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Virtual firewalls get clustered

Virtual fail-over for virtual security on a virtual LAN

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Check Point has added cluster support and more granular controls to its virtual firewall software, memorably named Check Point VPN-1 Power VSX NGX.

Virtual firewalls can now be distributed around a server cluster, with standby firewalls on alternative servers. System administrators can also shift processor power around, taking it from low priority systems and giving to to high priority ones.

"We are seeing a growing market within data centres to have clustered environments so there is no single point of failure," said Check Point security engineer Caroline Ikomi.

"Within the VSX scalability pack, you can allocate virtual systems to specific cluster members based on their performance requirement, and have alternative virtual systems backed up to the same blade as a standby, so making maximum use of resources."

Check Point claimed that the new clustering capability in VSX enables linear growth in performance, plus real-time monitoring of traffic load distribution, and reduced synchronisation traffic.

The program, which costs from $24,000 for 10 virtual system licences, is a version of Check Point's firewall, VPN and anti-intrusion software that runs as a virtual application. The company said that it allows a single physical server to run up to 250 virtual security devices.

This capability is aimed at enterprises who need to protect multiple VLANs, and also at service providers who run individual firewalls for multiple clients, each with its own security policy, Ikomi said.

She added that the ability to prioritise firewalls, so higher priority systems get a greater share of the available CPU resource, is a key feature of the new release.

The firewall software is based on Check Point's own virtual implementation of the application, not on virtual server technology such as VMware or Xen, and is not intended to run on a virtual server, Ikomi said. ®

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