Alcatel-Lucent launches gateway for SOA security

The company has launched an all-in-one network appliance designed to handle authorisation tasks for web services, as well as acceleration and auditing

Alcatel-Lucent on Monday unveiled its latest foray into security with an all-in-one network appliance designed to handle authorisation tasks for web services, as well as acceleration and auditing.

The company is relatively new to the security game, but has big plans for the OmniAccess 8550 Web Services Gateway, which it sees as the core of a future ecosystem of middleware and application partners — none of which, however, have yet signed up.

The device is aimed at companies with complex service-oriented architectures (SOAs) in industries that are facing ever-tougher compliance pressures. It acts as an XML firewall with additional features such as load balancing. It features dedicated SSL and XML acceleration hardware, which is somewhat unusual in a field where most players are moving towards virtualisation and software-based acceleration.

The hardware acceleration is designed to make the gateway usable at the perimeter of companies' networks, something Alcatel-Lucent said traditional firewalls aren't suited for.

The box also includes SOA security features aimed at organisations with tight regulatory controls around compliance, such as encryption of data, stateful policy enforcement of content and identity management.

Alcatel-Lucent has already announced three future versions, which it says will be available to current customers via a software update. The company says these versions will add more security features and the ability to run middleware and applications from future partners. The updates will ship in the next 18 to 24 months, Alcatel-Lucent said.

The company's plans somewhat resemble the enterprise service bus (ESB) appliances offered by competitors such as IBM, but Alcatel-Lucent aims to offer more flexibility by supporting multiple middleware and application vendors.

The device can be run in a company's data centre as well as at the network perimeter. It acts as a secure proxy, inspecting packets and using software such as Microsoft Active Directory to determine whether policies are met. The price of the gateway starts at $125,000 (£61,200).

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