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AEP Readies Accelerated Appliance.

AEP Systems Ltd, a company that started out in 1998 making ASIC chips, moved onto to board manufacture and now builds accelerated Secure Socket Layer (SSL) based security appliances, is readying a super-fast IPSec-equivalent model for launch in September.

The new model will be the latest generation of the company's SureWare A-Gate VPN hardware appliance that provides secure and authenticated access from any Internet browser to specific enterprise applications. It will come as a 19-inch rack-mounted version, with AEP's own accelerator card built in as standard. Performance enhancements planned for the new A-Gate AG-600 model will give it three to four times the handling capacity of the existing AG-50 model, Rob Lane VP of product management told ComputerWire. He said he expected pricing of the unit would be around $10,000.

The Dublin, Ireland-based vendor, which is venture backed by ACT Venture Capital, AIB Equity, Enterprise Ireland, Intel, Island Capital and Mentor Capital, has raised around $20m since 2002. It dipped into some of its reserves last September when it paid Baltimore Technologies Plc some 3m pounds ($4.66m) for its cryptographic hardware business.

As well as the A-Gate line, it manufactures a range of general-purpose PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) products. The SureWare Keyper hardware security module is for protected key storage, high-speed signature and hardware key generation, and the SureWare Runner is acceleration hardware that off-loads compute-intensive cryptographic functions from a server. The products compete in the market with the likes of n-Cipher plc and Rainbow Technologies Inc. It also sells a long-standing VPN encryptor that protects IP traffic across WAN and LAN networks, known as SureWare Net, that is popular in government and federal circles.

The market for SSL-based security appliances is extremely competitive, but AEP feels it can develop price-performance advantages against market-leaders like Neoteris and Aventail because it develops and manufactures its own hardware and software combinations. "We make a truly diskless appliance, with all the software loaded onto our own accelerator card, which offers real price-performance gains" Lane said.

"A first aim is to capture some slice of the OEM market," Lane added, confirming that the company has distribution and value-added reseller agreements with Bell Micro, Technica, Network Solutions and EMJ Data Systems in North America, and Galcorp in Mexico and Latin America.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Jul 10, 2003
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