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Nokia readies active IP clustering for firewalls

Nokia is planning to improve the availability of its firewall and VPN (virtual private network) appliance servers running CheckPoint's Firewall-1 and VPN-1 software.

The aim is to let businesses group up to four of the company's appliances. According to Nokia, if one fails, the others will pick up its work without dropping active sessions.

Jeff Ratzlaff, director of marketing, Nokia Internet Communications Asia-Pacific, said high availability has been a feature of Nokia hardware for several years. However, the failover to a backup appliance only occurred if the live applicance failed. He said Nokia's secure operating system IPSO, has now been revised so that the failover occurs seamlessly without dropping any active network sessions.

The patented IP clustering technology allows up to four devices to act as a single network entity, sharing one internal IP address and one external IP address. It distributes packet processing among the four appliances and redistributes it to the remaining boxes in the event a system fails or is removed for maintenance. According to Nokia a users' network sessions is able to continue without interruption.

"With IP clustering each device in the cluster is active and aware of the connection. If one is to fail, the other continues processing very quickly," Ratzlaff said.

The new version of the operating system, IPSO 3.6, is currently undergoing beta testing. It is expected to ship later this quarter and will be available as a free download to users who have a software subscription. It will also ship as standard with new boxes later in the year.

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