Antivirus Practices for VMware View 5

Although the paper is written for VMware View, there is a lot to be learned from it for other desktop virtualization solutions using ESX.

Desktop virtualization is a transformative platform technology that can deliver cost-effective, manageable  network and desktop access to workers with diverse computing needs. However, with security threats  becoming more sophisticated, more frequent, more targeted, and potentially more profitable to those who  seek to inflict damage, IT administrators must increase their vigilance and find security solutions for the  virtual desktop environment. Solutions such as log analysis, host-based intrusion-prevention system (HIPS)  technology, firewalls, and antivirus software need to evolve and adapt to desktop virtualization. This paper focuses on the best practices for protection against viruses in the VMware View™ 5 virtual desktop  environment. Antivirus software is one of the largest segments in today’s computer security market. Nearly  every enterprise deploys antivirus software on every desktop. As services such as security, mobility, access  control, and line-of-business applications are all rolled up into the datacenter or cloud, antivirus practices need  to be rolled up as well. The typical top-down virus scanning model involves desktop antivirus scanning and signature file updates, with  access to an auto-update server. During these operations, it is not uncommon for system resource usage to  spike or become overly committed. Performance in the desktop environment is severely impacted by these  “antivirus storms.”

With VMware View, you can examine the system bottleneck during an antivirus storm, when virus scanners are  running at the same time as users are accessing virtual desktops. Antivirus storms can cause 100% saturation  in shared compute (CPU) and SAN/NAS (storage I/O) environments. In addition, the memory footprint  is significant when antivirus software is installed on each virtual machine. Traditional antivirus agents are  resource-intensive and not optimized for highly utilized, efficient clouds.
Antivirus storms can defeat the cost-cutting achievements of a virtual desktop implementation. To answer the need to eliminate antivirus storms and to maximize performance and consolidation ratios in the virtual desktop  environment, VMware offers a solution.


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