VMware and configuration management software maker Tripwire have jointly released a free tool that promises to ensure virtual servers are configured for optimal security.

ConfigCheck is a free utility that downloads to a desktop and compares active virtual server configurations against best practices guidelines development by VMware.

"This is a free application that automates the process of checking systems for configuration errors that could cause security and compliance issues in customer environments," says Mark Gaydos, vice president of marketing at Tripwire.

ConfigCheck downloads to a desktop, and IT managers point it at ESX servers to compare actual configurations against the best practice guidelines laid out by VMware. Tripwire scaled back its Tripwire Enterprise product, which is designed to perform configuration and compliance audits of large environments.

Because the two vendors jointly developed the free utility, ConfigCheck is equipped with VMware-specific configuration information to enable IT managers to more quickly - and with less manual effort - determine if ESX servers in their environment are configured properly for security, compliance and performance.

"This isn't just about security," says Dan Schoenbaum, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Tripwire. "Virtual machines can be brought online or offline in matter of seconds and many customers are challenged with configuring and managing these environments. Tracking configurations will deliver a greater integrity in the virtual environment and help customers harden their virtual servers."

The ConfigCheck tool is based on VMware's own security hardening guidelines for ESX Server and future releases will also support VMware's Infrastructure 3 products. The free tool notifies IT managers of potential conflicts in configurations and also offers fixes to the incompatibilities between actual and desired configurations. The tool links back to the vendors' virtual security resource center

"ConfigCheck will show where there is a failure to comply and if IT managers click on the notification they can also see remediation advice," Gaydos adds.

ConfigCheck is available free for download from Tripwire here and more information on securing VMware virtual servers is available here.