Imperva Pushes Database Security

Unveils high-end database security device - but do users really need something this big?

October 15, 2005

3 Min Read
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Imperva Inc. has unveiled a new high-end device designed specifically to lock down common database traffic of the sort that was recently blamed for a security breach at the FBI and the White House. (See Imperva Intros SecureSphere and FBI Flap Highlights Security Challenge.)

Imperva this week launched its G16 SecureSphere appliance, which monitors and audits database traffic. This includes traffic to and from a Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) SQL server, as well as Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Sybase Inc.,and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) DB2 databases.

The new appliance is four rack-units high, with a throughput of 2 Gbytes per second. It joins Impervas current offerings in this space: the one rack-unit high G4 and G8 devices, which offer, respectively, throughputs of 500 Mbytes and 1 Gbyte. All these figures are based on Imperva’s own testing and customer feedback. Pricing for the new box starts at $30,000.

Temecula, Calif., pharmaceutical distributor FFF Enterprises is already using a G4 device to secure its critical databases. Are there any plans to check out the new box? “Absolutely, we will,” says Bob Coates, FFF’s vvvice pppresident of tttechnology.

Coates has already deployed a G4 device in front of the database supporting the firm’s Verified Electronic Pedigree (VEP) program, a Web-based system that lets customers check the origins of different drugs. He says that an additional layer of security is critical in his sector, as drug counterfeiting is a major concern in the pharmaceutical industry.Coates confirmed that the G4 has already been called into action, although he refused to go into detail. “The device detected [the external threat] every time,” he says, adding that the gateway identified changes in traffic patterns and then sent an email to the relevant person at FFF.

The market is currently awash with firewall and other perimeter security technologies, although Imperva is one of a number of companies now focusing on securing databases. Startup Guardium Inc. also offers specialist hardware, whereas Lumigent Technologies Inc. has opted for a software-based approach. Security giant Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) is also said to be planning an entry into this market.

Coates would not say which other firms he looked at when he deployed the G4, although he feels there are certain benefits to using specialist hardware. “When you get a box dedicated to security, you’re not stealing cycles from a server that’s doing something else,” he says.

Guardium told NDCF that it is not planning to extend its SQL Guard product line beyond its current 1U form factor, saying that larger appliances give users less flexibility. Prices for the SQL Guard and its accompanying software start at around $25,000.

Lumigent was unavailable to discuss its pricing structures.Coates refused to say exactly how much he spent on his two G4 devices, one of which is used for redundancy, confirming only that “we did OK.”

The exec was somewhat more forthcoming on his database security plans. Coates is already using the G4 to protect the database behind FFF’s new Immune Globulin Treatment Tracker (IMTT), which is due to launch in November. The new service will enable patients to track their immune globulin therapy, medications, and lab results.

“Because it’s associated with patients, we need a really high degree of security and privacy,” says Coates.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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