Startup in Focus: NetCitadel

California-based Startup NetCitadel has recently launched a new product dubbed “OneControl,” which aims to provide automated responses to network events, which used to be a time-consuming task that requires changes related to configuring switches, firewalls, other gear, as well as tremendous amounts of manual research.

Aimed primarily towards datacenters, the OneControl virtual appliance can automate determinations about router, switch, and firewall settings based on security policies set in place beforehand, relative to VM-based workloads. This greatly lessens the burden on many enterprises, as it automates tasks and work that used to require a fulltime administrator.

According to NetCitadel CEO and co-founder Mike Horn, OneControl can be installed easily and will work seamlessly with various Virtual Machine platforms, inclduing VMware, Xen, and Hyper-V. It can work together with VMware’s vDirector and vCloud APIs in order to map the intelligence of the virtual device. Horn added that OneControl can keep track of the VM resourcepool and other pertinent information in order to determine what changes need to be made to the network’s switches, routers, and firewalls in order to make it compliant with the preset security policy.

OneControl is priced at around $25,000, which puts it in direct competition price-wise against other security policy management products from Cisco and Juniper. The basic idea is that OneControl can automatically and efficiently advise on changes that need to be implemented everytime VM workloads are moved around. For instance, if vMotion happens inside a network, OneControl will advise on how it can impact firewall devises. NetCitadel even promises that they’re planning to add intelligence about other gear, such as load balancers, which will make OneControl even more useful.

Main testing of OneControl is being done towards providing proper support for Amazon’s AWS cloud, but it can also be deployed in cloud and enterprise network services.

Oklahoma-based managed services and data center provider Kenettek has already been using OneControl for half a year. Kenettek mainly serves the fas and oil industry, and employs a data center that is almost entirely virtualized. The company’s service manager, Ken Dobbins, notes that One Control is saving them a lot of time that used to be spent configuring services in routers and firewalls everytime new VM server clusters are spun up or changed for their customers.

OneControl is able to provide security-policy advisories to the Kenettek help desk staff instead of requiring manual research on the effects of the VM moves to their security policy-based configurations on their routers and firewalls. This is a huge savings on time, but it also saves on money as they are able to minimize VMware licensing chargers, which are now charged based on “committed RAM per hour.” It makes a huge different in the energy sector, where data pertaining to SCADA controls are collected during peak hours.

Horn also posits that the automation provided by OneControl will also reduce human errors, which used to be a big and costly problems back in the days when every task that isn’t scriptable had to be done manually by an administrator or an IT staff.

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