Catbird has received $2 million in funding from Medina Capita for its security technology for the ever abstracting virtual data center. It is the first investment for the fund — established by Manual Medina, the former chairman and CEO of data center company Terremark Worldwide.
Catbird, formed in 2007, provides software that gets injected into VMware’s virtualization technology. It’s the same thing that has traditionally been done on physical switches but in a virtual environment that traditional security technologies were never designed to protect.
Catbird represents a new generation of companies disrupting established vendors from the application layer at the top of the software stack down to the infrastructure in the data center. Catbird competitors such as Checkpoint, Cisco and Tipping Point face attack as the whole nature of the data center changes. Virtual infrastructures now do what physical infrastructures once did but at a fraction of the cost and with the added capability to optimize the software based on the elastic needs of the customer. It’s not all so cut and dried that virtual switches are better, but customers do need to look at the new capabilities these virtual components provide.
Catbird, as opposed to the more traditional vendors, looks inside the virtual machine. It connects to VMware’s APIs, integrates with VMware’s s security products, and integrates with and talks to the physical switches.
Medina said in an email interview that the firm is focused on investing in companies in the IT infrastructure space, specifically in the cloud, cybersecurity, big data, software-defined security, and software-defined networking sectors. And that makes Catbird a logical investment for the company as its promise is in the future of the software-defined, private data-center market. Medina sold Terremark to Verizon last year for $2 billion.
Catbird is currently in the beta stage of its kernal-based virtual machine (KVM), the open-source hypervisor technology for Linux servers that has a following but lacks the market penetration of VMware. Other hypervisors can be added, but for now the focus is on VMware. That means a focus on the private data center market and not the public cloud, which is anathema to opening its infrastructure.
Catbird has tremendous potential but the market is still so nascent. IT is grappling with what to virtualize and what to leave to the hardware to handle. How they decide determines what security software to use. The answer is that customers will go with both, which makes for a deeper education for the enterprise architect who has to think through the balance between managing the basics of keeping the infrastructure secure and the rush of innovation coming from vendors like Catbird.