IBM has taken the first steps in addressing what security issues within the virtualisation space.

The company is set to introduce the IBM Proventia Network Virtual Intrusion Prevention System appliance, its first software-based IPS designed to operate in VMware's ESX virtual-machine environment. IBM is also expecting to launch virtual appliances for the Proventia Enterprise Scanner and the Proventia Multi-Function unified threat management later next year as well.

"We're calling this our 'Phantom' initiative," says Greg Adams, IBM's business line executive for network solutions, who describes it as a research initiative to optimise security software to work within virtual machine server environments, including those from VMware.

In addition, IBM has introduced the IBM Proventia Network Security Controller, a security management appliance that can be used in load-balancing of existing Proventia appliances on high-speed networks of 1G to 10Gbit/s using active bypass capability. It's expected to cost US$34,000 (£18,500) to $38,000 (£20,500) and be available the first quarter of next year.

In upgrades to existing products, IBM SiteProtector 7.0, the management tool used with IBM security products, has added a way to configure it to allow on-demand monitoring through professional services from IBM, including 24/7 managed security services.

IBM also announced the IBM Proventia Enterprise Scanner, which starts at $2,200, has added new features that include the Common Vulnerability Scoring System-based rating. IBM also expects to soon launch a "Client Security Readiness Tool" available to its professional services customers that would allow them to benchmark how they spend IT security dollars, areas of potential risk and see recommended approaches.