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Sun and Checkpoint team to launch server appliance

Sun Microsystems and Check Point Software Technologies have jointly released Sun's LX50 server appliance, which will come preloaded with Check Point's VPN and firewall software.

Sun's Linux-based x86 rack-mountable LX50 server delivers 2Gbps of firewall throughput and up to 640Mbps on the virtual private network (VPN) side of throughput.

The exisiting market for such server appliances is available in two ways, either VPN and firewall software sold separately and then loaded onto the appliance or appliances that are sold with the software preloaded.

Competitors include networking giant Cisco Systems, Nokia and NetScreen Technologies. Sun said it is targeting a specific market with its release.

"It meets the needs of the high-end enterprise market and the remote office [space] as well," said Sanjay Sharma, market segment manager for security at Sun Microsystems. The standalone appliance would sit behind a router and connect to the Internet.

The software that comes pre-embedded into the appliance is its "standard Linux-based software", said Arun Gowda, business development manager at Check Point. The companies also announced that the latest deal is a "re-engagement by the companies" building on their long-standing business relationship.

According to numbers provided by IDC, the worldwide appliance market is expected to grow by 20% next year. On the surface, it is a deal that should see both companies prosper.

"It extends Check Point's ability to offer its software to many different channels and it gives Sun a much better play to offer security to its customers," said Charles Kolodgy, research manager at IDC.

"The branch-to-branch VPN market is really starting to take off," said Mark Bouchard, senior program director at the Meta Group. The primary reasons for the sudden growth in this market segment are related to cheaper broadband Internet services and some sticky management issues that have been resolved, he added.

Pricing for the LX50 VPN/firewall server appliance ranges in hardware costs from $3,300 (£2,079) to approximately $5,700 (£3,591).

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