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Force10 Buys MetaNetworks

It's a combination of speed and safety that might make Detroit envious.Force10 Networks Inc. today bought security specialist MetaNetworks Inc. for an undisclosed fee, with the aim of plugging the 10-Gbit/s security gap. (See Force10 Buys MetaNetworks.)

Suppliers have been trumpeting 10-Gbit/s Ethernet as an ideal way to link systems and storage in consolidated data centers. (See High-Speed Links Head for Mainstream.) But, with all this additional bandwidth come security risks. It makes sense to use the 10-Gbit/s ports that come in and out of the data center to add security,” explains Andrew Feldman, vice president of marketing at Force 10.

MetaNetworks, which builds specialist 10-Gbit/s intrusion prevention and detection appliances, aims to solve the problem. The startup’s flagship product, the MTP-10G, can apply up to 1,500 security policies to each packet, all at wire speed. According to MetaNetworks, the MTP-10G can also capture up to 1 million packets per second.

Initial user reaction to the deal has been positive. A researcher at Oak Ridge National Lab, who asked not to be named, told Byte and Switch that the deal makes sense on a number of levels. “Potentially, it’s very interesting,” he says. “MetaNetworks is a company with a really neat idea that simply needs money.”

As an existing Force10 customer, the Oak Ridge source admits that the combination of 10-Gbit/s wire speed switches and security is an attractive one. “We operate under pretty stringent intrusion detection requirements,” he explains, adding that the ideal scenario would be for Force10 to turn the MetaNetworks’ appliance into a blade. In that form, security could be easily deployed within Force10 switch/routers, such as the high-end Terascale E-Series, without crowding the lab's other hardware.

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