November 13, 2012, 9:16 PM — LAS VEGAS -- Palo Alto Networks Tuesday unveiled the first virtualized version of its next-generation firewall, server-based software intended to run on the VMware platform to allow security managers to set up firewall application-layer controls in virtual machines (VM).
The company's new VM-Series software is intended to overcome the limitation that physical firewall appliances face in virtualized environments in that they don't fit directly between VM-to-VM intra-host traffic flows, says Chris King, director of product marketing.
Palo Alto's entry into virtualization heightens competition in the next-generation firewall market vs. the likes of Sourcefire and Check Point. Next-gen firewalls go beyond traditional port-based firewalls to allow for setting up application-layer controls related to users and machine-to-machine processing.
While Palo Alto this week is entering the virtualized firewall market, it is not abandoning the business of selling physical application-layer firewalls, something it has done since starting up in 2005. The company this week is also introducing an updated physical appliance line called the PA-3000 Series, starting at $14,000. It consists of two next-gen firewalls, the PA-3020 and PA-3050, which respectively deliver 2Gbps and 4Gbps of application-identification throughput.
All of Palo Alto's new products are based on an updated operating system, PAN-OS 5.0. There's also a new M-100 management appliance intended to support all of its firewall line.
But the star of the show -- and a topic of curiosity -- at the company's conference with its customers this week is going to be the virtualized VM-Series versions, which start at $2,700.
The Palo Alto VM-series next-generation firewall for virtualized workloads will require that IT managers pay attention to capacity planning, King says. The virtualized firewall itself is a VM-based security component that will need to be carefully measured in terms of utilization based on factors such as what workloads are permitted to talk to each other.