The movement towards virtualized network environments creates new security challenges, which many vendors at VMworld 2013 claim to address. Among them is Fortinet. Fortinet is making a play for leadership of the virtual network security pack with two initiatives announced at the conference.
Like many other vendors, Fortinet announced its support of VMware's new NSX network virtualization solution, which VMware unveiled yesterday. Fortinet is demonstrating a proof of concept of its NSX integration at VMworld. The solution thus far secures traffic on virtual networks at the hypervisor level and emphasizes dynamic communication and policy enforcement across physical and virtual machines.
In highly virtualized environments, agility and intelligence are key, as Ryan Potter, Fortinet's director of strategic alliances, told me. "Imagine a web server, an application server, a database server, a Fortinet firewall, running on one vSphere instance. Let's say they move to a different data center. When you move something like a firewall, IP addresses change, and all kinds of things come into play. Now you can start to provide the intelligence for it to be automatically detected, identified, and have policy pushed to it by vSphere through NSX and the hypervisor environment," he said.
HyTrust strategic partnership
NSX integration isn't Fortinet's only announcement. The vendor today also announced its strategic investment in and partnership with cloud security automation company HyTrust, which specializes in role-based security and deals primarily with federal agencies. Integration of Fortinet and HyTrust solutions will enable greater role-based control of network operations and policies.
The combination of NSX integration and the alliance with HyTrust will allow Fortinet to provide a holistic security approach across virtual and physical infrastructures, according to a Fortinet statement. For enterprises looking into network virtualization, that holistic approach may prove more attractive than options offered by other vendors. It also fits well into other hot topics of the day, such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), for which many enterprises haven't updated their security environments, according to Potter.
Leading the security pack
Potter expressed confidence in Fortinet's competitive advantage. "Fortinet is now the third largest network security company, behind Cisco and Checkpoint," he told me, and moving forward with partnerships and R&D geared towards securing the vendor a place at the head of the pack. "We have to be almost stewards of the security industry," Potter added.
According to Potter, Fortinet offers more security products as VMs than any other vendor. The vendor's portfolio of virtual security solutions includes stateful firewall, intrusion prevention, application control, VPN, web filtering, web application firewall, messaging security, database security, centralized management, and analytics, all available for public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments.
"It's only a matter of time before we are at our goal of being the world's best security company," Potter said.
Jude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.