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Cisco Rolls Out First of Its Adaptive Security Appliances

Cisco Systems on Tuesday launched a key component of its Self Defending Network initiative when it delivered the first of its Adaptive Server Appliance 5500 Series family of multi-function network security appliances.

John Chambers, Cisco’s CEO, announced pending availability of the first three devices in the ASA 5500 Series during his keynote speech at Interop in Las Vegas.

The ASA 5500 family combines multiple security technologies – firewall, virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention, and network anti-virus – in a single network device.

They are designed to provide a comprehensive set of VPN services that offer remote access IPSec and SSL VPN capabilities as well as Quality of Service (QoS) enabled site-to-site IPSec services. In addition, they deliver QoS, routing, IPv6, and multicast support, enabling them to be inserted into the network without disrupting traffic and applications, according to a company statement.

Cisco’s Self Defending Network initiative is a multi-year, multi-phase program to proactively tighten network security by giving networks the ability to identify, prevent and adapt to threats. The ASA 5500 Series of products is a key component of phase three, which Cisco refers to as the Adaptive Threat Defense phase. So far the ASA 5500 Series includes the Cisco ASA 5510, Cisco ASA 5520, and Cisco ASA 5540.

The ASA 5000 family aims to capitalize on a burgeoning trend – server consolidation. Putting multiple security functions into a single box helps to lower both IT labor and licensing costs while it simplifies administration and beefs up network resiliency, Cisco says.

“The converged security appliance provides a vast treasure chest of security tools, including network-based worm and virus mitigation, spyware and adware protection, traffic micro-inspection, application firewalling, hacker and intrusion prevention, denial-of-service prevention, access control, on-device security event correlation, and wide-ranging VPN support, including IPSec and SSL,” the company’s statement says.

Starting prices for the ASA 5500 family range from $3,495 for the Cisco ASA 5510, which can handle 300Mbps of network traffic, to $16,995 for the Cisco 5540, which can handle 650Mbps. In the middle, the ASA 5520 can handle 450Mbps and starts at $7,995. All three will be available this month.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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