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Symantec to unveil new security servers

Symantec plans to come out with a new line of server appliances that are aimed at allowing information technology managers to better inoculate their networks from attacks.

Symantec plans to come out with a new line of server appliances next week that are aimed at letting information technology managers better inoculate their networks from attacks.

The Gateway Security 5400 line of firewall appliances can be thought of as Symantec-in-a-box. The servers come pre-bundled with the most commonly deployed security applications--such as intrusion detection software, antivirus applications, antispam software, virtual private networks and firewalls--along with management software for centralized control.

Selling everything in a bundle will cut down on acquisition and installation costs, said Howard Lev, group product manager of appliances at the company. At the same time, network administrators will have to worry less about attacks that combine two or more types of attacks, as did the Sobig.F virus.

"It is the blended attacks you have to worry about," he said.

A few years ago, server appliances--servers configured to perform a few limited tasks well--were supposed to become a major part of the server market. Although much enthusiasm has died down, security and storage appliances have managed to carve out sustainable markets.

Symantec came out with its first line of security appliances in February 2002. The 5400 line essentially attempts to improve many of the older models' management features. The management console on the new models can be viewed through a browser, for instance, rather than through a Microsoft management console.

The five different models in the 5400 line vary by processor (Pentium 4 or Xeon), the number and speed of the Ethernet ports, the size of the server (1U or 2U) and the amount of software purchased, Lev said.

Prices range from about $4,000 to $51,000 and include a year of updates and maintenance. The official announcement will come Monday.