Startup NetDevices Inc. late last month became the first vendor to release a multifunction communications device designed for centralized management, integrated functionality and high availability for branch offices.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company launched its SG-8 Unified Services Gateway, designed to unify services, reduce management complexity and optimize network performance.
The device initially integrates a Layer 7 firewall, intrusion detection and prevention, an SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) gateway with QOS (quality of service) for supporting VOIP (voice over IP) services, routing, Ethernet switching, IP Security virtual private networking, and remote management.
The device and its unique architecture, which includes a modular operating system that allows new services to be added without taking the device out of service and that separates management traffic from data, make it the first of a new generation of multiservice devices that take a systemwide approach to processing and management, said Keith Nissen, an analyst with In-Stat, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Its not good enough to say it has all the stuff inside," Nissen said. "You need the ability to isolate a module and say, Is my security policy impacting throughput on my data packets, or is my Wi-Fi causing congestion?"
Other vendors are developing products in this emerging product segment, Nissen said, although he declined to name them.
Users who first worked with the SG-8 USG found it easy to manage and hard to break, according to Nabil Saba, vice president of IS at Startec Global Communications Corp., in Potomac, Md.
"The NetDevices support engineer walked through the configuration and hasnt had to come back yet. We havent had a single problem with the features [or] functionality in the service gateway. And its especially easy to manage remotely," Saba said.
The SG-8s OnePass packet processing allows the device to inspect and classify packets once for all services, which reduces processor load and latency. The ModuLive modular operating system, modeled after carrier-class operating environments, allows services to run independently to simplify management and increase availability by allowing operators to start and stop individual services without affecting other services.
The Lifeline management framework includes a dedicated management processor in each module with failover capability and a dedicated management backplane. The SG-8 USG is available now; prices start at $14,990.
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