While the concept of a virtual world and its benefits are something IT is not alien to—thanks to the many flavors of virtualization—what's changing is the move to virtual security.
Predominantly physical in nature, the prowess of security appliances are beginning to make a mark in the virtual world too. As this transformation takes a definite shape, the supporting ecosystem—channel partners and vendors—is at a cross road.
According to Gartner, by 2015, 20 percent of the deployments in the VPN/firewall market will be executed through a virtual switch on a hyper-visor instead of a physical security appliance."This year, virtual firewalls accounted for 5 percent of the firewall market, compared to 2 percent last year. We see the large number of systems that are moving to virtual environments as main drivers accelerating virtual firewall sales," says Eric Ahlm, research director, Gartner.
As virtualization and cloud gain ground across enterprises, deployment of security solutions too are following suit by moving into a virtual mode. "For this fiscal, we have a target of minimum 2 percent of the total UTM numbers to emerge from virtual UTM in India," says Sunil Sharma, Vice President-Sales, India and SAARC, Cyberoam.
"Not only security applications, but anything which has a software bend or is software-dominated will be based on a VM," says Ashish Dhawan, managing director, Asia, Juniper Networks. Now that datacenters are going virtual, there's no point in keeping discrete appliances for which one needs to create a security perimeter, he says.
In Virtual Mode
Networking giant, Cisco, reinforces the fact that new technologies are pushing for virtual security. "The story is quite simple: Virtualization and cloud computing have been the biggest drivers for this in the past two to three years," says Diwakar Dayal, head-security sales, Cisco India and SAARC. "There is big impact on overall business because customers are consuming applications from the cloud and want greater security," he says.
Physical security appliances, such as firewalls, are bottlenecks when it comes to virtual systems operations. This is where virtual security appliances come good. "For example," says Ahlm, "a virtual systems team may be able to move a server to a new location in hours, but security takes weeks to redesign. Moving security technologies closer to the virtual assets they protect and integrating them with virtual operations management makes business more agile and secure."
With data going virtual, protecting it has become even more vital. "Enterprises will soon have a completely virtual resource of data. To protect it, it is best if the security or management appliance is in virtual mode too," says Dhawan.
Primarily, some vendors believe, the customers with a mature cloud process—private or public, and enterprise customers who have implemented virtualization for optimization of resources—will take to this trend. Which is why, the 2 percent target of virtual UTM will mostly feature enterprise customers which have implemented virtualization for optimization of resources. According to Sharma at Cyberoam, 20 to 25 percent of the market will move to virtual UTM in India.
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