Nortel's Alteon Security Cluster is designed to prevent corporations and carriers from having to send traffic through a string of devices, each of which inspects every packet, said Marie Hattar, director of security solutions at Nortel. Instead, each specialized appliance can provide policy information to an Alteon Web switch. The appliances only have to calculate and upload new policies each time a new session begins.
"You hang all the security capabilities off the side of that Web switch, and it applies all those policies," Hattar said.
With the cluster arrangement, the Web switch will be able to forward traffic at speeds up to 3.2Gbps, Hattar said. Nortel offers two different Web switches, the Alteon 180 series and the Alteon AceDirector series, both of which can be configured with 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet ports.
The cluster is designed for corporate data centres as well as managed hosting facilities operated by service providers. It uses Nortel Application Acceleration Protocol software for appliances to communicate policies to the Web switch, as well as software for managing the cluster as a unit.