Virtualization Technology News and Information
Q&A: McAfee and Citrix Working to make VDI More Secure and Scalable

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Candace Worely, GM and SVP of Endpoint Security at McAfee, while at the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco two weeks ago.  Her company had just made a joint announcement with Citrix around securing the virtual desktop and making it more scalable, and I was interested in finding out more.  Can you tell us a bit more about the recent McAfee and Citrix joint announcement made during Citrix Synergy this month?  The keynote announcement didn't seem to give it the level of attention that it deserved.

Candace Worely:  McAfee and Citrix announced a strategic partnership to deliver optimized security solutions for virtualized environments. As part of the collaboration, McAfee and Citrix plan to jointly develop solutions that will enable enterprises to provide Enterprise class security optimized for XenDesktop. With the growing expansion of VDI deployments, this partnership ensures that the move to virtual systems by CIOs will be secured and not be at risk because they lack effective virtual machine security. In addition, this partnership will also address hypervisor-level security technology for XenClient and XenServer. McAfee and Citrix Systems strategic partnership will focus at first on the most urgently needed security aspect which is protecting the data of the Enterprise from malware, viruses, worms and Trojans and progress with additional compliance and management solutions that will need to be optimized and adaptive for the various types of virtual machine configurations providing security without sacrificing efficiency.

---  What kind of problems were your customers experiencing, and what were they asking McAfee to solve?

Worely:  The feedback from customers primarily in the virtualized world is regarding performance, VM density and a single console to manage policies between the physical world and the virtual. This performance needs to be achieved without sacrificing security. Today, our customers find it difficult to deploy traditional security solutions on their virtual infrastructure as it directly effects the end user experience of either desktop or server. They face AV storming and cannot schedule security tasks taking load on the hypervisor into consideration. McAfee would like to provide solutions to solve these issues. Lastly, our customers expect to have heterogeneous environments when it comes to hypervisors and they would like us to have the same solution that works in mixed environment.

---  And what are the goals of this solution?

Worely:  McAfee, as a leader in security, is currently developing an open platform Management for Optimized Virtual Environments (MOVE). This platform will increase the security options for those investing in virtualization for the datacenter, applications or desktops. McAfee intends to provide a way to address the needs of security, compliance and management through an open source and application-programming interface that will create a common platform for developing solutions specifically designed for virtualized environments. McAfee believes this will accelerate delivery of security solutions filling the holes that are not being addressed today. For McAfee and partners, MOVE will ensure that the solutions are optimized for performance within virtual deployments, that the programming interface is sound and secure being thoroughly tested and verified, and the platform allows a common path to develop to all of the major virtualization vendors.

---  Can you tell us how it works?  And what have you done to solve the problems or challenges?

Worely:  In simple terms, the platform offloads the security operations to secure virtual machine and thereby reduce CPU/Disk/Memory load on each VM. These operations are offloaded with optimization when it comes to communication between guest and security VM. These solutions are readily integrated into ePO which becomes a single console for security operations for physical infrastructure as well as virtual infrastructure.

---  Is your solution exclusive to XenDesktop? Or do you plan to expand support to other virtual desktop platforms in the future?

Worley:  We are working with Citrix to integrate closely with XenDesktop and other Xen products to make our customer experience in deploying and maintaining desktop security very simple and smooth. We do have plans to work with other vendors in the industry to provide similar features.

---  How does this strategic partnership with Citrix and this security solution differ from the VMware VMsafe agreement discussed back at VMworld 2008?

Worely:  First of all, this platform is going to be open. And secondly, the platform McAfee provides is going to be hypervisor agnostic.

---  Is this security solution tied to the desktop or VDI?  Or does it have application for server virtualization as well without VDI deployments?

Worely:  This security solution applies to both VDI as well as virtualized servers.

---  Are there any plans to bring any other competing security vendors into the mix?  Or will this solution be limited to McAfee?

Worely:  This is for everyone who becomes part of the program. We have partners that compete with our internal products and are still part of our successful security innovation alliance program.


A special thank you once again to Candace Worely, GM and SVP of Endpoint Security at McAfee, for taking time out to speak with me about this announcement.

Published Tuesday, June 01, 2010 3:00 AM by David Marshall
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