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Virtualization: News Item

Altor Networks Introduces First Purpose-Built Virtual Firewall to Secure Virtualized Data Centers

Integration with ArcSight, Juniper Networks, Mazu Networks and VMware Enhances Existing Infrastructure

Altor Networks announced the availability of the Altor VF, the first purpose-built virtual firewall, and announced its certified integration with products from ArcSight, Juniper Networks, Mazu Networks and VMware.

Enterprises are eager to extend virtualization into their data centers to realize the cost savings, operational flexibility, and increased availability they achieved with virtualization in the development and test environments. At the same time, virtualized networks create unique security challenges for production environments. Altor Networks new Altor VF addresses those challenges and enables the virtualization of data centers without compromising security.

The Altor VF is a software security appliance that runs in a virtualized environment and enforces security policy on a per virtual machine (VM) basis. Unlike existing firewalls designed for physical networks, the Altor VF virtual firewall can secure Live Migration a technology designed to trigger automatic movement of VMs across physical servers, but capable of inadvertently moving an application to a less trusted network. The Altor VF was purpose-built for the virtual environment enabling tighter security policy and greater ease-of-use than existing virtual firewalls adapted from their physical firewall counterparts.

The Altor VF extends the functionality of traditional firewalls. Traditional firewalls not only provide security to physical networks, they also provide visibility to the traffic running through them and export some of that data to 3rd party products to aggregate and correlate data across the network. However, traditional firewalls cannot see into the virtual environment. The Altor VF extends visibility into the virtual environment providing NetFlow statistics, Sys Log, and other network statistics on a per application basis and exporting that data to 3rd party products such as those from ArcSight and Mazu Networks (Please see separate releases for details).

Similarly, in existing physical networks, some companies also employ an Intrusion Detection & Prevention System (IDS/IPS) to further secure their physical networks. Through its partnership with Juniper Networks, the Altor VF enables Juniper IDP appliances to extend their protection into the virtual environment (Please see separate releases for details).

Our other network security vendors did not offer viable options, especially regarding VMotion. The Altor VF fills the gap, said Jim LoTruglio, vice president of information technology at Hearst Corporation Service Center. Altors firewall will provide the visibility, the administrative efficiency and the VMotion security we need today.

With Altors solution we now have total visibility into, and far greater control over, our virtualized infrastructure, said Nicholas Portolese, senior manager, data center operations at Nielsen Mobile. Anyone with server or desktop virtualization really needs to have something like this to help secure and optimize their available resources.

"The increasing use of virtualization, particularly in data center environments, will lead to new potential attack paths," said Neil MacDonald, VP and Gartner Fellow. "To protect critical servers and data in virtualized environments, organizations need to extend their security processes and controls into the virtual environment, including the use of virtual firewalls and IPSs when security separation and protection are needed."

IT administrators are challenged with the differences between virtual and physical networks, and recognize that new approaches are necessary to meet the management challenges of virtual infrastructure, said Mark Bowker, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Altor Networks executives see the deficiencies and are ready to leverage their background developing firewall technologies, so its very natural to look to them to enforce security policy on virtual networks.

Without question weve hit on an effective way to secure virtual networks, and the proof is the successful installations currently in progress at more than 20 customers in the private sector and within the federal government, said Amir Ben-Efraim, CEO of Altor Networks. Our architecture allows customers to easily add full firewall protection into their existing virtual environments. From day one, Altors products have been purpose-built for virtual networks.

The Altor VF brings to market a number of industry firsts to dramatically improve virtual network security management:

  • VirtualCenter Integration The Altor VF includes out-of-the-box integration with VMwares VirtualCenter, enabling the automated deployment of virtual firewalls on ESX hosts. The product further applies a default policy to all new virtual machines helping control virtual machine sprawl.
  • Security Policy per Virtual Machine VMs on a virtual server can serve different purposes ranging from development and test to various types of production applications. The Altor VF locks down each VM to its specified use, insuring no communication among VMs with mixed application trust levels.
  • Support for Live Migration When VMotion moves a VM to a different physical host, the Altor VF ensures that its security policy and active sessions move along with it. Therefore, companies can obtain the full benefits of Live Migration while maintaining security within their virtual network.

Pricing and Availability

The Altor VF is available immediately with prices ranging between $1,500 and $2,000 per server depending on volume. For more information, visit Altors website at http://www.altornetworks.com.

About Altor Networks

Altor Networks is pioneering a new class of virtual security solutions to secure production-oriented virtualized data centers. The companys initial product line includes the industrys first-ever purpose-built virtual firewall, a software security appliance that runs in a virtualized environment and enforces security policy on a per virtual machine basis. Data center administrators can now pinpoint a broad range of virtual network security compromises and easily create roles-based security policies. For the first time, security policies can be continuously enforced on individual virtual machines, even as they move throughout the virtualized data center. Founded by security and networking experts from Check Point Software, Cisco and Oracle, Altor Networks is funded by Accel Partners and Foundation Capital and is headquartered in Redwood City, California. For more information, visit www.altornetworks.com.

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Catherine Edwards is a marketing consultant.