Check Point comes to flexible network platform

Network security from Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. later this year will become available on a fast, low-cost hardware platform from Bivio Networks Inc., Bivio announced Monday.

With the Bivio 1000-CP, enterprises and service providers will be able to deploy Check Point’s FireWall-1 software with a device that has a list price of US$35,000, can provide firewall processing at 2Gbps (bits per second) and fits in a standard rack space 2U (3.5 inches or 8.9 centimetres) high. In the future, they will be able to put Check Point’s VPN-1 on the same box, according to Bivio director of marketing Nate Walker.

The system is based on the Bivio 1000, a Linux-based platform built around standard PC hardware components that is capable of doing the work of multiple network appliances. A Bivio-designed technology called eXpressLANE, a combination of hardware and software, allows the system to run packet-processing applications such as FireWall-1 at high speed.

Bivio’s first implementation of that platform, announced just last week, comes with a bundle of applications including server load balancing and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection. With that device, called the Bivio 1000-AX, customers also can add other applications by themselves. Because of the terms of Bivio’s partnership with Check Point, that can’t be done at this time with the 1000-CP, Walker said.

Check Point’s software already is available on several high-speed hardware platforms, including a Nokia Corp. security appliance. Bivio will offer that capability at a lower price than other platforms, while still offering high speed, according to Walker.

The 1000-CP is designed for data centre service providers’ hosting facilities, network access providers’ points of presence and large carrier customers’ own premises. A single 1000-CP is intended to perform security functions for “tens of customers,” Walker said. In addition to doing firewall duty at 2Gbps, the device later will be able to operate VPNs (virtual private networks), supporting as many as 40,000 IPSec (IP Security) tunnels simultaneously and processing packets secured with 3DES (Triple Data Encryption Standard) at 600M bps.

Multiple 1000-CPs can be linked to provide even higher processing power. All the linked devices will appear to an administrator as one device, with the workload balanced across the boxes, Walker said.

Bivio’s partnership with Check Point may pay off for the Pleasanton, Calif., start up, according to Neil Osipuk, an analyst at Infonetics Research Inc., in San Jose, Calif. For new players to break in to service-provider networks, they need partnerships with established vendors, Osipuk said.

The relatively low cost of the 1000-CP might convince even incumbent service providers to invest in the 1000-CP, Osipuk said.

“Coming in at this price point is very attractive,” he said.

The Bivio 1000-CP will become available in the third quarter of this year with FireWall-1 functionality. VPN-1 capability will follow at an undisclosed later date.

The Bivio 1000-AX will begin shipping in July at a list price of $45,000.