The fifth generation of the company’s top firewall doubles performance

There are several constants in the IT world: The demand for more CPU power, for more storage and for more firewall throughput.

Fortinet Inc. says the day will soon come when 1 Terabit per second throughput for most networks isn’t that far off, so today it took the wrapper off its top end FortiGate 5144C carrier-grade firewall, a 13U chassis that will handle that amount and more.

INSIDE Fortinet FortiGate 5144C firewall

The performance about doubles that of the company’s 5140B firewall for large enterprises and service providers.

“The number (of organizations) today that need 1 Tbps firewall throughput and 100 GB Ethernet capability now isn’t big,” Tamir Hardoff, Fortinet’s vice-president of marketing admitted in an interview. “But it will grow pretty quickly over the next two to eight quarters … so making this investment now will allow (buyers) to future-proof that investment.”

And it will be an investment: The chassis alone has a list price of US$67,995, with security and networking blades extra.

Blades from the 5140C will fit in the new chassis, which has 14 slots. However, they won’t perform as well as the new blades that are also coming out:

–the 5001D security blade uses Fortinet’s recently released NP6-based ASIC chip to achieve 80 Gpbs throughput with four 40 GbE port. The earlier security blade offered 40 Gbps throughput and had four 10GbE ports;

–the 5903C Ethernet controller networking blade, with four 40GbE ports;

— the 5913C Ethernet controller networking blade, with four 100GbE ports, which will be available in the four quarter.

The new chassis is “a big step forward in meeting the requirements of very high end customers today,” said Hardoff, “and a much broader audience going forward.”

Bladed competitors at this end of the market include Cisco Systems 5585X, Juniper Networks’ 5000 series, Check Point Software Technologies’ 61000 Security System and Palo Alto Networks’ PA-7050.

John Grady, program manger for security products at,market research firm IDC, doesn’t doubt there will be demand for this amount of performance soon. “As you see cloud solutions and data centre resources expanding there’s definitely demand. I think there’s been an uptick in the last 12 months or so with really focused data centre solutions coming out.” He also pointed out in the interview that more data centres are shifting to 40 G and 100 G connections. “This is definitely the way things are trending.”

IDC says that in the market for US$1000,00 + firewalls/unified threat management appliances, Fortinet is fourth in revenue behind Cisco, Check Point and Juniper.

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