Neil MacDonald

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Neil MacDonald
VP & Gartner Fellow
15 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Neil MacDonald is a vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. MacDonald is a member of Gartner's information security and privacy research team, focusing on operating system and application-level security strategies. Specific research areas include Windows security…Read Full Bio

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Observations from Microsoft’s Management Summit

by Neil MacDonald  |  March 22, 2011  |  Comments Off

I’ve spent the past day and a half attending Microsoft’s Management Summit in Las Vegas.

From my perspective the announcement that will affect the most enterprises from a security perspective was a change in licensing related to Forefront. Some history — in 2010, Microsoft reorganized the Server and Tools Business Unit placing the Forefront Endpoint team with the System Center Configuration Manager team. In December 2010, Microsoft shipped the version of Forefront (Forefront Endpoint Protection) that uses System Center Configuration Manager as the backbone for the distribution and update of Forefront’s antimalware engine and signature updates.

Now to the significant licensing change. Previously, Microsoft customers licensed under its Enterprise Client Access License Program (ECAL) had rights to Forefront EndPoint Protection. Microsoft has lowered the bar and included rights to FEP with its Core CAL. These changes are detailed on Microsoft’s web site. This will change the competitive dynamics in the endpoint protection platform market.

Other observations from the event:

1) Brad Anderson was clear that Cloud is a computing model, not a location and that the attributes of Cloud computing are what really matter – scalability and elasticity, self service, shared, automated, etc. Organizations want this in their own data centers, thus a large part of his keynote talked about how Microsoft enables private clouds with “Concero” – a new web-based portal for self-service by application owners.

3) It was interesting that in the keynote demo of Concero, the presenter commented on the usability of the UI stating “working within a web browser doesn’t have to be clunky” which received applause from the audience. However, all of this was built on Silverlight, but no explicit mention of Silverlight  (see observation #7 in this post) was made on Monday or Tuesday.

4) Microsoft’s AVIcode acquisition provides Microsoft application performance visibility, including potential security-related issues (in addition to things like performance and connectivity).

5) In competing with VMware, Microsoft made the following points multiple times in the keynotes to reinforce the areas which it believes are significant differentiators:

  • Microsoft has in-depth knowledge and context (Brad Anderson used the word “wisdom”) of the OS
  • With AVIcode instrumentation, Microsoft’s tools will have in depth knowledge and context of .NET applications (it’s all about the applications – they can’t be treated as black boxes)
  • Microsoft’s management tools span Hyper-V, XenServer and VMware hypervisor based environments

Tomorrow’s keynotes are all about the client side manageability and the impact of consumerization. I won’t be there, but there will be security implications to many of these announcements as well.

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Category: Cloud Cloud Security Endpoint Protection Platform Microsoft Microsoft Security Next-generation Data Center Virtualization Virtualization Security     Tags: , , , , , , , ,