The cloud and security. As far as great double acts go, it's not quite in the same league as cookies and milk or rhythm and blues.
And that is a bit of a problem for the companies that have aspirations to make huge sums of money selling public cloud services, or public cloud infrastructure. The cloud may (or may not) be "secure," but that's not the point. As long as potential customers are not sure what to think, there's a barrier to making all that money.
So how do you banish from potential customers' minds any doubts about the cloud and security, and make them think of the two as going together as naturally as fish and chips?
VMware has clearly thought about this, and its Don Drapers have come up with a plan. It's not particularly new or innovative, but it's one that just might work: The virtualization technology company has beefed up its partnerships with some big names in the security community and announced a raft of joint security solutions. Hoping, no doubt, that some of the warm fuzzy security feelings will rub off on its virtualization and cloud products. You may not want to trust VMware virtualization technology to secure the public cloud by itself, but you can if it's in partnership with these security big boys, in other words.
The names in question are not to be sniffed at. In fact, they read like a veritable Who's Who of the major brands in the security world: Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, RSA, and Kaspersky, as well as some others like Bitdefender and Catbird for good measure.
Here's what VMware recently announced:
- HP:VMware and HP have jointly developed next-generation Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) solutions designed and optimized for VMware vSphere-based virtual and cloud environments. The HP TippingPoint IPS integrates with VMware vShield and VMware vCloud Director.
- Kaspersky:Kaspersky Security for Virtualization, to be released on April 12, will integrate with VMware's vShield Endpoint, providing centralized antimalware security through a unified "single pane of glass" management console for virtual, physical and mobile devices.
- McAfee:McAfee MOVE AV 2.5, currently in beta, enables anti-malware protection at the initiation of a virtual machine and integrates with VMware vShield Endpoint to offload key antivirus and anti-malware functions to a hardened, tamper-proof security virtual appliance, eliminating agent footprint.
- RSA:RSA has enhanced existing integration of RSA authentication technologies within the newest version of VMware View virtual desktop solutions to bolster security for mobile device access control.
- Symantec:Symantec and VMware have announced five new security integrations designed to deliver protection for virtual and cloud environments along with operational cost savings.
- Trend Micro:Trend Micro has integrated its Deep Security with VMware vShield Endpoint APIs to offer agent-less anti-malware file integrity monitoring (FIM).
- Bitdefender:Bitdefender Security for Virtualized Environments integrates with VMware vShield Endpoint to centralize anti-malware functions and increase consolidation ratios in virtualized server or desktop environments.
- Catbird: Catbird vSecurity is now integrated with VMware vShield App to broaden access control capabilities for compliance enforcement.
Of course, VMware is not the only one to benefit if the public cloud and security become seen as a dynamic duo. All of these security companies stand to gain considerably from their partnership with the cloud and virtualization technology market leader.
If the products deliver what they are supposed to, cloud users benefit, too. The downside is that they'll be the ones that ultimately pay for this security, but, hey, that's part of the cost of doing business in the cloud.
Paul Rubens is a journalist based in Marlow on Thames, England. He has been programming, tinkering and generally sitting in front of computer screens since his first encounter with a DEC PDP-11 in 1979.