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Riverbed And McAfee Harden WAN Optimization

One of the benefits of WAN Optimization is the ability to consolidate server resources currently located in remote offices back into a central data center. By reducing the hardware requirements in remote offices, you might be able to lessen capital expenses and will certainly reduce operational expenses such as power, cooling and management. Further savings can be had using broadband Internet connections and a VPN to interconnect remote offices. Making that just a little easier, Riverbed and McAfee are partnering to offer McAfee's Firewall Enterprise on Riverbed's Steelhead platforms, removing the additional firewall appliance in the branch and providing a robust firewall and VPN security system.

McAfee Firewall Enterprise will run on Riverbed's Services Platform (RSP), a hypervisor running on the Steelhead. Firewall Enterprise is targeted at the smaller and medium-sized Steelheads with the Steelhead 250 and 550 pricing starting at $3495, supporting up to 4Mbs to the mid-sizes1050 and 2050, which starts at $14,000 and supports up to 45Mbps. The license is perpetual and includes one year of support from McAfee. Subsequent support is roughly 20 percent of the price, which is typical for support pricing.

The Firewall Enterprise only performs firewalling including application proxy and stateful packet filtering, VPN, web filtering, and anti-spam. Other security features like anti-virus and intrusion detection and prevention are too resource intensive to be supported on the RSP. The software does support software updates found on the Firewall Enterprise.

To make use of the VPN capabilities in a hub and spoke design where a central office is the hub for many remote offices, McAfee is recommending that the central location use a Firewall Enterprise appliance to handle the traffic and VPN load as the Steelhead. The combination of the Firewall Enterprise on the Steelhead means you can set-up your remote office networking so that only traffic destined for internal servers are sent of the VPN to the central office. All other internet traffic can go directly to the Internet. If you are already a Firewall Enterprise customer, this makes sense.

If you are currently back-hauling your Internet traffic to the central office, you can take that load off the VPN and still maintain a good security stance. Riverbed's RSP can also run Checkpoint's firewall and Websense for URL and content filtering, but that burns two of the five available virtual machine slots on the Steelhead.