are characterized by dependability where a software product provides security against malicious attacks, trustworthiness in which software provides logical protection against malicious attacks, and confidentiality where the software provides protection in the areas of intellectual property rights, encryption, covert channels, traffic analysis, and inference. In addition to that, cloud computing should meet standards for ensuring that data communicated through different mediums should be characterized by the three principles of data integrity. These include security against unauthorized modification and internal and external consistency of data. Cloud computing resources should provide appropriate reliable and timely access to data and guarantee system functionality (Dunlap, King, Cinar, Basrai & Chen, 2002).

This system security should be at the level of security service provided by cloud software. These include authentication, authorization, auditing, and accountability. Authentication ensures the integrity and identity of the user, authorizations focuses on user access privileges, and auditing evaluates system security issues and intrusion detections. This security demands and paradigm discussed above can best be illustrated on a monolithic architecture of an identity and access management framework illustrated below.

Other security concerns include spoofing, a technique where an intruder uses a technique to convince the system that its communicating with a genuine and trusted party to validate a communication, back-door where dial up modems to gain access into a network without going through authorized control mechanisms and hijacking to ensure attackers or intruders do not hijack sessions between trusted communicating parties. Other security concerns include dumpster driving, social engineering, TCP hijacking, man-in-the-middle, and replay (Joshi, King, Dunlap, & Chen, 2005).

Joshi, King, Dunlap, and Chen (2005) argue that cloud computing is an area of technology that is experiencing exponential growth inspired by the low cost associated with the technology. Thus, the cost benefit has had an impact on individual businesses, start-ups, and largely, enterprise business. Individual businesses are attracted to the technology with the expectations of low prices that are paid for the service offered. Service provisions include accountancy services, online banking, advertisements, and office assistants among a host of other services. On the other hand startups may be wooed into this technology given the high costs of starting a new IT department in a firm. The main challenge is scalability as transaction volumes increase. This relies on cross platform interoperability. Excess capacity is handled in its own way. Peak demands are addressed by invoking a pay as you go concept (Seshadri, Luk, Qu & Perrig, 2007).

Noteworthy are open source software. These have a role to play in cloud computing but attract different perceptions by different users. However, open source software comes with a host of other benefits. Among them is eases of access of software code, ease of adoption, no vendor lock, manageable and modifiable to suit the user, and low or no barrier at all to new users in trying the software (Payne, Carbone, Sharif, & Lares, 2008).

Payne, Carbone, Sharif, and Lares (2008) argue on the other hand that, large enterprises have thrust themselves into cloud computing due to the benefits realized from services offered on the cloud.

It is clear that control application servers, virtual machines, storage, and network infrastructure on premise are linked to the on premise host while showing the relations between other sections. That is in addition to security collaborations based on the architecture of cloud computing as illustrated below.

From Cloud Security and Privacy

Large and middle owned organizations have realized the benefits that come with cloud computing powers. This is despite the security concerns involved with cloud computing. Large organizations such as the Amazon develop and use cloud computing in their e-commerce activities having realized the benefits accruing from its implementation and use. Since cloud computing is a new computing model, there are concerns about how security can be enforced and maintained at network level, host, data and information levels, and the application level. In addition to that, the adequacy of privacy enforcements by this computing model has been thrown into question. Privacy is a sensitive issue and the concept of cloud computing does not provide adequate description of satisfactory approaches of enforcing privacy on sensitive data.

Cloud computing is an amalgamation of technologies that has experienced an exponential growth in the recent past. It is an integration of grid computing and utility computing that is modeled on private, hybrid, community, and public clouds. The architectural model of cloud computing provides services modeled into cloud platform as a service (PaaS), cloud software as a service (SaaS), and cloud infrastructure as services. It endeavors to provide and enforce security at user and customer levels based on standards that are not clear cut. However, the concept provides such computing abilities in the e-market front and other enterprises to attract a large number of vendors (Lamb, 2009; Michael & Fox, 2009).

While there is no clear cut definition of cloud computing is not provided, the technology provides a powerful computing model that has experienced exponential growth in privates and public enterprises. Measured services, resource pooling, location independence, exponential elasticity are issues which characterize the technology which is a on-demand self-service, and ubiquitous network access. The services are modeled into cloud platform as a service (PaaS), cloud software as a service (SaaS), and cloud infrastructure as services. These services define the architecture of cloud computing. Cloud computing is modeled on private, hybrid, community, and public clouds. To enforce data integrity, confidentiality, and other security measures, organizations need to come together and device standards against which security measures have to be evaluated (Payne, Carbone & Lee, 2007).

Why Companies are moving towards Virtualization computing

Research has shown that virtualization provides a platform upon which organizations such as Google.com, Amazon.com offer services based on cloud-computing technologies with the number of new entrants growing by the day to fulfill their business objectives. However, these technologies come with a myriad of security issues though many companies are shifting towards the virtual cloud and discarding their old computing models. A number of factors attracting organizations into the mentioned computing models include the cost effectiveness of conducting computing services from the cloud without incurring the cost of setting up IT infrastructure. In addition to that, many organizations find the provision of services to be web based thus moving many of the resource requirements to the virtual computing environment.

