One part of VMware's plan is to move antivirus and antispam processing off virtual machines and insert it into the hypervisor.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Acknowledging that security is -- and will remain
-- the No. 1 hesitation point for enterprises when it comes to building
new cloud infrastructure deployments, VMware in 2011 will be looking at
alleviating these fears from a slightly different perspective.
Allwyn Sequeira, Chief Technical Officer for VMware's Security and
Network Solutions division, told a group of tech writers and analysts
Dec. 14 that security for applications deployed in cloud systems needs
to be built into the hypervisor itself and not reside independently in
It's another step toward making the hypervisor act more like a full-fledged operating system.
"All applications are different, with different security requirements.
And when it comes to most security issues, a human is almost
always involved," Sequeira said. "Humans run the apps. That's
where the lapses happen.
"When security is automated within the hypervisor -- thus untouched by
humans -- data is going to be far better protected. This is one of
VMware's main goals for 2011, to secure applications running in the
cloud in more efficient ways."
If breaking down the cloud security process and distributing it more
granularly among the applications will help calm the nerves of IT
managers and security personnel at enterprises, then this approach will
accomplish its mission: To better prepare end users for migration to
new cloud systems.
Sequeira described the conventional approach to cloud application
security as "building a secure infrastructure with various secure
controls, managers and manual processes.
"In the future, we want to build security into virtualized applications
that can be realized on both public and private cloud infrastructure,"
Sequeira said. "I call it IAAS: It's about apps, stupid."
How VMware will do this
One portion of VMware's plan is moving anti-virus and anti-spam
processing off virtual machines and inserting it into the hypervisor as
a component. This new anti-virus component will be supplied by one of
VMware's partners, Sequeira said.
"The policy and configuration management will come through the user
interface or through a REST API [application programming interface],"
REST (representational state transfer) is an approach for obtaining
information content from a Web site by reading a designated Web page
that contains an XML (Extensible Markup Language) file that describes
and includes the desired content.
The benefits will include faster overall performance of the VM, since
it won't have to keep scanning for malware and malware storms all the
time, and the elimination of agents susceptable to attacks, Sequeira
said. It also will satisfy audit requirements with detailed logging of
Sequeira said VMware users should be seeing these improvements coming into vSphere during the next year.
At VMware, Sequeira is responsible for strategy and delivery of
security and networking solutions. Previously, he was CTO and Senior VP
of Product Operations at Blue Lane Technologies, which was acquired by
VMware in October 2008.
At Blue Lane, Sequeira was responsible for creating the Virtual Shield
product, which is the basis for VMware's vShield product line. Sequeira
is a member of the DMTF and Cloud Security Alliance Architecture group.