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Secure Computing waves next-gen firewall roadmap

Gauntlet, Sidewinder in mind-meld

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Secure Computing Corp yesterday unveiled how it plans to merge the Gauntlet business it bought from Network Associates Inc into its existing firewall business, with the goal of shipping the first of its "next generation" firewalls, codenamed NGF, at the end of the year,

Kevin Murphy writes

.

According to product marketing manager Paul DeBernardi, the company is merging Gauntlet into its old Sidewinder family in a two-phase approach. In December or January, the company will release partly featured NGF products, which will be followed up by more advanced releases in mid-2003.

Since the acquisition, Secure says it is the market leader in so-called "hybrid" firewalls, where it competes against the likes of Symantec Corp and Cyberguard Inc. Hybrids can apply more complex policies to data traffic further up the protocol stack than conventional "stateful inspection" firewalls.

The SI firewall market is championed by the likes of Check Point Software Technologies Inc and Cisco Systems Inc. One area Check Point has excelled is in firewall management software, and Secure hopes to address this in its NGF family with the launch of an enterprise firewall management server that will allow hundreds of firewalls to be configured from a single box.

"Check Point has done an excellent job there," said DeBernardi. "One area where Secure needs to do a better job is enterprise management. We're finally going to close that last gap." The enterprise server based on the Global Enterprise Management System (GEMS) that was developed by the 26 engineers Secure took on when it spent an undisclosed amount taking Gauntlet off NAI's hands back in February.

Following the acquisition, Secure focused immediately on keeping Gauntlet's 4,000 high-end customers happy, and has been polling them and analysts for suggestions on how to combine the Gauntlet and Sidewinder products for the last four months. DeBernardi said Gauntlet is not being aggressively pushed into new clients, but Secure is focusing heavily on selling more licenses into existing accounts.

The acquisition and product roadmap also necessitate a number of new migration services, and Secure will offer Gauntlet customers a service for translating Gauntlet configuration files to the NGF platform at the same time as the products become available. The NGF products will have additional features from NAI, including integrated McAfee virus filtering.

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