Juniper Networks acquired super-hot security appliance vendor Netscreen in 2004. At the time, Netscreen’s products were ASIC-based. But as of the 2006 release of its SSG product line, Juniper has come in line with what is pretty much the standard appliance vendor technical strategy. It builds its boxes from standard parts, with the exception of some unusual but still off-the-shelf networking accelerators (most notably an IPsec and encryption accelerator chip from Cavium). It has its own OS, with unneeded services left out both for performance and security. One cool point – Juniper’s security products and routers run in some cases on literally identical hardware, despite having different operating systems, let alone “application” software. The customer can, for example, keep one set of spares for both classes of product.
Juniper is pushing an “integrated” security product that, like most such offerings, sounds pretty cobbled-together. Still, they’re trying. And what’s really interesting is their point that networking and security can most cost-effectively be deployed in the same box. While this may not be a compelling story at the high end, for reasons I mention in my post on Crossbeam, it sure should have a lot of appeal for branch office deployments, and even for central offices of less-than-utterly-paranoid organizations.