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Two intrusion prevention system vendors unwrapped high-speed offerings this week, vying for customers at the high end of the IPS market.

Sourcefire Inc., best known for its IDS (intrusion detection system) based on the Snort open-source tool, announced the availability of its IS5800 Series IPS appliances, which can run at line speeds as high as 5G bps. The boxes use custom ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) that can detect and stop attacks on the largest, most complex networks. The appliances can run on up to seven separate processors, and all the vital system components, including disk drives, processors, power supplies and NICs (network interface cards), are hot-swappable.

Sourcefire executives said that enterprises willing to invest in such high-end solutions can’t afford to have their security defenses fail. “These solutions have become vital to the networks of large enterprises,” said Wayne Jackson, CEO of Sourcefire, based in Columbia, Md. “You can’t have component failures bringing the whole thing down. Redundancy and failover are critical.”

The IS5800, which Sourcefire is demonstrating at the RSA Conference here, is priced starting at $89,500.

Sourcefire faces competition for customers seeking high-speed IPS (intrusion prevention system) solutions. 3Com Corp.’s TippingPoint division, in Austin, Texas, unveiled its own 5G-bps solution, the 5000E.

The system is similar in function and capability to most of TippingPoint’s other offerings, with the throughput being the main differentiator.

TippingPoint’s IPSes rely on the company’s Digital Vaccine service for new attack signatures, filters and software updates. Unlike some other IPS solutions, the 5000E and other TippingPoint boxes can recognize and stop a wide variety of attacks and malware, including spyware, worms, DoS (denial of service) floods and attacks against routers, switches and other networking gear.

The 5000E is much more expensive than competitive offerings, with a price of $199,995. It will be available next month.

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