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Fortinet, SonicWall release new enterprise firewalls

New enterprise firewalls from Fortinet and SonicWall offer carrier-class speeds and feeds at a nice price.

Fortinet and Dell SonicWall announced new enterprise firewalls with carrier-class power.

Fortinet's FortiGate 3810D is aimed at large enterprises. It offers 300 Gbps of total throughput with basic firewalling turned out. Although that performance will drop by a factor of nine or 10 with advanced features turned on, Warren Wu, Fortinet's senior director of product marketing, maintained that the firewall will still be "eight to 10 times faster than any other vendor with their full unified threat features turned on."

The Fortigate 3810D also features 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports, interface capacity that is normally only found on chassis-based firewalls. Fortinet is aiming the new firewall at enterprises that are migrating to 100 GbE in the core of their data centers, Wu said, adding that the firewall offers the power of a chassis-based system without the cost and complexity. Fortinet did not disclose the price for the new system.

Most enterprises aren't quite ready for that much bandwidth in their firewalls yet, said Jon Oltsik, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. "I think 100 GbE will come down from the service provider market into the enterprise eventually," he said. In the meantime, enterprises today might use such a high-powered firewall as an aggregation box for trunking a bunch of 10 GbE interfaces, he said.

SonicWall announced the SuperMassive 9800 enterprise firewall, a scaled down version of its carrier-class 10800 firewall. The SuperMassive 9800 has 4 10 GbE ports and 20 1 GbE ports and up to 20 Gbps of throughput with deep packet inspection features turned on. It supports 2.5 million connections per second, versus the 10 million connections supported by its 10800 sibling. SonicWall has previously released three smaller, less powerful models in the SuperMassive 9000 line.

SonicWall was traditionally known for its SMB-focused firewalls and unified threat management appliances until it rolled out the carrier-class SuperMassive firewall line in 2010, shortly before the company was acquired by Dell. The SuperMassive line has found traction in the service provider market, but wider adoption by enterprises has been elusive.

By scaling down its carrier-class platform and offering it at a lower price ($55,000 for the 9800, versus $125,000 for the 10800), SonicWall hopes to break into the broad enterprise security space.

"They have some traction with the high-end box, so [the 9800] makes sense as a brand extension [into enterprises]," Oltsik said.

SonicWall said early customers for the 9800 include Comcast and the Denver Broncos. The vendor also updated its Global Management System (GMS), the management platform for its firewall products. GMS 8.0 has a new workflow automation feature that ties firewall configuration changes to an enterprise's change management policies.

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