Cisco Prepping SSL Story
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