Fortinet Chases Carriers

New high-end security appliances put Fortinet in the Juniper/NetScreen league of chassis-based products

September 13, 2004

2 Min Read
Fortinet Chases Carriers

By extending the high-end of its enterprise product line, security appliance vendor Fortinet Inc. is hoping for a bigger slice of the service provider market.

The security startup today announced its FortiGate 5000 series of firewalls: the 5020 (two slots), the 5050 (five slots), and the 5140 (14 slots). (See Fortinet Unveils 5000 Series.) All three are modular, chassis-based systems, competing with the likes of the Crossbeam Systems Inc. X80 and the Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) 5200 built by NetScreen Technologies, which Juniper acquired this year (see Juniper Buys NetScreen).

Large enterprise networks are the targets for the 5000 series, but the new boxes could also help Fortinet beef up its service provider sales, which make up just 10 percent of revenues today. "The 4000 is chassis-based, but it's not as modular as the 5000. It didn't address the needs of the service provider base," says Richard Hanke, Fortinet's VP of product management. "We see a lot of service providers that are using our products but would like to see them more chassis-based to fit into their environment."

By contrast, Crossbeam says 40 percent of its market is with service providers. What Crossbeam has seen in recent years is that, even as capital expenditures declined, service providers kept up an interest in security. "Spending on security and managed security were increasing within those falling expenditure curves," says Throop Wilder, Crossbeam's VP of marketing.

Crossbeam has offered blade-based systems for four years, Wilder says. The advantage is that the combination of features -- firewalls, antivirus protection, etc. -- can be changed depending on the network's needs.

As with its previous products, Fortinet's new boxes integrate firewall and VPN functionality along with antivirus protection and intrusion detection.

The FortiGate 5140 will only encourage analysts who think Fortinet would make a nice acquisition target for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Fortinet's Money Machine Rolls On.) Cisco's PIX firewalls don't integrate antivirus and intrusion detection the way Fortinet's do. And now Fortinet has a chassis-based system to target service providers, to compete against the Juniper/Netscreen offering. Cisco officials have said they don't feel a need to counter the NetScreen acquisition. Hanke wouldn't comment on Fortinet's availablity.

The 5000 series includes a set of linecards that can fit into any of three chassis. The 5000 and 5050 are shipping, while the 5140 is set to be available in the fourth quarter.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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For further education, visit the archives of related Light Reading Webinars:

  • 802.11 Security: Defending the New Network Edge

  • Implementing Managed Security Services

  • Intrusion Prevention: Preempting Network Attacks

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