Citrix, McAfee Launch MOVE Antivirus for XenDesktop

Citrix and McAfee jointly announced MOVE AV, an antivirus software package that protects and secures XenDesktop virtual machines.

Citrix Systems and McAfee jointly unveiled a virtual desktop security product to secure corporate data and applications at the Citrix Synergy conference in Berlin on Oct. 6.

McAfee's Management for Optimized Virtualized Environments Antivirus (MOVE AV) will make it easy for customers to secure corporate data and applications delivered to virtual desktops, the companies said.

"With the availability of MOVE for hosted virtual desktops, and the upcoming extension of its capabilities to client-side virtual desktops, our customers are realizing the benefits of the best-in-class security capabilities," said Raj Dhingra, group vice president and general manager with the XenDesktop product group at Citrix.

Available today, MOVE AV is specifically designed for all Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktops regardless of whether it's running on the server or on a local client-side virtual machine. It will secure XenDesktop deployments on Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESX.

With traditional desktop computing, security has often been an afterthought, and in a virtual desktop environment, traditional antivirus created "serious performance issues," said Chris Wolf, research vice president at Gartner. "Even for users that booted shared virtual desktop images, the performance degradation was significant," he said.

According to Wolf, organizations either limited consolidation or delayed virtual desktop adoption to maintain existing host-based security.

MOVE AV is a "virtualization-aware" centralized service where intelligence is shared, according to the announcement.

All virus-scanning and virus signature file updates are centralized, which also offloads the processing-intensive actions from individual virtual machines. MOVE AV reduces CPU usage, memory and storage requirements, and simplifies security management.

"McAfee and Citrix are giving customers security that is flexible, secure and designed to protect virtual desktops and servers without impacting performance," said Candace Worley, general manager of the endpoint protection business unit at McAfee.

Under the centralized security management, when MOVE AV encounters malware on a virtual desktop, it applies a set of defined security policies to remove the threat. At the same time, it also updates all other supported desktops.

Companies are adopting desktop virtualization to deliver Windows desktops and applications in a more secure, flexible and cost-effective way to employees who are increasingly mobile and using their own devices to access corporate resources, the companies said in a statement.

"When you combine the McAfee MOVE announcement with the Citrix XenServer IntelliCache announcement, you're giving organizations compelling reasons to move forward with large-scale client virtualization initiatives," Wolf said. He said he expects the announcements to "be a serious catalyst for the desktop virtualization market."

The security product is the first result of joint collaboration between McAfee and Citrix Systems announced earlier this year. The collaboration is aimed at making a line of desktop security software optimized specifically for virtualized environments. This way, enterprises would not have to choose between providing basic endpoint protection or rolling out virtual desktops to end users.

The companies plan to move on to the next phase of the collaboration by integrating security directly into the Citrix XenClient hypervisor and Citrix XenServer. McAfee's MOVE platform will take advantage of enhanced hypervisor-native detection capabilities built within those virtual desktop products.

XenClient will be a core feature of the new XenDesktop 5 announced at the same conference.