Typically, contemporary approaches to software and hardware resource usage has been identified to be a more costly and inefficient approach. In addition to that, the old architectural approach of organizing hardware and software layers adds to the inefficiency of old systems. Thus, a better way to address organizational computing needs in an efficient and cost effective manner has been to leverage organizations in adapting to the cloud computing environment (Lorincz, Redwine,& Sheh, 2003).

The five fundamental characteristics of cloud computing leveraged by the benefits discussed above have significantly contributed to the movement of organizations towards the cloud. The five characteristics include ubiquitous network access, high degree of elasticity, location independence, measured services, resource pooling, and Ubiquitous network access (Krutz & Vines, 2010). In addition to that, cloud computing can be modeled after the private cloud model, public cloud, hybrid cloud, and community cloud to serve specific needs of organizations. On the other hand, organizations owning the cloud can lease their services to different users on demand. However, it is possible either for the clouds to be owned privately or by the public (Krutz & Vines, 2010).

The value proposition motivating organizations to move towards virtualization include scalability. Scalability allows IT infrastructure to meet rising demand and performance needs of a business. Krutz and Vines (2010) observe that when computing needs to an organization exceed the capacity of its computing resources, managers find a virtualized computing environment as the best solution to fulfill additional computing needs. That implies that a cloud-computing environment can be virtualized dynamically to allow for high levels of redundancy to ensure reliability and high levels of availability (Krutz & Vines, 2010).

Organizations eye the mutual benefits of customers and suppliers in sharing data and applications without the need to focus on the computing infrastructure as an improved business process (Krutz & Vines, 2010).

Cloud computing and virtualization are two different approaches to computing. However, cloud computing and virtualizations are complimentary. Cloud computing is an integration of grid computing and utility computing that is modeled on private, hybrid, community, and public clouds. The architectural model of cloud computing provides services modeled into cloud platform as a service (PaaS), cloud software as a service (SaaS), and cloud infrastructure as services. On the other hand, virtualization provides a platform upon which cloud computing provides services to end users (Rittinghouse, 2009).

Typically, virtualization is viewed as a single computing environment able to run different applications concurrently while cloud computing spans services on multiple computing locations. Virtualization provides scalability and flexibility in dynamic allocation of resources based on demand. In addition to that, it is possible to create templates to create similar or identical servers in a virtual environment. Research has shown that servers in a virtual environment have the flexibility of being migrated across different platforms without disrupting users and other tasks during the migration period.

Other findings indicate that virtual serves can be migrated to new hosts even when a host is lost. Thus, virtualization embraces the concept of incremental growth by allowing for maintenance without disrupting current users. In addition to that, high availability is a benefit to organizations that embrace the virtualization concept. Other benefits include flexibility and ease of deployment, high levels of redundancies, flexibility in the pooling of resources, and high level of resource optimization.

On the other hand, the research has shown that different companies have embraced the virtualization concept. These include Microsoft, VMware, and several other organizations. It is also important to note that virtualization is supported on different technologies, key benign the virtual machine (Stratus Technologies, 2010).

Further findings indicate that virtualization demands security implementations typically defined by data and code executions in a virtual environment. These include accidental modification of data and programs and by either resident programs or hostile programs. A typical example of the relationship between virtualization and cloud computing is best demonstrated in fig 1 below.

Relationship between virtualization and cloud computing
Figure 1: Relationship between virtualization and cloud computing

On the other hand, cloud computing, from the above literature, takes virtualization to the next level in computing. Typically, that has led organizations to adapt to the cloud to reap the benefits that come with cloud computing.

Findings on cloud computing on benefits to be investigated include the ability to interlink distant components into a single whole to offer services to different users is one of the benefits of cloud computing. Organizations are saved from the upfront capital investments that require large capital investments to purchase hardware, software, routers, and other hardware requirements to set up a cloud-computing infrastructure. In addition to that, cloud computing provides a platform for the efficient utilization of resources, and acts as a just-in-time infrastructure for the computing needs of organizations. However, a number of security issues need to be addressed by organizations that take their computing tasks to the cloud. These include confidentiality, while virtualization related security issue includes data integrity. Thus, confidentiality in a cloud-computing environment regards encapsulation and protection of data from unauthorized disclosure of information. Different mechanisms used to implement confidentiality in a cloud include data encryption services, authentication services through the network, and security protocols implemented at the network level. Thus, the virtual environment should afford the security issues reflected in the cloud (Ristenpart, Tromer, Shacham & Savage, 2009).

Another security issue includes integrity. Integrity requires that data is not intentionally or unintentionally modified while on transmission will be researched. Intentional or unintentional attacks can cause the loss of data integrity. In the cloud-computing environment, organizations maintain data integrity through different mechanisms, which include use of firewalls, intrusion detection mechanisms and several other techniques to manage system security.

