PGP offers firewall, VPN, anti-virus in e-ppliance

PGP Security, a division of Network Associates Inc., will announce on Thursday the release of the e-ppliance 1000, an integrated firewall, VPN (virtual private network) and anti-virus appliance capable of securing up to 1G-bit per second of data.

The e-ppliance, a 6u (roughly 10.5 inches tall) hardware device which has been shipping unannounced since December but will be officially announced Thursday, offers a PGP Gauntlet firewall, anti-virus software from McAfee, itself a division of Network Associates, and an IPsec (Internet Protocol security)-compatible VPN (virtual private network, a way of transmitting secure, encrypted data over the Internet)) which uses strong encryption and PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) authentication. The device is generally placed between a company's router and its corporate network, but can be installed elsewhere, depending on how the network is configured.

"The historical trade-off has been between performance and security," said Marvin Dickerson, the director of product management at PGP. But because the e-ppliance is able to handle 1G-bit per second of network traffic, the device is able to maintain security while also ensuring high levels of network performance, he said.

Built around four Sun Microsystems Inc. UltraSPARC-II processors running at 400Mhz each, the e-ppliance 1000 boasts 4G-bytes of RAM, two 18.1G-byte Ultra SCSI (small computer system interface) hard drives and four 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports. There are other e-ppliance devices built around different specifications, though the 1000 is the top of the line.

Because the e-ppliance is a combination of reliable hardware and software and operates at such high speeds, "the device will not be a bottleneck," Dickerson said. Users are averaging about 500M-bits per second of throughput and handling as many as 975,000 concurrent connections, he said.

PGP is targeting the e-ppliance 1000 at large enterprises, financial services companies, content providers, government agencies, telecommunications firms, Internet service providers and more, he said. The device will appeal to such companies not only because of its quality, but also because it is an integrated product that will require only one point of contact for support and will decrease total cost of ownership for security, he said.

The device is configurable through any Web browser using the included GlobalEnterprise Management System, which can also allow for management of multiple devices from a single console, PGP said in its statement. The e-ppliance also allows administrators to filter traffic based on protocol, application or other rules, the company said.

The e-ppliance 1000 costs US$148,000 and is shipping now.

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