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Juniper Ups Its VPN Ante

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) seems to have taken the first step in its nascent Enterprise Infranet initiative with the launch of new Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private network appliances today (see Juniper Intros SSL VPN Hardware).

The new Secure Access (SA) devices range from the entry-level 700, which is aimed at small to medium-sized businesses, up to the high-end 6000 for large enterprises. The company also unveiled the SA 4000 and SA 2000 devices for smaller enterprises and medium-sized firms.

Most of the new gear fleshes out the size increments of Junipers existing SSL VPN offerings. However, the 6000 comes with something new -- namely, dual, redundant, hot-swappable disks and data mirroring, which may clarify the firm’s long-term plans.

“This could well be the hardware platform for their next-generation controllers,” says Joel Conover, principal analyst at Current Analysis. He says the 6000’s dual hard drives, data mirroring, and multiple Ethernet ports offer the high availability needed from a controller. “This looks to be some fairly new hardware with better high-availability features."

Specifically, the 6000 could be the first volley in Juniper's Enterprise Infranet campaign, an ambitious plan to tackle Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in the enterprise security space (see Juniper Intros Enterprise Infranet). The scheme, although in its early stages, is seen as a clear shot at Cisco’s Network Admission Control (NAC) strategy to enforce security policy compliance across different devices (see Juniper Infranets the Enterprise).

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