Significance of the Study

The impact of virtualization and cloud computing as an approach used by organizations to offer computing services and the shift towards the technologies by large organizations is worth investigating. Typically, the rationale of the study is founded on the continued shift of organizations from the old computing models towards virtualization and cloud computing, a trend that has widely received significant acceptance in the computing world. Therefore, the need to establish the architecture of the underlying technologies will from the baseline for the study to inform and crystallize the technologies and their relationship, and the approach used by organizations to adapt to the technologies. In addition to that, the study will contribute significantly to the current body of knowledge in the academic commercial world on the two concepts of virtualization and cloud computing, the relationship between the technologies. It will further establish concrete reasons that are driving organizations away from investing in the traditional computing models towards the new technologies despite the security threats and issues associated with the technologies. In addition to that, fundamental security questions and issues will be answered in the paper for organizations intending to move to the virtualization and cloud computing environments, and associated commercial benefits.

Research Methodology

The proposed research will draw on the research problem as detailed in the statement of the research problem the research questions and the sub-questions will provide the foundation of the research by guiding on the questions whose answers are investigated. Typically, the research questions will provide answers to the questions on what visualization and cloud computing technologies are, how these technologies are related, their architectural framework, and benefits organizations get from adapting the technologies, compelling these organizations to shift from old technologies to the new technologies. The inquiry will endeavor to utilize available resources to provide an answer on the benefits associated with the technologies, by conducting an exhaustive search on companies that provide a benchmark for other organizations intending to shift towards the cloud. The research will, after an exhaustive literature review, provide concrete evidence on the architecture of both technologies, and end with a conclusion on the facts established about the technologies, their relationship. In addition, the research will seek to examine security issues associated with the technologies, and derived benefits.

The baseline of the study will be qualitative and desk based literature review. The study will take a tripartite approach by focusing on virtualization, cloud computing, and concrete reasons for the shift by companies into the new technologies despite the security threats and risks associated with the computing approach. A qualitative research has its baseline on social sciences that will endeavor to provide the answer to the inquiry on the reasons compelling companies to move towards virtualization and cloud computing despite the security risks and threats inherent in such technologies. According to Miles and Huberman (1994), a qualitative research will provide answers and valuable information on the shift to the new technologies, and might be used to provide some answers on quantitative information such as the number of companies providing computing services on the new technologies. On the other hand, Rutman (1996) views a qualitative research as a complimentary tool in conducting a desk based review of literature to provide in depth information on the current study under investigations. One approach used in the study as a prelude to the research is establishing theoretical support for the basis for academic comprehension of the foundations of virtualization and cloud computing technologies from which companies draw for practical implementation in the computing industry, as discussed in the preceding sections. Several academic and online sources will provide the basis for the literature review to inform the study on the focus of the study.

Organization of the Study

In view of the adoption of the technologies, i.e. virtualization and cloud computing, it will be of significant value to establish the underlying architecture of the technologies, the relationship between the technologies, the benefits associated with the technologies, and the security risks and related security issues. Thus, the inquiry will be organized along a number of chapters and sub-sections. Chapter 1 presents the introductory part of the study incorporating research questions, significance of the study, the statement problem, and other research variables. Then, chapter II follows with the literature review, followed by chapter III that presents research design and methodology, chapter IV analysis and discussions, and chapter V that covers conclusion of the findings.

It is imperative to note that chapter II that is the literature review section will guide the research on different sources of knowledge on the current research under investigation, how the knowledge contributes to the current inquiry, knowledge gaps in the research, and the strength of the relationship between the research literature and the current virtualization and cloud computing environments. On the other hand, analysis and discussion sections covers knowledge gained from the literature review and answers the question on how the knowledge thus gained contributes to answering the research question and sub-questions. In addition, sources used in the literature review are intended to be current reflecting the current trend in the computing industry. However, other sources providing valuable information will be factored to take the research to a better level. Thus, the research objectives will be fulfilled in answer of the research questions. The study will be organized along the inquiries based desk based literature, the internet, different journals and researchers who have conducted research on virtualization, cloud computing, the relationship between the technologies, and reasons why organizations are moving towards the cloud. In addition, books will form additional sources of knowledge in the study.

Proposal Summary

The research will focus on cloud computing and virtualization as complimentary technologies and the rationale for companies moving towards the new computing platforms to enable upcoming organizations understand the rationale for the shift in technologies. Typically, Virtualization and cloud computing are new technologies that provide a platform for the provision of computing services on demand. Virtualization provides a platform to run different applications on the underlying hardware platform by running multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. In addition to that, Virtualization provides a platform consisting of hardware, software, and other applications upon which cloud computing provides services on demand. On the other hand, cloud computing takes virtualization to the next level in computing and provide scalability of the virtualization platforms based on demand for the services offered on the cloud. Cloud computing and virtualization run on hostile environments and the need to enhance security due to the hostility of the executing environment is important. Different firms of security threats affect users of the cloud such as unauthorized access to data, confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Thus, companies, academic institutions, and upcoming organizations will find a strong rationale for adopting cloud computing and virtualization technologies in offering computing services despite the security threats and risks inherent in the technologies.

References

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