The wave of hype around server virtualization technology has already receded as solution providers and their customers bury their heads in their SANs and work with mature and maturing technologies from VMware and several competitors.
Yet like a Pacific Ocean tsunami, the departure of the wave signals not a falling tide, but the building of a new and larger wave of hype and confusion about how the growing virtualization of server infrastructures impacts the security of the data center.
Virtualized servers are in many ways similar to physical servers, with each individual virtual or physical server requiring processor time, memory, I/O, and an operating system to run an application which does not care on which type of server it is found.
Yet the difference between having an application run on a dedicated piece of hardware or on one of several virtual servers sharing resources within a physical server is spurring a debate about the best way to protect the virtual world.
In one camp are those who say that virtual servers primarily need the same type of protection tools—anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall—as any physical server.
In the other camp are those, especially a host of startups and relatively unknown technology developers, who say that server virtualization brings its own potential areas for malware exploits requiring a new set of tools to handle security issues.