Load balancing, security devices on tap from Avaya

Layer 4 and Secure Sockets Layer encryption boxes on tap from Avaya this week could be useful in balancing loads among Web servers or firewalls and speeding up encrypted Web traffic.

The company's new modular and stackable LAN switches are aimed at users who want to connect groups of PCs and servers to a network backbone over copper Gigabit Ethernet links. And to manage it all, the company is offering Version 4.0 of its CajunView network management software.

The P333R-LB stackable load-balancing switch supports Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching, and can also inspect packets at Layer 4 to determine their port destination, letting the box forward traffic to the most available server in a server farm.

The SSL-100 is an SSL acceleration device designed to sit in front of a secure Web server and offload the encryption of sensitive Web traffic - such as e-commerce customer information or credit card numbers - from a Web server's CPU.

The box supports key exchange standards such as RSA, DSS and Diffie-Hellman, and is compliant with SSL Versions 2 and 3. The technology for the SSL-100 comes from CyberIQ, which Avaya acquired in March.

The Avaya P130 is billed as a workgroup switch, with 24 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet ports and two fiber slots for Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet uplinks.

The P332G-ML and P332GT-ML are 12-port Gigabit fiber and copper switches for aggregating groups of P130s or connecting server farms at gigabit speeds to a backbone or Web connection. The boxes can also be outfitted with ATM modules for WAN connectivity.

The seven-slot P580 Routing Switch is an upgrade to Avaya's P550 chassis and uses the same adapters as Avaya's largest switch - the nine-slot P882.

The P580 could be used as a backbone switch for a small or midsize company, or as a high-density wiring closet switch. The box will compete with products such as Enterasys' modular Matrix switch line and Cisco's Catalyst 4000 series boxes.

CajunView 4.0 comes with new features including group configuration settings for similar network devices - such as workgroup switches - and the ability to manage access control lists and quality of service on a per-port basis on network switches.

"[Avaya] has filled in critical gaps in its product line, with both their load-balancing switch and the SSL accelerator," says Peter Bernstein, a technology analyst and president of Infonautics Research.

While Avaya's new Gigabit products are interesting, Bernstein says, users are looking for tools that can improve the performance of existing enterprise infrastructures - such as bolstering server uptime or speeding up traffic encryption - rather than buying more pipes and ports to beef up a network.

Avaya's P333R-LB switch and SSL-100 are priced at US$11,000 and $15,000, respectively. The fiber-based P332G-ML and copper-based P332GT-ML cost up to $8,000 and $6,545, respectively.

The P130 workgroup box costs $2,000, and the P580 backbone switch goes for $14,950. CajunView 4.0 costs $2,450. All products are available now.

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