The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Edward L. Haletky

VMsafe – Vendor Implementations at VMworld

With the advent of existing VMsafe products from Altor Networks, Reflex Systems, and ones on the horizon from Trend Micro and others in the security space, all administrators should have a clear understanding of how they work under the covers. Where does VMsafe appear within the stack? Is VMsafe on the incoming physical NICs, within the vSwitch, portgroups, or before or after the vNIC? Can we expect the other aspects of VMsafe to be the same? While I was discussing VMsafe with the vendors, VMware was also going around and talking to all the VMsafe vendors for VMware TV shots.

Veeam, Vizioncore, and PhD Virtual all showed there latest released products as well as the future products that integrate with VMware vSphere at much deeper levels that previously available, ala the VMware vStorage API. Talk was also about expanding their products into Microsoft Hyper-V as well as Citrix XenServer. This space has become so important that even the traditional backup vendors such as Symantec (BackupExec) as well as HP (DataProtector) are getting into the act. This shows ecosystem as well as market maturity not seen at last years VMworld.

There have been several interesting posts in the blogosphere about virtualization security and how to measure it. Specifically, the discussions are really about the size of the hypervisor footprint or about the size of patches. But hypervisor footprints from a security perspective are neither of these. The concern when dealing with hypervisor security is about Risk not about the size of the hypervisor or the size of a patch it is purely about the Risks associated with the hypervisor in terms if confidentiality, availability, and integrity.

There have been a recent set of VMware Communities questions that have got me thinking about the prospect of virtualizing high performance computing (vHPC) and whether or not this is even practical, reasonable, and would give any gains to HPC. I think there are some gains to be made but with everything there are some concerns as well. This is of interest to me as at one time I was deep into High Performance Technical Computing and marrying Virtualization to HPC/HPTC would be a very interesting option.

The biggest question I ask myself when I see VMsafe appliances is: will it replace my current virtual firewall setup? Replace my Anti-virus? or Both? I am seeing a trend that gives me pause. That is a VMsafe appliance being more than one thing. For example, Trend Micro is an Anti-Virus company that bought Third Brigade (a firewall company) and are now in the mix of merging the two technologies into one. What has happened to one tool that does one thing and does that one thing very well?

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