VMware and Microsoft approach the Small to Medium companies quite differently, but which product to buy often depends on your business needs vs cost of the products. However, there needs to be at least one major distinction: SMB vs SME.
I wonder how many of us remember when VMware bought BlueLane and their technology, good things were promised, we saw the first part with the release of vSphere when they introduced vShield Zones. This was a “Free” product for those of you that had any version above Advanced vSphere and to be fair for a 1.0 release was a nice weapon to have in your armoury when dealing with Security during a design and implementation phase.
At VMworld 2010 San Francisco VMware announced and released the expanded and improved vShield family of products. it however now a costed product, now the good news is that vShield Zones been not been removed from the vSphere suite, and are still “Free” the the correctly licensed level of vSphere.
A quick synopsis of the products, the technology has been split into three products these being:
VMware vShieldApp – Protect Applications from Network-Based Threats
VMware vShield Edge – Secure the Edge of the Datacenter
The most recent Virtualization Security Podcast was on the subject of virtualization security for the SMB. Specifically covering the case where the customer wanting virtualization security could afford to purchase a hypervisor and perhaps one other security product. In the end the panelists came up with a list of suggestions for virtualization security for the SMB that are applicable to all levels of Virtualization. The panel looked at SMB security with an eye towards Availability, Integrity, and Confidentiality.
The list follows:
Download/create a Security and Incident Response Policy: It is very important to have a policy as this will not only let you know your responsibility and legal coverage but will also contain what you need to do if there is a security incident we respect to your data and environment.
Given the hype in the press, most SMBs are now starting to be curious about what the “cloud” means for them. They may be surprised to realize they are already partially in the cloud.
They have a website which is managed separately from the main IT function and hosted on some server somewhere in the cloud.
Their email may or may not be in the cloud, depending on whether they have on-premises Exchange or hosted Exchange/pop/imap.
They may use some hosted line-of-business ISV applications, for example a CRM or a project management application
Whilst new SMBs may be dabbling with online application suites, the bulk of the established SMB workload, however, is done in desktop applications, typically Microsoft Office, running in various flavours of Windows with a Windows Server. This is definitely not in the cloud, and there are lots of very good reasons why it won’t be, and less radical solutions are likely to offer more benefit.
Small Businesses live by there online presence these days specifically during the holiday shopping season. Many small business also do not have the IT staff to maintain such a presence with the agility required when problems occur. In addition, they may also lack the basic management, networking, security, and storage knowledge to properly maintain this online presence internally, so they move their systems into hosting environments as virtual or physical machines or into the cloud. This begs the question of what service level such SMBs require?
It has been stated by some that SMBs should adopt cloud computing as the next best method to gain the best return on investment. However, is this really the case? Is cloud sufficiently advanced to provide compliance, security, and ROI? Do the SMBs know enough about the Cloud to properly utilize this powerful tool?
With the advent of VMware Go, vCloud Express, and the vCloud API, VMware’s marketing message is that all SMBs should use the cloud to either deploy their free hypervisor (VMware Go), or use the Cloud to run their servers (vCloud Express). VMware claimed at VMworld that we are no longer looking for ROI with Virtualization from a pure power and equipment costs, no we are now looking at virtualizing to save funds within the operational space of your company. Where best to do this than for SMBs to instead of owning their own equipment move their servers into the waiting vCloud Express providers such as Savvis, Terremark, Hosting.com, etc.