Fortinet tweaks mid-range FortiMail appliance

Fortinet Inc. has tweaked one of its messaging security appliances to make it more appealing to application service providers.

The company said Monday that its FortiMail 3000C appliance is a boosted version of the 2000B model, adding a second processor and a fibre optic interface as well as increasing RAM to 16 Gb.

The result is a 20 per cent improvement in throughput for the 3000C, which can route 1.2 million emails an hour with antispam and antivirus turned on, compared to 1 million an hour of the 2000B.

In addition, when MR2 of the FortiMail 4.0 operating system ships shortly, the 3000C will be able to take advantage of a number of security enhancements including increased access control and expanded dictionary policy enforcement.

Although the 3000C can be used by enterprises, “this is really focused at the service provider market,” said Patrick Bedwell, Fortinet’s vice-president of marketing. “it’s really intended to block the suspicious or malicious traffic is flowing through their pipes.”

The 3000C comes with a dual-core Intel Xeon E5504 2.0 GHz central processor. While there are four 10/100/1000 copper ports, service providers are expected to want the two 1 Gbps fibre ports. Like the 2000B, the 3000C can handle up to 5,000 customers.

The only model faster is the chassis-based 5001A, which handles twice that many customers.

The 3000C comes with two hot-swapable 1 TB hard drives and has room for up to four more drives of the same size.

“Service providers like the 2000B,” – which remains in the lineup – said Bedwell, “but were looking for something with more power.”

The 3000C has a list price of US$29,995, an increase over the 2000B, Bedwell said, so the choice depends what the provider’s needs.

The performance improvements are timely, said John Grady, senior research analyst for security products at IDC. “We’re seeing a large demand in the messaging sector for virtual and SaaS (software as a service) security options. They’re really right on point on this.”

New identity-based encryption for business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions and other improvements through the operating system also will be welcomed by customers, he said.

He also feels Fortinet has an advantage over some competitors – which include Cisco Systems Inc., McAfee Inc., Symantec Corp., WatchGuard Technologies Inc. and Barracuda Networks – in abandoning user-based licencing.

The only possible misfire is not having the virtual FortiMail version out yet, he said.

The upgraded operating system has two groups of changes: On the security side, network managers will be able to create access control rules for groups of user mail or IP addresses, while the dictionary of prohibited or watched words will be able to trigger email archiving for regulatory complaince. As before, the dictionary can screen out Canadian social security numbers or other specified data.

For those who want to use the 3000C as a Webmail server, the MR2 release adds a calendar for scheduling events and sending Webmail invites, and improves the ability to search for information, to create user groups and to synchronize address books with LDAP servers.



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