Journal of Computer Security

Towards automated security policy enforcement in multi-tenant virtual data centers

View publication


Virtual data centers allow the hosting of virtualized infrastructures (networks, storage, machines) that belong to several customers on the same physical infrastructure. Virtualization theoretically provides the capability for sharing the infrastructure among different customers. In reality, however, this is rarely (if ever) done because of security concerns. A major challenge in allaying such concerns is the enforcement of appropriate customer isolation as specified by high-level security policies. At the core of this challenge is the correct configuration of all shared resources on multiple machines to achieve this overall security objective. To address this challenge, this paper presents a security architecture for virtual data centers based on virtualization and Trusted Computing technologies. Our architecture aims at automating the instantiation of a virtual infrastructure while automatically deploying the corresponding security mechanisms. This deployment is driven by a global isolation policy, and thus guarantees overall customer isolation across all resources. We have implemented a prototype of the architecture based on the Xen hypervisor. © 2010-IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.