Fortinet Inc. has added another security blade for its top of the line 5000-series chassis firewall for large enterprises and service providers, one that offers more performance at a lower price than its biggest blade.

The company said this week the 5001C blade becomes the middle of the three security blades and comes with 128 GB of memory – twice as much as the other two blades in the lineup – with faster network and content processors than the less expensive 5001B.

The new US$69,998 blade “hits the sweet spot for people that are looking at the nex-gen firewall function for application control and IPS (intrusion protection),” says Kevin Flynn, Fortinet’s senior manager of product marketing.

In particular, the 5001C offers improved firewall throughput for small packets, which are usually pushed by smart phones and tablets, he said. Processing a lot of small packets is hard on a firewall’s processor, Flynn said, which is why the 5001C offers Fortinet’s NP4 network processor and CP8 content processor . The 5001B has the NP3 and CP7 processors.

As a result, the 5001C blade offers 9.8 Gbps firewall throughput, compared to 7.8 Gbps for the 5001B. The 5001C also has faster antivirus and SSL-VPN throughput.

The 5000-series comes in three chassis (with two, six or 14 slots, in an ATCA architecture with enables hot swappable components.

Each chassis takes networking and security blades. Leveraging the FortiOS operating system and virtualization, the security blades can offer up to 5,000 virtual domains. As a result enterprises can divide them up for corporate groups, while service providers can carve them up for different customers.

Each 5001C blade has two 10 GbE SFP+ interfaces, plus two 1GE ports. The back plane has two 1 Gbps base backplane interfaces, and two 40 Gbps fabric backplane interfaces.

Like the other blades, the 5001C supports 64,000 IPSec VPN tunnels or a maximum 20,000 concurrent SSL-VPN users.

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