Virtual Iron and Reflex Security, two companies each trying to grab a larger piece of the growing virtualization marketplace, are now teaming up to offer a more secure virtual infrastructure.
The two companies are planning to announce Feb. 13 that Virtual Iron will now offer Reflex Securitys Reflex Virtual Security Appliance through its virtualization platforms.
While the two companies will formally announce the agreement on Feb. 13, the actual software combination will not reach customers until the second quarter of 2007. In addition, Reflex Security, which will offer some free downloads of its security product to Virtual Iron customers, is still working on a pricing scenario, a company executive said.
Security and virtualization has been a concern for the IT industry as more and more companies begin investing in the technology as a way to cut down on data center costs.
At its Feb. 6 virtualization forum in New York City, IDC reported that security would become one of the bigger concerns facing the industry as more companies adopt virtualization in the data center.
IBM also just released a new security tool that will protect the virtual hypervisor, especially when workloads are moved from server to server and around a virtual environment.
Virtual Iron, along with other companies that use the open-source hypervisor from Xen, has been trying to position itself as a low-cost alternative to VMware, the subsidiary of EMC which has become the market leader in x86 virtualization.
Bob Darabant, the executive vice president of Atlanta-based Reflex Security, said that the security tool that will be offered with Virtual Irons platform works as a guest operating system with the virtual environment. Once installed, the software can then detect viruses, worms and other malware.
The Reflex Security tool also allows IT managers to monitor the virtual environment and ensures that the entire virtual infrastructure is mapped correctly, Darabant said.
"Virtual environments are growing, and every one of our high-end accounts has some type of program going on virtualization," Darabant said. "What we are offering with Virtual Iron is a comprehensive solution. Its virtualization software with a security overlay that we think give a pretty good one-two punch."
The agreement also give Reflex Security an opportunity to reach more customers through Virtual Irons client base.
In an interview, Darabant agreed with the IDC assessment that security has become an increasing concern for those companies that have started using virtualization technology.
He said a common concern that he hears from customers is the ability for hackers to break into one application on a virtualized server and the quickly gain access to the other applications that are running within that virtualized environment.
For Mike Grandinetti, the chief marketing officer for Lowell, Mass.-based Virtual Iron, the agreement gives his company the security component it needs without trying to develop a solution in-house.
"As a young company, we wanted to be able to round out our offerings to our customers," Grandinetti said.
In addition, the new software combination will work with Microsofts Virtual Hard Disk format that lets third parties create both security and management products for its virtualization software.
"Simply, Microsoft has created a de facto standard virtual hard disk (VHD) format that is more open and more widely used by a much larger number of vendors than the proprietary alternative [Virtual Machine Disk Format] from VMware," Grandinetti wrote in a follow-up email.
The Reflex Security tool with work with the latest version of Virtual Iron software—version 3.1—which was officially released on Dec. 11. It will also work the companys other offering. Grandinetti said Virtual Iron plans on releasing an updated version of its software within the next two months.