Crossbeam boosts security appliance

Crossbeam Systems Inc. next week will introduce a software upgrade to its high-speed security gear that helps users protect their corporate assets from a variety of threats.

The new version of the company's operating software coupled with Crossbeam's modular hardware comes as a package called X40S, which makes it possible for the device to log 99.999 percent uptime, the standard most phone companies require before they allow equipment into their networks, Crossbeam says. The X40S replaces the company's X40 box and can replace an assortment of security gear used to protect corporate resources linked to the Internet.

Sitting between a corporate network, the Internet and a LAN or data center, the X40S has 10 slots that can hold 10 application-processing modules, each which supports one security application. Several blades running the same application can be configured as a single virtual application processing (VAP) group to boost the speed of that application. So for instance, an X40S fully loaded with 10 processing modules running Check Point Software's VPN-1/Firewall-1 supports VPN speeds of 3G bit/sec.

The blades within a VAP group load balance among themselves, and if one blade dies, a standby blade can kick in after 45 seconds. If a single chassis supports more than one VAP group, such as a firewall and intrusion detection, the standby blade can activate for a failed card in either cluster. If one blade from each cluster dies, the standby will kick in for the cluster that has been given higher priority as chosen by the customer. With no standby, the clusters continue to work if one blade fails, but at lower speed.

The X40S competes against devices from Asita and TippingPoint Technologies, Nortel's Alteon switch and most recently Cisco's Catalyst 6500 switch, which has new security blades, says Charles Kolodgy, IDC research director of Internet services.

Crossbeam also added daughtercards called Crossbeam ACE that snaps onto application blades to boost the encryption speed for VPNs or Secure Sockets Layer applications.

The application processor cards support Check Point VPN-1/Firewall-1, InterScan Virus Wall antivirus software from TrendMicro, WebSense content filtering, F-Secure antivirus software, and Enterasys Networks' Dragon intrusion-detection software.

X40S costs US$55,000 for a chassis, a network processor card, a control processor card and an application processor card. Application cards cost $14,500, and ACE daughtercards cost $3,500. Application software is extra. X40S is available Oct. 1.


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