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The Future of Network Security in the Data Center – Flexible, Distributed, and Virtual

Think of a modern enterprise data center. There are likely hundreds of physical servers hosting thousands of VMs. Individual systems are connected via 10gbE links that likely feed 40gb cores. Local data centers connect over DWDM, remote data centers use MPLS, and cloud data centers chat amongst each other over high-speed VPNs.

So there are a lot of bits running east, west, north, and south over high speed links with workloads and data moving from place-to-place at all times. Given this situation, where the heck do you put the security controls to guarantee protection, mobility, and high performance?

I tend to hear a lot of strong opinions in response to this question: Security controls must follow workloads around so they need to be virtual (i.e. run as VMs or virtual services). Alternatively, security is too specialized for basic Intel processors so dedicated hardware is best for high-performance and low latency.

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