McAfee, Symantec ready VM security products

With VMware's user conference beginning this week in Las Vegas, security vendors Symantec and McAfee are readying new products designed to lock down the software running in virtual machine environments.

On Monday McAfee will unveil Total Protection for Virtualization, a customizable security suite designed to run within virtual machines. The product doesn't include new technology -- it ships with McAfee's VirusScan, AntiSpyware, Host Intrusion Prevention and ePolicy Orchestrator -- but it does come with a new licensing model that should make things a little easier for administrators.

McAfee plans to release the product by year's end with a simplified software license, so that users don't have to pay separately for each copy they have running in different virtual machine sessions on a computer. "We will be selling this suite per physical server, regardless of how many virtual machines may be on this server," said Kenneth Tom, a senior product marketing manager with McAfee.

McAfee will release the pricing for Total Protection for Virtualization when the software ships.

Symantec, meanwhile, will give VMworld attendees a first peek at its Symantec Security Virtual Machine. The product is a "software appliance" that includes a Linux OS, which runs as a guest operating system on the server being protected.

Symantec is using new security APIs (application programming interfaces) created by VMware to let third-party products peer into virtual machine sessions to monitor their security. Symantec's software uses the APIs to communicate with small monitoring programs running within these different sessions.

Symantec is one of about a dozen security vendors developing software that takes advantage of the APIs, called VMsafe. McAfee demonstrated its own VMsafe prototypes back in February.

The Symantec Security Virtual Machine is a prototype and does not yet appear on Symantec's product road map, but it will likely be months before VMware ships new versions of its products that support the VMsafe APIs.

VMworld 2008 runs from Monday to Thursday at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.

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