McAfee taps Intel to offer high-throughput intrusion-prevention system

McAfee is taking advantage of its new owners by rolling out a high-throughput intrusion-prevention system (IPS) family built on Intel technology.

The Intel-based NS-Series comes in three models: the 2U-sized 9100 and 9200 models and the 9300, which is a 4U device. Intel bought McAfee for nearly $8 billion in 2010 and this is the first family of products that incorporate Intel’s technology.

McAfee’s NS-Series, which start at $165,000, support advanced services such as application awareness, network behaviour monitoring and correlation of alerts that can run simultaneously. The top-of-the-line NS9300 reaches 40 Gbps target throughput in performance, Nat Smith, senior product marketing manager at McAfee says.

There’s competitive pressure to push IPS throughput ever higher in the “drag races of various IPS vendors,” Smith says.

Vinay Anand, vice president of product development at McAfee, said the higher-speed IPS appliances are typically deployed in data centres, especially in larger enterprises in the financial services industry. Virtualisation is leading to consolidation of data centres where “the pipes are becoming bigger, and there’s more bandwidth,” he said.

Some competitors in the IPS speed race, including Sourcefire, say they match McAfee’s 40 Gbps IPS throughput.

“We rate our IPS at 40 Gbps throughput and NSS Labs actually rated it at 67 Gbps throughput in May,” said Jason Brvenik, vice president of security strategy in Sourcefire’s technology research group. Ever-higher throughput is valued “because data centres and carrier networks are getting faster and faster.

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