What do virtualization executives think about 2009? A VMBlog.com Series Exclusive.
Contributed by Scott Ferguson, Vice President, Product Management, Apani
2008 was an exciting year for server virtualization. Microsoft released Hyper-V, VMware made several acquisitions and large platform vendors like IBM announced solutions in the space. It was also a bright year for the virtualization security market. While server virtualization solutions themselves – the hypervisor – are secure, the migration to a virtual data center requires the same strong security as physical data centers.
What’s in store for 2009? Let’s set the stage for a second. All of the Fortune 100 have deployed server virtualization – in fact, most of the Fortune 1000 have. In order to maximize usage of existing systems most of them have deployed server virtualization from multiple vendors, whether they are from VMware, Microsoft’s Hyper-V or Xen on the x86 side. Systems from Sun, HP and IBM have pushed large server farms that have transitioned to large virtual server farms extending their capacities even further. All of these vendors have significant virtualization bets in place. Why? With the economy in such poor condition, virtualization projects save money in time, resources, power, cooling and equipment. What business isn’t looking for that?
If you look specifically at server virtualization, we believe, like most, that the Microsoft Hyper-V will likely take significant share from VMware at the bottom of the market. We expect a split in the market, with VMware continuing its strong position in the higher part of the market. Microsoft will likely dominate the SMB segment due to pricing and Windows Server being an embedded distribution channel. Regardless of how it plays out, the message is clear that security vendors who are serious about this space must support multiple virtualization platforms from a single product interface.
One of the areas in which Apani believes most virtualization security vendors fail is in the realization that data centers will likely never be 100 percent virtualized. The reality is that there will be a mix of physical and virtual machines. Vendors should be aware of and offer solutions that protect mixed data centers and enforce policy regardless of the physical/virtual state of the server, and regardless of where it resides on the network.
We’re also seeing the continued adoption of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI offers some very unique benefits including centralized [and more protected] company data, centralized backup and better control and updating of applications. The data still shows that most security breaches are an inside job and VDI enables companies to make big strides in preventing data leakage or theft from the desktop PC.
From a VDI perspective, the security risk is centralized to the servers accessible from the VDI session server. Use cases like contract isolation, hoteling and call center applications overseas can become a risk for vendors who do not deploy adequate security to their VDI solution. Vendors must be able to deploy policy at the VDI servers for these VDI sessions to prevent users from jumping off to other backend systems or servers.
As Apani moves into 2009, we expect to continue our leadership position in security software protecting mission critical data, applications and confidential personal data in mixed computing environments. As I mentioned before, we believe the data center will always be mixed – both in terms of operating systems and virtual/physical systems. We will continue to strengthen that value proposition – we already support 50+ platforms. Identity-aware security features will be added to our flagship product, EpiForce, enabling us to be very granular and very mobile in the way we deploy and enforce policy. We’re very excited about 2009 and expect it to be a good year in terms of both products and partners.
About the Author
Scott Ferguson – Vice President, Product Management
Ferguson is the vice president of product management for Apani. In this role he is responsible for directing the development of Apani's market requirements for the company's innovative EpiForce software technology. Ferguson brings a wealth of industry experience to Apani and has held key management positions with a variety of companies including Avaya Networks, Akoura Networks, Colubris Networks, Nortel (New Oak) and Xyplex Networks. Ferguson has more than 25 years of domestic and international experience within the enterprise and carrier network industries. Having held a variety of senior positions in engineering product management and marketing, Ferguson has been responsible for the successful market introductions of a number of software, hardware and network service related products.