Data Protection and Rapid Recovery from Attack with a Virtual Private File Server and Virtual Machine Applicances

J.N. Matthews, J.J. Herne, T.M. Deshane, P.A. Jablonski, L.R. Cherian, and M.T. McCabe (USA)


Virtual machines, System recovery


When a personal computer is attacked, both personal data like digital photos and system configuration information like installed programs can be lost. To protect personal data, we house it in a file server virtual machine running on the same physical host and export it to other virtual machines running on the same host. We implement this private file server virtual machine using a modified version of an NFS server installed in a virtual machine under various virtualization environments such as Xen and VMware. We also demonstrate that by placing the user’s applications in a virtual machine rather than directly on the base machine we can provide near instant recovery of system configuration information. We quantify the costs of this architecture by comparing benchmarks running directly on a base operating system and accessing data in a local filesystem to those running in a guest operating system and accessing data in an NFS partition mounted from a file server virtual machine. We find that for Xen the overhead of read intensive workloads is at most 5% and for write intensive workloads the overhead is at most 24%. For system benchmarks that stress CPU and memory performance, we see no noticeable degradation.

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