Security Appliance Built Inside the Fort

Unlike similar products, Fortinet's multi-gigabit security appliance was developed entirely in-house.

Fortinet Inc. next week will unveil its new Network Protection Gateway 3000, the first in a forthcoming line of multi-gigabit security appliances.

Like appliances sold by companies such as Symantec Corp. and other vendors, the 3000 combines anti-virus, firewall, content filtering, intrusion detection and VPN functionality in one box. However, unlike many similar products, all of the technology in this appliance was developed in-house by Fortinet.

Capable of handling firewall traffic at speeds of up to 3G bps, the 3000 can also handle 300MB per second of IPSec VPN throughput with triple-DES encryption and 1G gbs of AES encrypted VPN traffic. The appliance has three gigabit ports and three 10/100 Ethernet ports, each of which can be compartmentalized and given its own dedicated security policies.

Also, any of the ports can be designated as a high-availability port and used to connect the box to another 3000 for fail-over purposes.

The heart of the appliance is the FortiASIC chip, which handles the anti-virus processing duties. Fortinet spent several years developing the chip, which also performs the content-filtering function.

"Because those functions are so computing-intensive, they slow down the software-based boxes," said Ken Xie, president and CEO of Fortinet, based in Santa Clara, Calif. "This is a platform. Software firewalls have to be combined with a separate platform because the end users need a box."

Xie added that the company plans to find other uses for their technology in the near future.

"There are a lot of other network problems to be solved," he said. "Long-term network problems are always solved by hardware."

Fortinet early next year will roll out the NPG 4000, which will have 10G bit Ethernet ports—eight copper and two fiber-optic—and will be capable of handling 8G bps of firewall throughput. It will retail for $39,995.

The 3000, which will start shipping next week, sells for $19,995.