“Think of [traditional firewall technology] as an airport line,” said Dmitriy Ayrapetov, director of product management for SonicWALL, during a conversation at the Interop (News - Alert) 2012 show in May. “You have 100 bags with you, and they only check your boarding pass and passport. That’s the state of firewalls.”
SonicWALL and other firewall providers are pushing so-called next-generation firewall technology that is application aware and does threat prevention. The defining characteristic of a next-generation firewall is its ability to identify and control traffic at the application layer. This is like not only checking passport and boarding pass, but also going through each bag brought on the plane.
“Now we’re also going through all your bags — is this dangerous, is this allowed, how much of this is allowed,” Ayrapetov explained. “So that is the analogy to deep-packet inspection that is done by next-generation firewalls. They really help to rebuild the secure perimeter that has been eroded over the past five years by web applications.”
Right now the firewall market is hot as customers and vendors consider these next-generation firewalls, but still there is some lingering concern about performance. Ayrapetov said he hopes the industry can move beyond this discussion.
“We want to make deep-packet inspection security synonymous with security — to become ubiquitous,” he said. “Today, nobody pauses to think about whether they should have [traditional] packet inspection from a performance standpoint. It is just a non-factor. We want to do the same exact thing for deep-packet inspection.”
“I think we will have a very good chance to do that under the Dell umbrella,” he noted. “We bring technology to the table, Dell brings tremendous market reach, tremendous channel reach, tremendously large sales force, and just the two coming together.”
“We expect SonicWALL's mature technology and their unique channel partner ecosystem to integrate very well with Dell's software and networking vision, while SonicWALL’s investment in enterprise technology may well become a disruptor in that market,” said Scott Crawford, research director for industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates, in an announcement about the acquisition.
“We were one of the three vendors to receive the NSS [Labs] Recommended badge this year [for next-generation firewalls],” Ayrapetov added. “But of the three vendors, we had the fastest and the most secure next-generation firewall. So we now can have the fast, largest product that will go to data centers, campus networks, carrier networks, while providing the same level of technology and security down to the branch offices. If you’re in SMB, you can have this technology, and if you are a very large enterprise you can have this technology as well.”
And this may just be enough to get the airport checking every bag that goes on the plane. So to speak.
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