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Virtualization Drives Enterprise Data Center Security Purchases

April 27, 2015

The headline for Infonetics Research’s 2015 Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey is “Virtualization Driving Enterprise Data Center Security Purchases, Budgets Growing 57 Percent.”  Interestingly, after years of security being a reason many enterprises were adverse to moving more and more of their mission critical assets to the cloud, one could almost state the reverse of the headline was also true. 

Enterprises that already have their own data centers have always been concerned about the physical safety of their servers, storage and networking equipment that reside within those hallowed grounds. Now, thanks to increased concern about the data itself and its security when it is at rest or on the move, having enough horsepower to assure virtual security is of huge interest.

With plans for even further virtualization, as data centers transform to be more agile, use less power per bit processed and become repositories of a whole lot more data, assuring a path for having optimized security during transformations in some sense could be viewed as a driver of/obstacle to virtualization.

Infonetics Research, now part of IHS Inc., conducted in-depth surveys with 137 medium and large businesses in North America that operate their own data centers. Yes, and not exactly a surprise but worthy of confirmation was the finding that 76 percent of respondents consider virtualization to be an important driver for purchasing new security solutions.

As the graphic from the report shows, the areas of concern now are getting to the heart of how enterprises operate, i.e., protecting the Web and email as major areas for virtualized security.

Source: Infonetics Research

“The battle for data center security domination is raging, particularly at the high end of the appliance market. 2014 brought major market share changes, and this will continue in 2015 as buyers jump ship to get the throughput, interfaces, connection performance, and detection and mitigation technologies they need,” said Jeff Wilson, research director for cybersecurity technology at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS.

“The somewhat isolated market for virtual appliances and virtualization-aware security solutions is merging with software-defined networking (SDN) in the data center, and this combination will lead to explosive market growth,” Wilson said.

A few highlights from the survey are of interest.  For example:

  • Respondents spent an average of $9.6 million on data center security solutions in 2014, with plans to grow spending 57 percent in 2016.
  • Cisco did very well across the board in respondent data center security solution supplier leadership ratings: its lowest score was higher than any other vendor’s highest score.
  • Strength in data center security buying criteria is primarily a function of overall brand strength, but there are some interesting peaks and valleys in vendor ratings by enterprises participating in the study:
    • Juniper jumps up for technology innovation and price
    • Palo Alto has a surprisingly high score for management relative to its overall brand awareness and strength

The report highlights and rates according to 10 criteria the top 11 vendors in the space (Arbor, Check Point, Cisco, F5 Networks, Fortinet, HP, Juniper, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, VMware). It also covers data center security purchase drivers, deployments, interface speed and throughput requirements, and spending plans of the surveyed organizations.

Whether the need for speed and security and the availability of tools to assure both is likely to be an accelerant of virtualization for enterprises with their own data centers or vice versa as the research suggests may be a moot point. Realities are that securing all aspects of the data center, and particularly the data and all of the virtualized capabilities that enable it to be accessed and flow securely, have taken on incredible importance.  Look no further than the growing estimates of the costs of data breaches and other types of cyberattacks, and it is clear that as far as securing the data center is concerned the message about the need has been received and heard.  

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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