Nokia eyes scalability with new security appliance

Nokia eyes scalability with new security appliance

Nokia is aiming at scalable performance with its first multicore security appliance

In the booming market for network security, Nokia is driving up performance for both large enterprises and small and branch offices with new appliances.

On Monday, as Cisco Systems unveiled a new security blade for its flagship Catalyst 6500 switch and Juniper Networks introduced a new version of its network access control software, Nokia rolled out a pair of new products for its own security line. The Nokia IP690 is designed to scale up with the security needs of large companies and the IP290 to pack power into a small amount of rack space.

Security gear was one driver of 9 percent growth in global telecommunications and data-network equipment spending in 2006, Infonetics Research said last week. The research company expects total spending, which hit US$123 million last year, to reach US$148 billion by 2010.

Nokia's security appliance group focuses on building high-performance boxes and has a partnership with Check Point Software Technologies through which channel partners put that company's applications on the Nokia platform, said Allison Taylor, product marketing manager in Nokia's security and mobile connectivity division.

The IP690 is based on a multicore, multithreaded Intel processing platform to accommodate future software, including applications from other vendors, Taylor said. It's Nokia's first appliance based on this kind of architecture.

But the main thrust of the new hardware is performance and future-proofing. It can handle as much as 7G bps (bits per second) of traffic, comes with a standard dual power supply and can be equipped with optional mirrored hard disks. The system's processing power can also be upgraded with ADP (accelerated data path) cards. The new appliance matches the existing IP560 for sheer power but is geared toward a lower price point and managing multiple threats, she said. The IP560 will continue to be updated.

The IP690 can run Check Point's VPN-1 UTM (Unified Threat Management) suite, which includes firewall, VPN (virtual private network), antivirus, URL (uniform resource locator) filtering and intrusion prevention capabilities, or the lower end Check Point Power and VPN-1 applications. Nokia is also offering the IP690 Intrusion Prevention appliance, which runs Sourcefire software. It acts as a 1G bps sensor to examine traffic that can then be handled by the Nokia Defense Center server.

With the IP290, Nokia wants to deliver higher performance to branch offices and small headquarters in a compact device. It takes up one-half of a standard 1U rack space, has 1.5G bps of throughput and can run the Check Point VPN-1 UTM suite. Users can fit two IP290s in a single rack space for redundancy. Nokia also introduced the IP290 Intrusion Prevention, which can serve as a 100M bps sensor using Sourcefire software and can also be paired with the other IP290 appliance in a 1U rack shelf, Taylor said.

The IP690 is priced starting at US$29,995 and the IP290 at US$3,995. Both are available now through Nokia's channel partners.

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