One other interesting note about vSentry 2.0: Bromium has been able to more quickly evolve its own microvisor technology by leveraging the Xen hypervisor and taking advantage of the virtualization benefits it already provides.
But why use Xen now? Why not use it all along?
"When we started Bromium, Xen was not capable of acting as a microvisor," explained Crosby. "There were a couple of key areas of innovation needed: first, the ability to do an instant, in memory 'fork' of a running OS (Windows); and second, the ability to run as a 'late load' hypervisor, which starts once Windows has booted the hardware. This work is now complete. Now we are in a position to leverage our, and the community's, 10-year investment in the Xen code base."
Xen is heavily optimized and very secure. By leveraging the hypervisor, Bromium has been able to further reduce the size of its own code base. Xen has benefited from the security contributions of IBM s-hype code base and security modules, and (as far as we are aware) has never been compromised in practice, even though it is attacked daily on millions of devices worldwide.
Crosby added that Xen is fast and efficient, and the community effort is focused on continually optimizing it for new hardware (for example, Intel Haswell) and new architectures of relevance (such as ARM). He went on to say, "Everyone can benefit from our innovation, and vice versa. It's a terrific model that has served the industry fabulously."
As part of the company's ongoing product expansion, Bromium is also working on adding support for a number of other popular operating systems beyond Windows 7, including Windows 8, Android, and Mac OS X.
The software is being sold to enterprises, not directly to consumers. The current list price for vSentry 2.0 is $150 per seat, but volume discounts are available.
Bromium has raised $35.7 million thus far across two funding rounds backed by Highland Capital Partners with Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Intel Capital. Now that the company is leveraging the Xen hypervisor for much of the heavy lifting, expect the company to spread some of that money around in other areas in order to continue to innovate on this interesting security play.
This article, "Bromium vSentry 2.0 protects users, companies with latest microvisor," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com.