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Fortinet Ships Faster, More Energy-Efficient Firewall Processor

FortiSP5, the vendor’s latest custom application-specific integrated circuit, will power a forthcoming wave of entry and mid-range FortiGate firewalls due to reach market later this year. By Rich Freeman

Fortinet has unveiled its latest custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

Called FortiSP5, the performance-boosting, energy efficient 7nm processor will power a forthcoming wave of entry and mid-range FortiGate firewalls due to reach market later this year.

“With the introduction of FortiSP5, Fortinet once again sets new industry records for performance, cost, and energy efficiency,” said Ken Xie, Fortinet’s founder, chairman, and CEO, in prepared remarks. “As the only cybersecurity vendor leveraging purpose-built ASICs, an over 20-year investment in innovation, Fortinet delivers the secure computing power that will support the next generation of secure infrastructure.”

According to Fortinet, FortiSP5 consumes 88% less power than leading industry-standard CPUs and delivers better performance per watt and price-performance.

The new chip also delivers 17x faster firewall performance than comparable alternatives, according to Fortinet’s “Security Compute Rating,” a benchmark that compares Fortinet firewalls containing custom ASICs with products from other manufacturers in the same price range running on general-purpose CPUs. 

The same benchmark credits FortiSP5 with 3.5x better threat protection performance than competing systems and 32x better encryption performance.

Those performance gains will enable FortiSP5-based firewalls to run twice as many concurrent applications as earlier models, Fortinet says, making them a fit for software-defined branch, edge computing, 5G and operational technology (OT) use cases.

“Enterprise applications and the users and devices that access them are more distributed than ever, which is causing organizations to rethink their edge network and security architectures,” said Brandon Butler, research manager for enterprise networks at IDC, in a media statement. “A key to enabling enterprise edge networking is having strong security without compromising on network performance and user experience. Fortinet has a 20-year history in ASIC technology that helps achieve these goals, and the company’s newest FortiSP5 continues that legacy. Fortinet’s portfolio of converged network and security solutions with custom chips helps enterprises accelerate their edge network and security transformation.”

Other features in the new ASIC include secure boot technology designed to allow only approved OS software to run, volumetric DDoS protection to protect against distributed denial-of-service attacks, and VXLAN/GRE hardware-accelerated encapsulation, to enable secure interconnectivity for distributed networks.

Fortinet introduced three new SOC augmentation services last week. A cloud-native firewall service for Amazon Web Services workloads debuted last November, while a cloud-native protection solution for AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform shipped last July.

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