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Application security programs and practises

Foundry Networks has a busy summer ahead with a revamp of two major product lines and the launch of its first security-centric products. Bob Schiff, Foundry's VP of product marketing, described it as the largest product launch in Foundry's nine year history.

The SecureIron, due in August, is a family LAN switch with integrated deep packet inspection designed to thwart hacking attacks. As part of its SecureIron range, Foundry is also launching Security Traffic Manager which allows firms to balance traffic across their existing firewall and IDS products. There's general agreement across the industry that firms need better application defences to thwart increasingly sophisticated hacker attacks or worm outbreaks. But vendors are split on whether to deliver this protection at the firewall, through dedicated security appliances or using traffic management software. Foundry argues that by building this technology into LAN switches firms can get by with fewer devices.

Next month Foundry plans to release a new family of switches aimed at the enterprise - the RX Series - to replace its existing BigIron Layer 2-3 technology. The BigIron RX series features third generation 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology, priced to appeal to mid to large enterprise customers requiring higher bandwidth. Very few firms need 10GbE at present but Foundry's technology is designed to give them headroom for expansion over the estimated six years lifetime of the kit during which time firms might be installing bandwidth-hungry applications such as IP TV.

Three-quarters of Foundry's business is in the enterprise where the firm sells a full range of products (wireless LAN kit, LAN switches and load balancers) and claims a market share of 6-7 per cent. In the service provider market, Foundry is best known for its switching technology but the firm is renewing its assault on the router market (where it enjoys a market share of just 0.5 per cent) with a major upgrade to its flagship telco product, the NetIron XMR.

The NetIron XMR offers Ethernet switching, IP routing with MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching - a traffic management protocol) support at a tenth of the price compared to Cisco and Juniper, Foundry claims. Schiff said Foundry would still be able to turn a profit at these lower prices by taking advantage of advances in networking technology. "The service provider market has not seen the price declines that the enterprise has witnessed because it has been held captive by two vendors. We want to give service providers a serious alternative to Cisco and Juniper," he said.

US-based manufacture Foundry has annual revenues of $400m and 675 workers so it's a significant player but Schiff is realistic enough to know it won't be prizing away the BT or France Telecom account from Cisco anytime soon. "We'll be going head to head with Cisco and Juniper in tier 2/3 accounts," he said. ®

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