Virtualization is all about improving IT operational efficiency. It’s the prospect of doing more with less, of becoming more agile as an IT function and as an organization, which has turned this market into the multi-billion dollar one it is today. Gartner forecasted a couple of years back that by 2016, 71% of server workloads will be virtualized. These are compelling statistics. Yet often in the virtual world, security can be an impediment. Rather than enabling, it stifles operational efficiency and increases cost unnecessarily.
Much of the problem lies with the fact that many security solutions simply aren’t designed with virtualization in mind. They treat the virtual data center as if it were a traditional IT environment. However, with tens or potentially hundreds of virtual machines in a typical set-up, placing an agent on each can lead to unintended operational consequences. Security updates and other regular tasks can create security “storms,” eating up memory, CPU and storage and grinding IT systems to a halt.
Shoehorning traditional security into a virtual data center can also put a strain on human resources. Imagine the time it takes to patch, configure and update each agent. It’s not only inefficient in the extreme, but it can also leave security gaps. The speed with which VMs are provisioned and de-provisioned means a manual approach to patching can leave “instant-on gaps,” when VMs come online after lying dormant without up-to-date protection.
The whole situation is made worse because most businesses will have multiple security products to manage on the same hypervisor, all with their own separate UI. Often, products from the same vendor typically lack a centralized management portal. It leads to duplication of effort and a lack of consistency when it comes to deployment and ongoing security monitoring. It’s inefficient, costly and clumsy – exactly the opposite of what virtualization is meant to bring to an organization. It also introduces unnecessary security risk.
Security for the modern data center
That’s why Trend Micro designed Deep Security with virtualization in mind from the start. Resource-intensive tasks are handed off either to a virtual appliance or a single multi-function agent, reducing the risk of security storms and helping customers triple VM consolidation rates. Automated virtual patching guards against instant-on gaps and reduces the operational overhead of ensuring all VMs have received the latest security updates. A single management console that can manage both agentless security and agent-based options across all environments, and automation of repetitive, resource-hungry security tasks further simplifies data center management and reduces costs.
One step beyond
But there’s even more we can do to improve operational efficiency in the virtual data center. We need to ensure that the operations team has real-time visibility into the security status of the entire data center – physical, virtual and cloud environments. Only with this single, high-level view can operations maximize their own efficiency and ability to spot and address any security issues.
But don’t take our word for it. According to Jon Oltsik, Principal Analyst with ESG, “Customers need security controls that are form-factor-independent, i.e., physical, virtual, cloud – that have common command and control, as well as distributed enforcement and common reporting – Trend Micro has certainly fulfilled this kind of architecture.”
Trend Micro will be at VMworld in San Francisco from August 24-28 exhibiting as a Global Platinum Sponsor. We’ve already lined up a raft of exciting new announcements designed to make securing your software defined data center even easier and more effective. Among these, we’ll be announcing major new features in Deep Security related to NSX integration and VMware’s popular operations management suite, vCenter Operations.
If you’re attending the show, come over and say hi, and keep your eyes peeled online for more details at the end of the month. See you in San Francisco.
In the meantime, to learn more about extending your virtualized data center to the cloud, check out my last post.