Optical/IP Networks

Cisco Prepping SSL Story

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is expected to introduce its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) offering on Monday.

Instead of developing an entirely new platform, Cisco has added the WebVPN SSL-based technology to its VPN 3000 Concentrator, which is designed for IPSec termination and aggregation, according to sources familiar with the product.

With the SSL market heating up, the strategy is important. Cisco has stood on the sidelines as competitors have acquired startups or announced new products in this market. In June, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) announced an internally developed product (see Nokia Sweetens SSL ). Earlier this week, Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) announced a new platform for its SSL VPN technology (see Nortel Takes Its Own VPN Route).

Some competitors have taken the acquisition route. NetScreen Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NSCN) announced it was buying Neoteris Inc. (see NetScreen Snags SSL Leader). F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) said it was buying uRoam Inc. (see F5 Buys Into SSL VPNs). And Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) announced the acquisition of SafeWeb Inc. (see Symantec Acquires SafeWeb).

Like Nortel, Cisco has integrated its solution into its existing remote access product line, say sources. The company may offer the SSL solution as a free upgrade to the 3000 concentrator.

Critics have pointed out the limitations in the 3000 hardware platform, which is based on PowerPC processors, which could hinder the performance in running IPSec and SSL VPNs simultaneously. Competitors such as Aventail Corp. and Neoteris, which are considered the two market leaders in SSL VPNs, are already grousing that Cisco’s offering is an inadequate attempt to enter the market.

Cisco might also have a scaleability issue. According to potential customers that have tested the product, the software only supports a maximum of 50 to 100 users on the 3030 Concentrator models and higher. Compare this to Neoteris’s high-end Access 5000 series, which supports up to 2,500 simultaneous users.

Cisco was not yet divulging details of the product release and declined to comment for this story.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 11:16:28 PM
re: Cisco Prepping SSL Story Cisco has always used first to implement to sell its products. There are many vebdors whose SSL VPN products are far more scalable and efficient than the Cisco's product.
WizzKid 12/4/2012 | 11:16:19 PM
re: Cisco Prepping SSL Story Are there any advantages in SSL VPNs over IP-Sec VPNS ? Do we really need so many VPN technologies ? MPLS VPNs are already dead.

This is just an over-kill :(


mr zippy 12/4/2012 | 11:16:15 PM
re: Cisco Prepping SSL Story In my opinion, SSL VPNs have disadvantages over IPsec VPNs

green 12/4/2012 | 11:16:09 PM
re: Cisco Prepping SSL Story the major adv claimed by SSL vpn is that the client software is built into all major web browers. This means IT doesn't have to configure end clients to provide access.

configuring IPsec software on win2k is a breeze so I don't fully buy this argument. but some customers seem to think this is important hence the hype.

the downside is obviously that server applications have to 'web enabled' to be accesible thru' ssl vpns. so it not a generic solution for VPN access like IPsec
lgroner 12/4/2012 | 11:14:25 PM
re: Cisco Prepping SSL Story This is NOT a limitation of the NetScaler SSL VPN. NetScaler can handle arbitrary application protocols over TCP between clients and servers. It is not limited to HTTP or HTTPS.

For example the standard MS Exchange client can be used to talk to an Exchange server oner the NetScaler SSL VPN.
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