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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BlueButtMonkey 12/5/2012 | 1:17:15 AM
re: Fortinet Chases Carriers I've heard that if you turn all their security services on, performance crawls regardless of the datasheet babble...anyone have experience with their boxes?
hattrick 12/5/2012 | 1:17:14 AM
re: Fortinet Chases Carriers Take a look at layer N networks -- they have the ASIC technology that can address this issue.
laserbrain2 12/5/2012 | 1:17:09 AM
re: Fortinet Chases Carriers Wheezing

The AV stuff was really a retrofit of an ASIC already designed. It CRAWLS (compared to the DS BS). One channel guy I worked with complained that you couldn't even DO AV and firewall at the same time, let alone have it perform well.

These datasheet numbers are definitely downhill-with-the-wind-at-your-back, best-possible-case performance. You'll never see anything close in reality.
brunofontaine 12/5/2012 | 1:17:00 AM
re: Fortinet Chases Carriers In reply to "THE BRAIN 2", it makes me laugh when I see comments from people that hide behind pseudonymns to write totally simplistic and unfounded comments about products they probably know nothing about. I know a friend of an uncle that has a neighbour that thinks you are silly. Are you by any chance working for a competing product?

In response to the original question, it is normal for these types of products to experience some speed reduction when turning on more features. Each model has a specific amount of processing power and that processing power is shared between all the tasks you give the unit.

Keeping in mind the needs of your network, you choose the product that will be able to handle all your needs after turning on all the tasks you need.

I would recommend that you read some of the whitepapers and/or case study on the Fortinet web site in order to better understand their unique advantages compared to other products you might be interested into. It is specially important to understand the advantages and functions of the ASIC chip in comparaison with the rest of the world.
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