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New virtual switch integrates with multiple security vendors

Robert Westervelt, News Director

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This allows users to enjoy complete protection for their virtual networks along with the open flexibility to leverage their choice of multi-vendor security offerings.
Bob Darabant,
CEOMontego Networks Inc.

The latest vendor emerging in the virtualization security market has developed software that handles secure switching for virtual networks from multiple security vendors.

Boston-based Montego Networks said its HyperSwitch product is the first of its kind to handle policy-based switching of traffic from third-party virtual security vendors. It can interoperate with security products from Blue Lane, Catbird, and StillSecure.

Like traditional network security switches, the virtual switch integrates network policy enforcement and access control. The product features virtual network partitioning, a firewall, and virtual network discovery capabilities. It also secures communication between virtual environments and enables policy based switching and traffic monitoring.

Montego's HyperVSecurity release 1.5 initially supports VMWare. It also can operate in heterogeneous virtualization environments supporting Citrix, Virtual Iron, and Microsoft virtualization technology in Q3-2008.

Few industry analysts have heard of Montego Networks, as the vendor plans a wave of briefings over the next several weeks.

Vendors have pointed out a number of management issues around virtualized networks, said Phil Hochmuth, a senior analyst at Boston-based Yankee Group Inc. Complex virtual environments make it difficult to figure out the latest version of a virtual machine and the most patched, up to date image, Hochmuth said in a recent interview.

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In addition to mainstream security vendors, a number of niche players are coming to market with products specifically for virtualized environments. Redwood City, Calif.-based Altor Networks Inc. opened its doors March 17. Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Catbird Networks, Inc. and Atlanta-based Reflex Security, Inc., sell appliances that monitor and control access to the virtual network. Cupertino, Calif.-based Blue Lane Technologies Inc. sells VirtualShield, which taps into the VMware platform. The vendors are also taking part in VMware's VMsafe program and will use VMware application program interfaces to produce software that integrates with VMware's hypervisor; tapping into the software that runs the virtualized environment.

"Right now these guys tap into that virtual network and do their blocking and traffic inspection," Hochmuth said. "It's not ideal, because it can be inefficient from a processing point."

Montego CEO Bob Darabant called the vendor's HyperSwitch a new approach in making virtual switching work in an interoperable security framework.

"This allows users to enjoy complete protection for their virtual networks along with the open flexibility to leverage their choice of multi-vendor security offerings, Darabant said in a statement."

Montego's software will be launched next month with a free download of the starter edition version. The enterprise edition of HyperSwitch is priced at $495.


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