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Proofpoint and VMware team up for messaging security

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Comment Recently, Proofpoint Inc released the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway Virtual Edition, an enterprise-scale virtual appliance that provides messaging security.

The new solution utilises VMware's virtual appliance technology to allow simple deployment to provision new Proofpoint Virtual appliances very quickly in response to fluctuating demands.

The Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway Virtual Edition will run on any standard x86 desktop or server using VMware Player, VMware Workstation, VMware Server, or VMware Infrastructure. The pre-configured enterprise messaging security application, message transfer agent, and secure operating environment is currently in Beta trial and is expected to be generally available in Q4 2006.

The software is priced on a per-module, annual license fee based on the number of mailboxes protected. Proofpoint modules for anti-spam, anti-virus, content security, and secure messaging are priced separately. Support and maintenance are included in the cost of annual licenses. Any number of virtual appliance instances can be deployed for redundancy and scalability without penalty. Sample pricing indicates that a solution using the Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, and Content Compliance modules would have a list price around $10,000 a year for 250 users.

As the virtualisation market matures, Proofpoint has stated that it intends to introduce versions of its virtual appliance for additional virtualisation environments. A trial version of the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway Virtual Edition is available for download and can be installed and run on any x86 desktop or server hardware using VMware's free software.

For both Proofpoint and VMware this is a very interesting development. Proofpoint is well established as a supplier of security and privacy solutions to large enterprises but has traditionally deployed its offerings as physical appliances built not only to handle the security functionality but capable of dealing with very high volumes of traffic very effectively and at high speed.

Providing its functionality in a virtual appliance that could, in theory, run on any x86 platform supported by VMware is a major vote of confidence for VMware and will add significant new capabilities to its Virtual Appliance capabilities.

However, Proofpoint, and to a lesser degree VMware, will need to ensure that potential customers select appropriate physical hardware and manage the virtual appliances well in order to ensure that performance bottlenecks have no chance to make themselves felt.

VMware's Virtual Appliance strategy has much going for it as organisations seek to become more responsive to potentially wildly fluctuating demands for IT service. The Proofpoint development should add more variety and quality to the offerings already available. However, we believe that VMware needs to market its Virtual Appliance technology more aggressively and needs to educate potential customers and its many channel partners on where the solution makes sense.

Copyright © 2006, The Sageza Group

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