Fortinet wheels out Web application firewall

Fortinet's security appliance offloads processing of SSL and XML traffic from Web servers.

Fortinet is announcing a Web-application firewall that offloads processing of SSL and XML traffic from Web servers.

FortiWeb 1000B is intended for midsize businesses, but the company says it plans a more powerful box to support large enterprises and service providers.

The device has a separate processor for XML and SSL, so handling that traffic doesn't slow down the throughput of the box, which the company rates at 500Mbps for HTTP traffic.

The device load-balances traffic among servers and can be deployed in active-passive, high-availability configuration so if the primary device fails, the backup kicks in.

This product competes against Web application firewalls made by Barracuda, Cisco, Citrix, Imperva, Palo Alto and others.

While Fortinet is well known for its unified threat management platforms that perform multiple security functions, this is a stand-alone device based on homegrown technology, the company says. Fortinet's good reputation among UTM customers may help its new application firewall gain acceptance, says Jon Crotty, an analyst with IDC.

"My guess is they're at the point where the customers say 'we'll take a shot at these guys,'" Crotty says. "They have a strong track record on UTM that will have some kind of street credibility when they introduce something new."

Still, non-Fortinet customers may take some convincing, Crotty says. "For them to find new customers, they'll have to invest some money into marketing this," he says.

Fortinet's products are generally priced low compared with competitors, and FortiWeb costs US$7,000 to $10,000 less than comparable competitors' devices, Crotty says.

FortiWeb 1000B costs US$20,000.

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