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Startup of the Week: Altor Networks

The startup will soon offer a virtual firewall to complement its virtual network analyzer
Virtualized servers can be black boxes: Information goes in and comes out, but IT often doesn't have a good handle on what's actually happening inside. Altor Networks offers monitoring and firewall software to audit inter-VM traffic, enforce security policies, and shine a light into the virtualized darkness.
--Andrew Conry-Murray
ALTOR NETWORKS


Ben-Efraim, CEO, Altor Networks

Ben-Efraim plugs virtual holes with real security

HEADQUARTERS: Redwood City, Calif.

PRODUCT: Virtual Network Security Analyzer, Virtual Network Firewall

PRINCIPALS: Amir Ben-Efraim, CEO; Dr. Ulrich Stern, CTO; Moshe Litvin, VP of engineering

INVESTORS: Accel Partners, Foundation Capital

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Nielsen Mobile, Attunity, ServiceMaster


THE BIG IDEA
Multiple virtual machines on a single server can communicate with each other with little IT oversight. This communication can violate compliance regulations or let malware spread from one VM to another. Altor Networks' Virtual Network Security Analyzer (VNSA) monitors traffic among virtual machines and provides critical visibility into inter-VM communication.

CONTROL KNOBS
VNSA is deployed as a virtual appliance, with one agent per physical server. It monitors VMs connected through VMware's Virtual Switch. Multiple agents report to a single console. The agents report on inter-VM communications, including ports and protocols used. The company plans to enable VNSA to send SNMP traps to third-party management tools. This summer, the Virtual Network Firewall will launch. It will control inter-VM communication and restrict VMs to authorized ports and protocols.

BACKGROUND
Altor Networks has a strong security pedigree. CEO Ben-Efraim and engineering VP Litvin come from Check Point Software, a security leader. Litvin was chief architect at Check Point, where he led the development of the company's flagship firewall software. Litvin also was an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Corps. Accel, one of the company's two major backers, has an admirable track record in the security space. Four companies in Accel's security portfolio have been acquired.

THE COMPETITION
Startups dominate virtual security. BlueLane's VirtualShield is a firewall and intrusion-prevention system for VMware environments. Montego Networks' HyperSwitch includes a firewall and access control for VMs.

TIMELINE
Timeline Chart

Editor's Choice
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer