New Fortinet enterprise firewalls reach 120Gbps


Fortinet Inc. has unwrapped two new enterprise-class firewalls, one of which can power through 120 Gbps of data with optional equipment.

“We are trying to address both the security and performance angles” with the new 3950 series of FortiGate appliances, said Chris Simmons, the company’s director of product strategy.

The first models are the rack-mountable 3950B and 3951B units, which are 3U in height.

Both models offer base 20Gpbs firewall and 2Gbps intrusion protection performance, but the 3950B has five expansion slots for the new FMC-XD2 accelerator card to up firewall and IPSec VPN performance ten times, and the FMC-XG2 card, for boosting intrusion prevention performance.

The XG2 card won’t be available until the third quarter, so the exact amount of improved intrusion prevention performance hasn’t been nailed down yet.

The model 3951B has the same base performance and takes the same cards but also includes a 64Gb sold state hard drive (expandable to 256Gb) for organizations that need to take advantage of the WAN optimization and vulnerability assessment in the appliance’s FortiOS operating system.

The cards can be mixed in each appliance to meet organizations’ needs.

“The ability to add performance to the platform gives the customer protection and keeps the investment they made and not have to make a forklift upgrade to the firewall,” Simmons said.
Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst at IT-Harvest, a Birmingham, Miss., security firm, said enterprises that have converted their internal networks to 10 Gigabit Ethernet will be interested in the 3950 line. Few firewall companies have 10GbE-capable products now, he said, but expect several announcements from manufacturers this year.

The 3950 series becomes Fortinet’s top-of –line enterprise firewall appliance. However, the 3810 series will still stay in the line-up. With the expansion modules, though, the 3900 series offers a significant performance increase – the 3810A tops out at 37 Gpbs with expansion and can handle 2 million concurrent sessions compared to 10 million for its newer siblings..

There are a number of competitors to the base 3900-series models, Simmons said including Cisco System Inc.’s A5530, Juniper Network’s SRX 3400, Check Point Software Technologies’ Power-1 11085 and SonicWall’s SuperMassive firewalls. Fortinet’s advantage, he said, it that it also offers anti-virus, anti-spam, intrusion protection, Web filtering another other optional features.

The 3950 series models each include two 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces as well as four Gigabit and 10/100/1000 links. Each expansion model has two 10GbE links.

The 3950B starts at US$80,000, while the XD2 and XG2 modules will be priced in the US$24,000 range. A “maxed out” 3950B will cost US$250,000.

“Some of our competitors are charging north of US$ 1million for this,” Simmons said.

Offering a modular system lets customers expand as they grow, he also said.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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