In May 2007, while at Interop Las Vegas I came across Mistletoe Technologies showing off a very small, very fast firewall appliance.
The company also makes DDoS (distributed denial of service) prevention, encryption and flow monitoring appliances in this tiny form factor. The 3 by 6 ¾ by 1 ¼ inch devices use only 15W of power and company officials told me in an interview on July 12 that they are working on a POE (Power over Ethernet) version.
The other small thing about the devices is the price: $1,200.
Mistletoe hopes that compute-intensive shops will install the SlimLine products inside the LAN to provide perimeter-like protection to servers running deep inside the organization.
We're getting several of the units to test at the end of July and I'll let you know how they work shortly thereafter. A couple of things I can say now, though, should give enterprise IT managers pause before pursuing the devices.
First, the SlimLine Firewall, Encryptor and AntiDDos appliances fail open; meaning that when the device goes dark, so too is the network connection for any device behind the SlimLine.
Second, central management tools are still months away. This means that for now, device configuration and alerting is a one-at-a-time procedure.
Both of these minuses are big drawbacks. But in the words of Mame Dennis, "Help is on the way, darlings!" Centralized management is slated to be released in October, with current customers able to use the beta version in the meantime. Failover to a hot standby is said to be targeted for the end of 2007.