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.

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McAfee's NS-Series, which start at $165,000, support advanced services such as application awareness, network behavior monitoring and correlation of alerts that can run simultaneously. The top-of-the-line NS9300 reaches 40G bit/sec 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 centers, especially in larger enterprises in the financial services industry. Virtualization is leading to consolidation of data centers 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 40G bit/sec IPS throughput.

"We rate out IPS at 40G bit/sec throughput and NSS Labs actually rated it at 67G bit/sec throughput in May," said Jason Brvenik, vice president of security strategy in Sourcefire's technology research group. Ever-higher throughput is valued "because data centers and carrier networks are getting faster and faster.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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