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VMware boosts VM security with PacketMotion purchase

Technology that tracks user activity will be integrated into vShield product line.

VMware has acquired PacketMotion, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of security monitoring technology for virtual and physical environments. The deal was quietly announced in a blog post Friday by Dean Coza, director of security product management at Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware.

PacketMotion’s technology tracks user transactions and correlates them with identity management systems in order to detect potential malicious internal behavior or compliance violations. In April, the company released PacketSentry Virtual Probe, which increased its ability to monitor VM to VM traffic for VM security and compliance.

VMware plans to integrate PacketMotion technologies into its VMware vShield portfolio, and the PacketMotion team will join VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In his blog post, Coza said PacketMotion’s technology will complement the sensitive data discovery detection capabilities of vShield5, which VMware launched in July. “These capabilities give us the what and the how of this equation (the sensitive data and its location). PacketMotion can provide the who (who is accessing it),” he said.

“This will greatly simplify the automation of security and compliance in the hybrid cloud,” Coza said.

Neil MacDonald, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Inc., said in a blog post that PacketMotion provides context-aware security monitoring with application and identity awareness. VMware’s vShield App already provides some application-awareness from VMware’s acquisition of BlueLane in 2008, he noted.

“PacketMotion’s application decodes will augment this capability. The more important capability is related to delivering identity-awareness,” he said.

“Adding identity, application and content awareness to information security policy decision making are all examples of the same fundamental shift to make information security context-aware and adaptive,” he said.

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