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November 17, 2005

ConSentry plans to bundle tech with Cisco’s switch rivals

US start-up ConSentry Networks Inc will announce deals with one or two switching vendors that compete with Cisco Systems Inc to bundle its ID-based security enforcement technology onto their boxes "within the next couple of months."

By CBR Staff Writer

The rationale, according to its VP of marketing, Faizel Lakhani, is that this will enable the so-called Seven Dwarfs that share the 20% of the switching market not served by Cisco to compete with the Cisco Self-Defending Network technology.

Cisco’s been creating a lot of awareness of Self-Defending Network here in the States, said Lakhani, citing a recent episode of the TV drama 24, which had a reference to the Cisco technology written into the script. Its switching competitors feel the draft it’s created and know they need to develop something to compete, he said.

Milpitas, California-based ConSentry launched its offering, consisting of a full enterprise and an entry-level product, in September. They are the CS-2400 (10GbE; 20 ports of connectivity plus four for redirecting suspect traffic; support for around 1,000 users), and the CS-1000 (2GbE; eight ports of connectivity and two for redirect; support for up to 200 users), with all ports dual-personality SFPs for copper or fiber.

The CS-2400 has a list price of around $40,000, the CS-1000 $20,000, with variations on each depending on how many ports are configured for copper or fiber.

After early contract wins at Continental Airlines and the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the company is now touting its recent success in Europe, where the Radianz division of UK incumbent BT Group, which provides secure connectivity to the financial community, has opted for the ConSentry technology, even though BT is a major Cisco house and Radianz itself has committed to deploying Cisco’s Application-Oriented Networking (AON) technology.

Other IT heavyweights such as Microsoft, IBM, Sun and Oracle have their own offerings in ID-based access management, while Cisco’s largest competitor in routing, Juniper, spent $122m earlier this week to acquire Radius server vendor Funk Software, precisely so that they can now compete with their own identity store, argued Lakhani.

ConSentry’s strategy, therefore, is to offer its technology, which integrates with any ID store, to the smaller switch vendors, saving them both the time and money required to invest in internal development of an offering. It is confident of closing at least a couple of deals within a couple of months, according to Lakhani.

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