Feeds

Virtual security: Even better than the real thing?

The jury's still out

Application security programs and practises

VMworld VMware is taking some big steps in the security and network management arena with its vShield product set. I sat in on a deepish dive into the somewhat new security products being offered by VMware to deliver on the ‘secure’ part of their “Secure Hybrid Cloud” initiative.

The speakers went through each of the three offerings, along with outlining VMware’s security philosophy, at a very brisk pace. (VMware hasn’t yet provided the slide sets from the presentations, so I’m left with my cryptic and sometimes indecipherable notes.)

In terms of messages around VMware’s security offerings, I took away the following broad points:

1. Security is too complicated, and takes too many separate devices to configure/control.

2. Security now belongs in the hypervisor layer.

3. Workloads in VMs are more secure than workloads on physical systems.

4. Customers using vShield can cut security costs by 5x compared to today’s current state-of-the-art, while improving overall security.

Do I buy all of this? Let me put a firm stake in the sand by saying I’m sure that security is too complicated. It’s definitely too complicated for me. But all the rest of it? Color me undecided.

Putting security into the hypervisor layer makes conceptual sense from a simplification standpoint, and it would certainly cut down the number of things that need to be configured and managed. But does combining security with the hypervisor make things too simple? Is there enough configurability in the products to handle the unique needs of the enterprise?

I also have some questions about how this will impact overall VM and system performance. Under the vShield, separate hardware to handle security tasks is a thing of the past – security moves to the hypervisor layer and protects the guest VMs from intrusions, spam, and other nasty stuff. For example, as I understand it, you would have only one firewall per physical host that would protect all of the VMs running inside that host.

When asked, the VMware speakers did admit that this will add a significant processing load to the host systems, but said that the demands shouldn’t cause much impact on existing workloads since CPUs are still generally underutilized, even on highly virtualized systems.

They also made the point that eliminating security appliances would cut down on a lot of redundant processing due to the elimination of a myriad of individual appliances and potentially cut a lot of costs as well. Fair points all, but I’d like to see how it works in the real world and hear how it’s working with customers to see if the trade-offs are a net benefit.

The three new and/or improved vShield products that received the most attention at the show were vShield Edge, vShield App, and vShield Endpoint.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.