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Review: Juniper Networks' NetScreen ISG 2000

Juniper Networks recently launched its NetScreen-ISG (Integrated Security Gateway) 2000, the company's first firewall appliance to use its fourth-generation ASIC technology. I tested a beta version of the device at the Neohapsis lab, and kicked the tires of both an early build of the ScreenOS Web interface and the latest NetScreen Security Manager (NSM) management suite. Juniper, which acquired NetScreen in April, has a few overall integration challenges ahead, but I liked what I saw.

The ISG 2000 is a 4u beast, weighing about 60 pounds. Under the hood are Juniper's fourth-generation ASICs, dual power supplies, and four expansion bays for future "blades"--including an IDP (intrusion-prevention platform) blade. Each security module is powered by an additional pair of 1-GHz Power PCs and 2 GB of RAM--the ISG design team clearly had horsepower in mind.

All in One?

Juniper is touting the ISG 2000 as its first purpose-built platform to combine a firewall, VPN and intrusion prevention. Juniper's firewall devices have been playing VPN and firewall roles for years, but I've been waiting for a unit that includes some of NetScreen's acquisitions--such as the OneSecure IDP and the Neoteris SSL VPN platform. There's much industry buzz about inline network intrusion prevention, and Juniper is one of the few companies positioned to put the technology where it belongs: in access-control devices, such as firewalls.

Unfortunately, though the ISG is supposed to deliver this integrated platform, the modular blade for IDP isn't here yet, and Juniper wouldn't comment on its SSL VPN plans.

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