FortiNet plots an end to firewalls

Security startup FortiNet has announced the FortiGate-5000 "appliance", one of the most highly-integrated multi-function security systems yet to reach the market.

The 5000 has been designed for use in large networks such as blue-chip enterprises, carriers and managed service providers, and comprises firewall, anti-virus, intrusion detection/prevention, and content and Web filtering in a single, chassis/blade-based system.

The family consists of the two-blade slot FortiGate-5020, the five-blade slot FortiGate-5050, and 14-blade slot FortiGate-5140. Customers can "populate" slots with different blades offering security functions as desired. The system complies with the AdvancedTCA industry standard that specifies a range of hardware standards for next-generation carrier-class equipment.

The basic 5001 blade is rated by the company as being able to handle 3Gbit/s for Firewall traffic, 600Mbit/s for 3DES IPSec VPN, 400Mbit/s for IPS and 200Mbit/s for anti-virus scanning. By comparison, the top-of-the-range 5140 model can combine blades to manage the firewall element at up to 42Gbit/s throughput.

One unusual feature of its design is its ASIC-based design -- based on the custom FortiASIC chip -- which the company claims dramatically improves security performance, especially where scanning traffic inline. FortiNet also uses its own technology, rather than buying in components such as the anti-virus engine from a third party.

FortiNet hopes its single licence model for features such as anti-virus protection will give it a competitive advantage. The 5000 is kept up-to-date with virus signatures through its FortiProtect service, which customers subscribe to regardless of the number of users on their network.

The 5000 series will be re-sold under the FortiNet brand name by French networking company Alcatel SA.

FortiNet chose to announce the product on the day that research company IDC identified the company as the revenue share leader in the market for a new category of all-in-one security hardware it has dubbed "unified threat management" (UTM) appliances.

IDC predicted that these devices will eventually supplant conventional piecemeal protection by single-function devices such as firewalls.

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