Network security vendor Fortinet will today announce five patents on for its virtualisation technology, claiming it can now scale virtual routers and firewalls well beyond the capabilities of competitors Cisco, Juniper and Check Point.
Richard Stiennon, chief marketing officer at the Sunnyvale, California-based appliance vendor, said it already had virtualisation technology built into the FortiOS operating system than runs on its boxes prior to its acquisition of defunct carrier and MSP security developer, CoSine Communications, whose intellectual property it acquired in May 2006.
However, CoSine had some 80 patents pending, including the five announced today, and this technology is what Fortinet believes will help it scale its offering for the potentially huge networks operated by MSSPs and carriers. The company's FortiGate appliances can all operate what it calls Virtual Domains, or VDoms, from 10 on the low-end devices up to 4096 at the top of the range.
With the new patents technology that came to Fortinet with CoSine, however, it can now also boast the ability to manage multiple FortiGates, all of them running quantities of VDoms.
Stiennon said Fortinet's virtualisation capabilities already set it apart from the competition, in that Cisco, for instance, only has the feature in the IOS operating system in its routers.
As such, he went on, a FortiGate appliance may often be used alongside a Cisco box, with the latter enabling traffic flow and bandwidth availability between business units, while the Fortinet device's virtualisation is used by those businesses to segment their part of the network for purposes of enforcing security policy.
Check Point too has virtualisation, but of course that is only on its firewalls, and is a very expensive proposition, according to Stiennon. Juniper spans both the router and firewall worlds and has virtualisation in both its JunOS and ScreenOS operating systems, he acknowledged, "but they have not integrated the IDP technology they got by buying OneSecure into ScreenOS for the firewalls, let alone into JunOS." Fortinet, by contrast, can continue to deliver IDS/IPS and anti-virus in individual VDoms, he claimed.