3Com, Crossbeam Team Up

After announcing an OEM relationship with Crossbeam Systems, 3Com this week became the latest vendor to join the security appliance fray.

3Com Corp. this week became the latest vendor to join the security appliance fray, announcing an OEM relationship with Crossbeam Systems Inc.

The agreement enables 3Com to sell two of Crossbeams appliances—the C30 and the X45—under the 3Com name. Also, the two companies plan to jointly develop a new appliance aimed at the lower end of the market.

For Crossbeam, the partnership provides better entrée into the upper echelon of the enterprise market where 3Com has dwelt for most of its existence.

"Obviously 3Com is the premiere networking company, and we want to take on Cisco in the high end of the market," said Peter George, CEO of Crossbeam, based in Concord, Mass.

The X45 is designed for the medium enterprise, and like all of Crossbeams boxes, includes a range of security applications. Customers can select from among firewall, anti-virus, intrusion detection, content filtering and other functionality and get only the applications they want.

The C30 is a turnkey appliance available in a variety of different configurations, including a few bundles designed to address specific needs, such as Web security or network access.

3Com, based in Marlborough, Mass., will begin selling the C30 by the end of November and plans to have the X45 under its banner by the end of December. The 3Com-branded products may have different names from those sold by Crossbeam, however.

Crossbeams appliances are somewhat unique in the security industry in that none of the applications on the boxes is Crossbeams. The company has formed partnerships with a number of security vendors—including Internet Security Systems Inc., Trend Micro Inc., Check Point Software Technologies Inc. and Enterasys Networks Inc.—and allows customers to choose from a menu of applications for each appliance. The core architecture on the boxes is Crossbeams intellectual property, an architecture that can send traffic to multiple security applications at once or in sequence, depending on the customers preference and policies.

In addition to the new low-end appliance, 3Com and Crossbeam officials said the companies plan to work together on some other security technologies that would apply to the interior of corporate networks.