This is the poster child for today's networks. When we talk about the cloud, we need to realize that the concept of the cloud is a business, not a technical, construct. Were it not for virtualization, the cloud could not, on a practical level, exist. So it is entirely appropriate that we include cloud and virtualization security in this group. If there ever was a market segment where innovation rules the day, this one is it.
The two Innovators in this group are key players in the emerging notion of the software data center. Once of the big challenges in virtualization and, indeed, cloud security, is the idea of a management layer. We always have had a management layer and, over the years, we have defined it differently from the operational perspective. Typically, though, it may be thought of as an out-of-band network that is dedicated to system management tools and tasks. That concept sort of works when speaking of the virtual, but the virtual network environment is far more complicated than the traditional physical data center.
There are additional or new paradigms at work here that preclude the traditional approach to managing the security of virtual networks. But for all of that, traditional methods are familiar, comfortable and, mostly these days, effective. So it falls to the purveyors of management layer tools for the software data center to retain the comfortable feel of the management layer while providing tools and techniques appropriate to the virtual.
Both of our Innovators take an enlightened view of the management layer in the virtual and both have built their businesses around innovating at that layer. Tying their tools tightly to the popular virtual environments – whether the operating environment, such as VMware or the cloud environment, such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) – these Innovators have looked closely at what it takes to manage security in the software data center and addressed it directly.
We were impressed with both of these Innovators and it did not surprise us at all that one is a returning Innovator and the other the recipient of a First Look review. Both are well worth your attention.