Intel partners with VMware for cloud security

Although companies are expanding their use of cloud computing to realize improved agility and efficiencies, concerns about security remains a top barrier to adoption.

Intel announced new collaboration with VMware and will deliver a platform for trusted cloud that combines Intel Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT) with the new release of VMware vSphere 5.1, a platform for building cloud infrastructures.

With hardware-enhanced security capabilities integrated into the processor, Intel TXT combined with VMware vSphere 5.1 will provide a platform to run applications in private and public cloud environments.

In cloud datacenters, servers are typically virtualized and shared across multiple departments or customers and are no longer dedicated to specific lines of business. This has created new security concerns. The difference can be compared to owning your own home vs. living in an apartment complex.

When owning a home, one has significant control over its security and protection — everything from locks, secure fences to home security systems. This is similar to today’s enterprise IT security. But when one lives in an apartment, it is a multi-tenant environment with multiple people sharing the same building resources, generating higher concerns about security.

Someone accessing the apartment via a shared fire escape or maybe a landlord entering the apartment when a tenant is not there heightens security concerns. This situation is similar to having less control in your cloud computing environment.

In a recent global survey of IT professionals conducted by Intel about cloud security, 61 percent of IT pros expressed concern about a lack of control and insight about security capabilities of these shared, virtualized datacenter resources. IT pros also have concerns about not having adequate tools to protect against cyber-attacks and 57 percent will not put sensitive data that must meet specific compliance requirements into cloud datacenters.

Furthermore, 55 percent worry about loss of control of data stored off premise in public cloud provider datacenters.

Intel TXT is a built-in security capability that is part of servers based on Intel Xeon processor E3, E5 and E7 series. When combined with VMware vSphere 5.1, organizations will be able to better address these challenges through increased infrastructure integrity and having greater control over the security status of servers in virtualized clouds.

Companies can also realize operational efficiencies by making it easier to move virtual machines across clouds to “known good” trusted pools of servers, while at the same time, better meet compliance requirements and automate remote audit processes. To make it easier to deploy these security capabilities, Intel and VMware have developed solution reference architecture, or recipes, via the Intel Cloud Builders program.

“Intel TXT provides hardware enforcement to help overcome some of the most challenging aspects of cloud security, including detection and prevention of bios attacks and evolving forms of stealthy malware, such as rootkits,” said Jason Waxman, general manager, Intel Cloud Infrastructure Group. “VMware vSphere 5.1 support of TXT is essential to building a foundation of trust in virtualized infrastructures and the cloud and is ready for deployment.”

“VMware is pleased to partner with Intel to support Intel TXT in VMware vSphere® 5.1,” said Bogomil Balkansky, senior vice president, Cloud Infrastructure Products, VMware. “The combined capabilities bring a trusted security solution for cloud environments. With VMware vSphere 5.1 and Intel TXT, we are empowering our customers to have the confidence to put their sensitive data and business-critical workloads in the cloud.”

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