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Juniper Starts a New Family

Sometimes having only one box to handle both routing and security is better than two, or at least that's the contention of Juniper Networks.

Juniper Networks, which today is celebrating 10 years of existence, is adding a new member to its product family: an integrated secure services gateway appliance that combines enterprise-grade routing, WAN access, firewall, VPN, intrusion prevention, antivirus and anti-spam into a single box.

The new Juniper Secure Services Gateway (SSG) 500 Series appliances take aim at a market segment that could be worth as much as $4 billion according to Juniper. The new products are also squarely aimed at taking share from Cisco Systems.

Chris Spain, senior director of product management at Juniper, explained that the SSG 500 series is not made of routers with security bolted on.

"It's a security platform that very tightly integrates Juniper's networking, firewall, VPN and IPS and then technology from best-in-class partners for filtering antivirus and anti-spam," Spain said.

The new appliances also boast "drastically improved" performance over what Spain classified as their logical predecessors from a routing point of view.

SSG 500 is intended for branch office deployment, which is where Spain noted that Juniper sees increasing numbers of employees residing.

Security and routing responsibilities are not always the same and hence the SSG 500 series includes role-based administration, which provides permission-based control of the appliance's features.

IPsec is the VPN connection technology that is currently deployed on the SSG 500 series.

Juniper's well-regarded SSL-VPN technology is not part of the solution.

Spain noted that SSL-VPN is typically a remote-access technology that would be utilized in a headquarter location. IPsec is more of a branch-to-headquarters connection, which is what the SSG 500 series is all about.

Spain explained that today most enterprises will need to deploy multiple appliances in order to meet their routing and security needs. A case in point that he raised was Juniper's competitor, Cisco Systems and its ASA 5520/5540 and ISR 2851/3845.

Both the ASA and the ISRs, Spain argued, would be required in tandem to perform the same routing and security feature that Juniper's new SSG-500 series provides.

Cisco spokesperson Amy Hughes told internetnews.com that Cisco doesn't comment specifically on competitive announcements. That said, Cisco does believe that its solution is meeting customer needs admirably.

According to Hughes, Cisco's ASA 5500 and integrated services router families provides customers with a wide array of choices depending on their requirements.

"Therefore, customers do not have to deploy a solution from each family in order to receive a very rich set of capabilities," Hughes explained. "For example, the Cisco ASA 5500 Series provides the richest suite of security services including Firewall, a full implementation of IPS services as well as VPN services."

"No other solution can address the broad requirements of an integrated solution that would require numerous devices from any other vendor," Hughes commented.

Juniper's Spain however contends that the Juniper SSG 500 series offers higher performance and more security integration than Cisco and at a cheaper price to boot. As is typical in the industry, Juniper has ongoing competitive upgrade programs in place targeting users to migrate.

The opportunity as a whole presented by an integrated security router device is not insignificant.

"You take the union of those markets being the access router market, the security router market and the low-end, mid-range firewall and that's about $4 billion of opportunity that we can chase with this product," Spain said. "In the past we only had the security appliance to chase this market."