By coincidence, Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) chose the same moment to announce its intended acquisition of NetScreen Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NSCN) (see Juniper Buys NetScreen).
The connection? There's little doubt that NetScreen's attractiveness as a potential acquisition target was enhanced by its own acquisition of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN startup, Neoteris, last year (see NetScreen Snags SSL Leader).
The upshot is that the hot SSL VPN market has got a whole lot hotter in the past 24 hours, particularly as speculation is rife that further acquistions could be in the pipeline. Right now, for instance, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) appears to have some catching up to do in the SSL VPN marketplace (see Cisco Prepping SSL Story).
Cue Heavy Reading's report, entitled "SSL VPN Products: A Heavy Reading Competitive Analysis," which evaluates all the players in the market in granular detail.
The market for SSL VPNs has become popular, crowded, and complex, says the report. Although significant differences exist in SSL VPN hardware, the real differentiators are in the software. The most important distinction between products is how the SSL VPN gateway communicates with clients, what applications it enables, and how it secures those applications.
An executive summary can be downloaded by clicking on this link.
In the report, author David Newman, president of Network Test, surveys SSL VPN gateways from 16 vendors:
- Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP)
- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
- F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV)
- NetScreen Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NSCN)
- Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)
- Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT)
- Rainbow Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: RNBO)
- Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
- Array Networks Inc.
- Aventail Corp.
- Netilla Networks Inc.
- NetScaler Inc.
- NetSilica Inc.
- PortWise AB
- Redline Communications Inc.
- Whale Communications Ltd.
The test results demonstrate that there's no such thing as the best SSL VPN gateway product. It all depends whether products are server- or appliance-based, and on how prospective purchasers view the relative importance of features, price, session rate, the maximum number of concurrent users, transaction rates, response times, forwarding rates, and security attributes.
Table 1: Best by Test
|If this matters most to you�||�check out this
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|OWA concurrent users||PortWise||NetScaler|
|OWA transaction rate||Nortel||NetScaler|
|OWA URL response time||Nortel||Array|
|OWA page response time||Nortel||Array|
|OWA under attack||Nortel||NetScaler|
|OWA = Outlook Web Access, the Webified version of Microsoft�s Outlook mail client|
— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
Heavy Reading's 76-page report, SSL VPN Products: A Heavy Reading Competitive Analysis, costs $3,450.