Alteon scores with the newest version of its iSD (Integrated Service Director) SSL acceleration product. Offering unmatched management via an integrated system based on Erlang (a programming language designed for developing robust distributed systems), this appliance performs like a champ, with more bang for the buck than the competition. The iSD 2.0 stole the performance category by serving up more than 530 SSL transactions per second. With its certificate-management features, including client-side certificate authentication and certificate-revocation lists, this product could have stopped there and we'd have been pleased with it. Instead, it keeps offering features that push it over the top, to beat F5's Big-IP 200 e-Commerce Controller.
Like the CacheFlow Server Accelerator 725 (SA-725), the iSD 2.0 can send data to back-end Web servers via SSL, a requirement for some industries, rather than only via unencrypted channels. Scalability is not an issue: You can rack iSDs to the sky and front them via a load-balancer for optimal performance of your entire server farm. What's unique about the iSD in this configuration is its management. The iSDs are configured in groups (of as many as four boxes) such that when a unit designated as a master is updated, the configuration of all other units in the group are automatically updated.
Another plus to the iSD 2.0 is its support of Gigabit Ethernet. F5 Networks' Big-IP device is the only other product we tested that supports gigabit speeds. The iSD 2.0 support comes stock, though the gigabit support is copper-based, not fiber. The device's $15,995 price is definitely competitive.
iSD (Integrated Service Director) 2.0 SSL Accelerator, $15,995. Available: Now. Alteon WebSystems (a division of Nortel Networks), (800) 466-7835, (905) 863-0000; fax (905) 863-8408. www.alteonwebsystems.com