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Juniper's Infranet Gains Control

Juniper Networks new Infranet Controllers are now available, making the promise of the Infranet a reality. The new product release comes nearly a week after Cisco Systems rolled out enhancements to its competing Network Admission Control (NAC) framework.

The "Infranet" is a concept that Juniper has been touting for years as a framework for securing application delivery and services across enterprise networks. Last May, Juniper announced its Infranet plans building on its J.E.D.I (Juniper End Point Defense Initiative). Today, Juniper has made the Infranet a tangible reality with the availability of its Infranet Controller 4000 and 6000 appliances and its associated Infranet Agent.

"In May they {the Infranet controllers} were just icons on a powerpoint slide," Andrew Harding, director of product management at Juniper Networks told internetnews.com.

Harding explained that the availability of the Infranet controllers means that Juniper customers can now deploy access control, unify access control and unify the end point and identity policy in a single appliance.

"I think it's unique in that it's the first policy decision appliance to combine user, identity and end point awareness and a decision that can be communicated to the host and to the network dynamically," Harding said.

The offering competes with Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC) framework, which Juniper's rival announced last week to its NAC framework, including a new version of the Cisco Trust Agent (CTA) version 2.0. The version is a critical endpoint technology in the NAC framework.

Cisco is also jazzing up its competing offer by adding a new agent-less auditing category to the NAC framework. The Cisco NAC framework now includes support for Cisco Catalyst switch and wireless solutions. Cisco's NAC solutions are part of its Self-Defending Network strategy.

Juniper has a long list of partners that are supporting its Infranet initiative including McAfee, Oracle, RSA Security, Surf Control, eEye Digital Security and Internet Security Systems among others. Partner support is key as it allows for third party integration and interoperability with security event management, identity and access management as well as end point security solutions.

Juniper's Infranet initiative is expected to continue to move forward with support for additional security issues introduced next year.

"Use control and threat control with the firewall being the enforcement point is where we are today," Juniper's Harding said. "What I see next in the first half of next is year is intrusion prevention as an added piece of threat control from this very same platform adding support for IDS appliances."