Perle Brings VPN Support to 594 Series

Looking to provide security and cost-effectiveness for its e-business customers, Perle Systems (Toronto) announces plans to provide VPN (Virtual Private Network) support to its 594 series of network controllers. The Perle 594 family—which includes the Perle 594e and 594T product lines—is a branch office connectivity solution compatible with the IBM 5494 controller, allowing customers to run SNA across an IP network.

"VPN delivers the security technology needed by our enterprise customers to confidently deploy e-business applications via the Internet or IP-based private networks," says Joe Perle, president of Perle Systems. "Perle has always been in the business of providing its AS/400 users with more functionality than they can get from any other AS/400 connectivity solution."

According to David Nguyen, Perle's worldwide midrange product manager, one of the biggest advantages of VPN functionality is in decreasing networking costs. "It will be up to 50 percent cheaper than Frame Relay or leased lines, which was the normal way of doing things," he says. Other advantages include: integration into 594 platform with fewer devices to manage and fewer points of failure; leveraging the full IP capability of 594; Layer 3 IPSec implementation providing gateway security for Twinax and LAN traffic; providing branch offices a secure end-to-end solution for communicating across the Internet through one integrated platform; and paving the way to extend corporate intranet to extranets.

Although VPN became a security standard for the Internet only a few months ago, Nguyen feels it will be a force to be reckoned with, especially on the AS/400. "VPN is being touted by IBM as the wave of the future," he says. "We're adding value to the AS/400, which is positioned as the e-business platform for the future."

The VPN capabilities, which will be an option for the 594, will be rolled out in various stages. The first stage is planned for release by the end of the year and will provide full PPP support for all 594e and 594T units with serial numbers of 59-08000 or higher. Slated for release in early 2000, the second stage will add support to IPSec to the Perle 594 platform.

Customers will have the choice of two VPN packages, both of which will be based on IPSec. The VPN Package will be available for both 594 units and will include full VPN functionality along with IP support. The Enhanced Networking Plus Package will only be available for the 594e, and will include the same features as the VPN Package along with proxy boot server capability.

Perle customers with serial numbers of 59-08000 or higher on both the 594e and 594T can purchase the VPN functionality without purchasing a new 594.

-- J. Martin