Juniper Ups Its VPN Ante

New devices aim to bulk up router vendor's nascent (and much hyped) Enterprise Infranet

August 9, 2005

2 Min Read
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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).Precise details on the Enterprise Infranet are still a bit sketchy. But Juniper has confirmed that a new, as yet unlaunched, "Infranet Controller," based on SSL VPN technology, will form the heart of the initiative. This will link up with the company’s Integrated Security Gateways (ISGs), routers, and other networking devices (see Juniper Slots in More Security ).

Juniper, thanks to its $4 billion acquisition of NetScreen Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NSCN) last year, is a big hitter in the SSL VPN space, so using a core technology to attack Cisco’s dominance in enterprise networking seems sensible.

For its part, Cisco is still adding to its own NAC strategy, although the networking giant does have first-mover advantage, having launched NAC back in 2003 (see Cisco Unveils New Network Solution and Cisco Sets Out Security Strategy).

SSL VPNs are big money right now. A recent study from Synergy Research Group Inc. revealed that the total U.S. network security market grew 7 percent sequentially in the first quarter of 2005 and 19 percent over the same period last year. The biggest growth area was SSL VPNs, with sales up 58 percent (see IT Managers Sweat Security and SRG: Security Market Up 19%).

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum0

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