Neil MacDonald

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Entries Tagged as 'Virtual Appliances'

Virtual Firewalls or Physical? Wrong Question.

by Neil MacDonald  |  November 5, 2012  |  2 Comments

I still see people getting bogged down in rather meaningless arguments as to whether or not firewalls will be virtualized. They will (and, in fact, are). The bigger trend is the shift from proprietary hardware to software running on commodity hardware (in almost all cases, x86). That’s the big shift. Whether or not a given […]


Category: Cloud Cloud Security Next-generation Security Infrastructure Virtualization Virtualization Security     Tags: , , , , , , ,

Five Myths and Realities of Virtualization Security

by Neil MacDonald  |  September 6, 2012  |  3 Comments

I’ve been researching the intersection of virtualization and security since 2007 and find myself continually running into these myths pertaining to virtualization and security: 1) Myth: Physical is better than virtual. Reality: Define “better”. Software and virtual appliance-based security controls are more adaptable to the rapidly changing infrastructure requirements of a modern, virtualized data center. […]


Category: Cloud Security Virtualization Security     Tags: , , , ,

Yes, Cloud Offerings Can Have an On-Premises Element

by Neil MacDonald  |  May 25, 2012  |  4 Comments

One of the common misconceptions that I run into is that a public cloud services provider can’t have an on-premises element to their offering and that having this footprint somehow “breaks” the cloud model. The root of this misconception lies in equating cloud to a location. Cloud is a computing style, not a location. There […]


Category: Cloud Cloud Security     Tags: ,

It’s Time for Security to Ascend

by Neil MacDonald  |  August 24, 2011  |  1 Comment

As I research into the future of adaptive security infrastructure, I am convinced that the future of information security lies in software, not hardware. If you think about it for a bit, most of information security policy enforcement is in the form of software already – it’s just embodied (entombed?) in physical hardware. Unfortunately, the […]

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Category: Cloud Cloud Security Next-generation Security Infrastructure Virtualization Security     Tags: , , , , , ,

Securing the Cloud

by Neil MacDonald  |  March 9, 2011  |  3 Comments

The cloud isn’t one thing, so securing the Cloud won’t be one thing either. The industry has settled on a layered framework for understanding, comparing and selecting cloud-based services. Gartner’s model has these high-level layers (with subcategories in each layer): Infrastructure as a Service (compute, storage, etc) Platform as a Service (middleware-like services such as […]


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Intelligent Hybrid Security is the Future

by Neil MacDonald  |  March 12, 2010  |  Comments Off

I blog quite a bit about virtualization and security. To address the security issues with datacenter virtualization, a large number of smaller, point solution vendors of virtualized security controls have appeared. This helps address the immediate issues (because the larger security vendors have been struggling with the potential disruption in embracing virtualization), but isn’t necessarily […]

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Category: Cloud Next-generation Data Center Next-generation Security Infrastructure Virtualization Security     Tags: , , , ,

Moore’s Law Enables Virtualized Security

by Neil MacDonald  |  August 28, 2009  |  Comments Off

As security controls are virtualized (e.g. firewalls, IPS, web application firewalls and so on), one of the more significant concerns is performance and throughput. I remember a demonstration about a year ago where an IPS running in a VM virtual appliance easily consumed 2 out of 8 cores in a multicore system. A 25% overhead […]

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Category: Next-generation Data Center Next-generation Security Infrastructure Virtualization Security     Tags: , ,

Security Shouldn’t Have to be Rationed

by Neil MacDonald  |  April 28, 2009  |  4 Comments

In my daily conversations with clients on virtualization security, one of the issues that we frequently discuss is whether or not they need virtualized security controls like firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to isolate and inspect traffic between virtual machines. One line of reasoning goes like this: If the workloads in the VMs have similar […]


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Virtual Appliances are Real

by Neil MacDonald  |  March 9, 2009  |  2 Comments

In previous posts, I discussed how security controls need to be virtualized to support the next-generation highly virtualized data center. I have also talked about how most of these virtualized security controls are delivered as “virtual appliances” – essentially a VM containing a preinstalled application service that you download and run on your virtual server […]


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