There are many different kinds of virtualization technology. You have server virtualization, desktop virtualization, application virtualization, network virtualization. But there are two main types of virtualization the customers are really worried about. These are desktop and server virtualization.
You are trying to deploy desktop virtualization and server virtualization for a number of different reasons, but the main one is reducing total costs of ownership. Building all of these systems in one central place, and deploying them out with virtualization, can drastically reduce the cost of support of a virtual desktop.
Consumerization of IT is also a huge challenge. Nasty buzzword aside, it’s a challenge that exists in most environments right now. More and more we find people using iPad’s and iPhones and a huge array of different devices to access corporate applications and data.
As people look to adopt virtual desktops, they are naturally concerned about security. The sad thing is, that lots of people out there are focusing on hypothetical issues that really are not the major problems. Many people are being concerned about hypnotizer rootkits attacking virtualization software, blue pill, red pill, all these difficult and different technical attacks. These attacks are absolutely possible but at the end of the day, right now, virtualization security is pretty much the same as traditional end-point security.
Protection hasn’t really drastically changed. What’s changed is the performance requirements to the delivering of that protection. So what is being done by antivirus industry in that matter, and what can be of help while selecting an antivirus vendor for your virtual desktops and servers?
Firstly, compare memory footprints of antivirus agent of different vendors when it is running in virtualization environment. To understand that better, if you have ten computers running the same antivirus simultaneously, many of the resources required by each of those agents can be collapsed down and shared across all the virtual machines.
One of the most important factors is whether the product is really simple to use, whether the antivirus vendor uses the same product, the same management infrastructure, and the same license for working to cover all virtualization needs, which means you don’t need to build extra infrastructure or worry about deploying new things, you can just extend your existing investment.
Next tip is finding if your partner has any strategic relationships with the major virtualization players, like participating in Vmware Technology Alliance program. Or if the antivirus vendor is deploying automatic virtualization technologies, for example whenever a computer is found that is not protected, a Citrix receiver can be used.
So, selecting antivirus product can be a hard work. Take your time and study several antivirus software reviews to better understand their features and capabilities. Do contact antivirus companies and ask all of you questions. But don’t rely solely on that. Make sure to find and read desktop and server virtualization publications out there, as antivirus solutions are not the only way to protect you virtualization infrastructure. It would also be useful to find info on threat models for the years to come.