Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Containers Expo Blog

Agile Computing: Article

Virtualization Security: VMware Crosses the Rubicon

Will The Netsec Industry Finally Wake Up to the Potential of Virtsec?

While the press and blogs are buzzing about cloud computing, VMware has made probably one of the most significant cloud-related announcements ever made; and with : vShield Zones has added even more distance between rivals when it comes to data center and cloud security.

Last year at VMworld in Cannes, VMware announced the VMsafe VMware security partner ecosystem. The virtualization security "industry" had been notably silent (other than a colorful row between security blogger/expert Chris Hoff and Citrix CTO Simon Crosby) for the rest of 2008. Virtualization expert Rich Miller even mentioned the sound of security silence at VMworld Las Vegas in September:

The theme I noted most at VMworld 2007 a year ago was "security."  This year, it seemed noticeably absent.  My sense is that the industry has yet to catch up and capitalize on VMsafe. Because all of the "next generation" of offerings from VMware and the independent providers are still in development, no one made too much of security issues.

The contrast between the Cannes security ecosystem exuberance and VMware crossing the Rubicon at VMworld Cannes 2009 marked a stunning and much needed shift in the virtualization space. It was the first serious step by any vendor towards a real solution for securing the cloud and moving data center virtualization deployments from virtualization-lite (hypervisor VLANs) to "rack and stack" cloud environments.

While Microsoft and Citrix make price adjustments VMware launches genuine innovation that could significantly change the economics of IT in production environments. Security is a critical differentiator when it comes to deploying virtualization in production data centers and creating cloud environments.

This move is not without risk, as VMware had invested great effort in lining up a security partner ecosystem which was kicked off the year before in Cannes, which I celebrated via an interview with Tarry Singh during my recent tenure at Blue Lane (which was acquired by VMware in 2008).

If the Blue Lane acquisition didn't send a chill down the spine of the network security industry, this announcement should. It signals a new era in security introduced, ironically, by a virtualization vendor. Despite the virtsec exuberance and optimism introduced by the new and novel security requirements, much of the network security industry was caught flat-footed. And that still seems to be the case.

Gartner VP Neil MacDonald summed it up with his recent blog about the traditional security vendors:

Many are clinging to business models based on their overpriced hardware-based solutions and not offering virtualized versions of their solutions. They are afraid of the inevitable disruption (and potential cannibalization) that virtualization will create.

The writing is on the wall for network security vendors who have elected to wait and see if the "cloud computing hype" is just a passing fad or are clinging to obsolete technology or business models. The vShield announcement could also a double-edged sword for the virtsec startup vendors: 1) who could be more isolated than ever from the virtsec momentum within VMware and yet 2) possibly more strategic now that VMware has played a real security card in the marketing battle.

With the VMware vShield Zones announcement, any vendor who thinks that virtualization and security are two separate and distinct matters is headed for the distinctive Club Maginot school of static security expertise. They are about to relive the fates of French officers watching German planes fly over the massive, integrated and ambitious French defense investment at one of its strongest points (in Belgium). The wall was designed for WW1 and was partly responsible for a rapid German conquest of France in early WW2.

Virtualization and cloud are introducing new demands on security, because they are introducing new, unprecedented levels of mobility and automation for systems and endpoints. The economic payoffs are so promising that cloud promises to have a substantial impact on the computing era. The question is, are those who think in terms of static networks (whether they are security or network vendors or pros) fully prepared for the requirements of Infrastructure 2.0?

Yet the increased velocity of change is also making the network itself more strategic and yet more challenged. This collision between automated systems and manually managed networks will produce significant opportunities for networking vendors and professionals who understand the power and opportunity of automation; and significant risks for those still riding the "kludge train" of manual reactions to the automation revolution now proliferating within the bowels of IT.

I am a senior director at Infoblox. You can follow my comments in real time at www.twitter.com/archimedius.

 

More Stories By Greg Ness

Gregory Ness is the VP of Marketing of Vidder and has over 30 years of experience in marketing technology, B2B and consumer products and services. Prior to Vidder, he was VP of Marketing at cloud migration pioneer CloudVelox. Before CloudVelox he held marketing leadership positions at Vantage Data Centers, Infoblox (BLOX), BlueLane Technologies (VMW), Redline Networks (JNPR), IntruVert (INTC) and ShoreTel (SHOR). He has a BA from Reed College and an MA from The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken on virtualization, networking, security and cloud computing topics at numerous conferences including CiscoLive, Interop and Future in Review.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...