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Catbird Nips Bugs In Virtualized Networks

Virtualization may be the future of IT, but for a growing number of customers with sizeable Internet-based assets, it's also a major security challenge -- one that a small but ambitious California startup aims to address.

Catbird Networks of Scotts Valley claims it's got over 400 customers for its technology, which monitors Web-based networks for intruders and malware. Founded and funded (for an undisclosed sum) in 2000 by famed NFS developer Ron Lachman, Catbird offers a variety of products based on Linux. These include a single-rack Network Access Control (NAC) unit, a USB stick for LAN monitoring, and a VMware virtual appliance.

Catbird sells these products as agents for its service, which is offered directly or through partners who rebrand it. Once installed, the hardware and/or software acts as an IDS/IPS (intrusion detection system/intrusion protection system), tracking a range of problems on IP LANs and Internet connections, including rogue log-ins, viruses, pharming attacks, hijacking, and more. Monitoring is refreshed every two minutes. Alerts are forwarded to email. A browser-accessible interface presents ongoing information from all agents, facilitates rules setting, and provides reports.

Catbird is heavily marketing V-Security, since the VMware agent offers easy installation to protect both physical and virtual machines. V-Security also monitors both within the LAN and outside a firewall, Catbird says. And because it operates as a guest in the hypervisor, it can safeguard virtual networks -- a key feature for firms concerned with emerging threats in this area.

Catbird typically charges from $18 monthly for VMware-based V-Security, which was introduced in September 2007 via a jaw-dropping media event featuring scantily clad runners.

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