If a small number of physical servers are used to run an OS and reverse proxy purely in RAM and have no storage, and they are rebooted/re-initiated in relay every X minutes - so that changes to the system while in RAM are wiped - does this provide a real security benefit over more standard always on servers?
The specific proposed approach of rebooting full server instances every n minutes would in practice be far too operationally expensive and fragile to entertain in a production environment, but the ideas of:
- automatically refreshing one's plant on a regular basis
- disallowing durable writes on edge services (except perhaps for logging)
are good ones for security and other reasons and are common threads in DevOps practices going back decades.
Most recently, container technologies now embody these and related practices:
- containers are quick to "boot" and can be efficiently used for applications whose lifespans are measured in high tens of seconds to low numbers of minutes
- containers are immutable after creation, so file system writes are not durably retained
- containers provide additional sandbox capabilities for constraining application access to sensitive resources
- platform dependencies used in containers can be inspected and new container templates cut when needed, an improvement over the fragile practice of deploying patches
Take a look at Docker, "cattle vs pets" and "immutable infrastructure" to learn more.