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Virtually Secure

MIDNIGHT -- At the end of most days I leave the office with vendors' virtualization spiels still ringing in my ears. (See Vendors Inflate Virtualization.)

Talk to users and you get a slightly less glowing take on the weird and wonderful world of virtualization, with security, in particular, cited as a challenge. (See Tales From the Virtual Crypt, Users Talk Virtual Tension, and Users Search for Virtual Reality.)

Today, IBM will unveil its plan to tighten up virtualization security with its Secure Hypervisor Architecture or "sHype" technology, which it is touting as a way for users to lock down their virtual workloads.

Developed in conjunction with the Xen open-source community, the idea is that IT managers can use the sHype software to set security policies for their virtualization hypervisors. (See XenSource.) This could, for example, set rules for which members of the IT department can access and change the hypervisor. "What we're trying to do is give them the tools and capability to enforce things in a uniform way," says Kevin Leahy, IBM's director of virtualization.

IBM is demonstrating some shrewdness here. By affiliating itself with the open-source community, the vendor is boosting its own profile at a time when market leader VMware is grabbing most of the virtualization headlines (and a helluva lot of the business, too). (See EMC's Power Play, Vamping Virtualization, and VMware Swallows Akimbi.)

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