A few words in particular strike a chord with IT managers and this week a couple of vendors worked together to hit every one. Not only are the vendors offering a free utility (check out my slideshow of 20 free software favorites), but the no-cost tool addresses security (always top of mind) on virtual servers -- a topic that is hitting home with more and more companies every day.

Tripwire and VMware today jointly announced a free utility that will use a scaled back version of Tripwire's enterprise-level network audit and compliance software to check actual VMware ESX Server configurations against best practices for virtual server set up laid out by the market-leading hypervisor vendor.

Tripwire ConfigCheck downloads to a desktop, from which IT managers can check specific virtual server configurations for compliance with predefined security specifications. The tool can also point out how configurations could be optimized for performance.

"This isn't just about security," says Dan Schoenbaum, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Tripwire. "Virtual machines can be brought online or offline in matter of seconds and many customers are challenged with configuring and managing these environments. Tracking configurations will deliver a greater integrity in the virtual environment and help customers harden their virtual servers."

According to VMware, "Tripwire ConfigCheck is a free utility to quickly assess the security of your VMware ESX host configurations, according to the VMware Infrastructure security hardening guidelines."

Check out Tripwire's site and VMware's security section to download the free tool and learn more about VMware's best practices on how to harden virtual servers.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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