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Crossbeam Launches New Hardware To Run Multiple Security Apps

Crossbeam Systems is overhauling its X-Series appliances, which run multiple security applications, to offer a wider range of throughput and security application support. Crossbeam offers four new appliances designed for smaller data centers and branch offices, as well as high-end platforms for large data centers. The appliances' traffic inspection speeds range from 5Gb/sec to 150Gb/sec. The emphasis in the new line, which Crossbeam calls a complete refresh of their X-Series, is on more flexible options and increased throughput on the high-end chassis.

Crossbeam lets enterprises run a single security application, such as a firewall, on multiple blades for high-performance consolidation. Customers can also run a mix of applications on a single appliance. Security partners whose applications have been integrated into Crossbeam include Checkpoint, IBM, Imperva, Sophos, Sourcefire, Trend Micro and Websense. Each Crossbeam chassis runs a network in a box. In addition to the application platform modules, each X-Series appliance includes modules that provide the switching fabric, physical interfaces, load balancing and routing. The control processing module handles the management of the box.

Available in December, the four new chassis include the four-slot X20, which is pre-configured for one security application and adaptable to run two applications with a 5Gb total throughput capacity. The X30 is a four-slot chassis with 10Gb throughput. For higher-end needs, Crossbeam offers the X60, which has seven slots configurable for as many as five applications and scales to inspect traffic at speeds of up to 80Gb/sec. The X80 has 14 slots that can accommodate up to 10 applications and can inspect  traffic at speeds of up to 150Gb/sec.

The X20 and X30 can be upgraded to an X60 by using an upgrade kit sent to the customer, or, alternatively, the appliance can be sent to Crossbeam for upgrade. The company says this gives organizations a relatively easy upgrade path as their performance and application requirements grow.

Crossbeam's approach appeals to organizations that face dramatic increases in traffic brought about by applications such as video, which is becoming increasingly important as a business tool, according to Chris Christiansen, program vice president for IDC's security products and services group. "When a customer decides they want to manage new protocols, new applications, new devices, new traffic," he says, "they want to add capabilities to existing appliances without having to do serious hardware upgrades."

More than half Crossbeam's business is in the enterprise market, with carriers and service providers making up the balance. Two years ago, almost all customers were running single applications on Crossbeam platforms, according to the company. Now, about a third of them run multiple apps on a single chassis. "Organizations are more comfortable running multiple applications on one platform," says Christiansen. "They now see lower barriers to adding new applications to their infrastructure, especially in common use cases, such as running firewall and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) beside each other."

"The emphasis is on consolidation with headroom for additional rapid growth in data and additional applications, so each new security threat doesn't require another box," says Christiansen. "It's a reflection of the market's requirements." It makes sense to manage new applications and policy "from a single pane of glass" without adding infrastructure or management staff.

Pricing for new appliances varies according to configuration. Pricing starts as follows: the X20 starts at $50,000 and the X30 starts at $60,000. The X60 starts at $100,000, and the X80-S starts at $115,000. The new appliances will replace Crossbeam's current devices in the X-Series line, the seven-blade X45 and 14-blade X80.