NAC vendors embracing virtual server environments

* Mirage looks to virtualization to increase NAC deployment options

Mirage Networks has short-term plans to make its management platform available for installation on virtual servers, according to the company's CEO.

Longer term, the company is weighing whether to make its policy software also available on virtual machines, says CEO Greg Stock.

Virtualizing either platform won’t change how the NAC policy checks or enforcements are done, but they will give customers more deployment options. Rather than centrally deploying a NAC appliance and extending NAC checks to remote offices over a VPN, local NAC policy and enforcement can be set up locally.

The same thing could be accomplished by deploying multiple machines at multiple sites, but that runs into the same problems that any dedicated device creates in a small office. It takes up space, requires power and generally costs more than a software solution that can be deployed with others on a single piece of hardware.

Many businesses are embracing virtual server environments for just this reason and it’s only natural to see vendors of appliances such as firewalls and VPNs do the same, and this includes NAC vendors as well. Some other NAC vendors already have virtual policy servers available. The fact is that vendors that don’t come up with virtual versions of their products run the risk of being squeezed out in RFP decisions vs. vendors that do have them. It makes sense, therefore, for Mirage to come out with its own virtual appliance sooner rather than later.

In drawing up those RFPs businesses might consider whether a broader NAC strategy becomes possible with less expensive virtual appliances.

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