Gartner Research

Network Security Architectures for Virtualized Data Centers

Published: 13 April 2013

ID: G00249871

Analyst(s): Eric Maiwald


Network security zoning in virtual environments is a necessary security control. Multiple architectures are available, and for proper risk management, the choice must be based on control type, separation of duties, the impact on the virtual environment, and management.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Network Security Controls and Risk Management
  • Security Control Location
  • Dependencies
  • Policy Enforcement
    • Computing Needs
    • Efficiency
  • Monitoring
  • Movement of Virtual Machines
  • Trust Required of the Virtual Environment
  • Separation of Duties
  • Management
  • Combinations
  • Market Activity


  • Determine the Level of Risk That the Enterprise Is Willing to Accept
  • Determine the Level of Granularity That Is Required in Your Policies
  • Determine the Type of Policies and the Level of Inspection That Are Required
  • Identify the Level of Trust to Place in the Virtual Environment
  • Determine How the Movement of VMs Will Impact the Virtual Network, and Plan Security Controls to Minimize Inefficiency
  • Determine the Level of Control That Needs to Be Implemented to Monitor and/or Limit the Virtual Environment Administrator
  • Develop Processes and Procedures for the Configuration and Management of the Virtual Environment and for the Security Controls That Are Implemented
  • When Choosing Products for Virtual Environments, Favor Products With Strong Integration to the Virtual Environment
  • Determine the Architecture First, and Then Examine Security Vendor Offerings

The Details

  • Deploying Separate Virtual Environments With Physical Security Mechanisms
  • Deploying Host Agents to Individual VMs
  • Using the Capabilities of the Switch
    • Control
    • Monitoring
  • Using Hypervisor-Based Controls
  • Using Non-Hypervisor-Based Network Security Controls

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