(Disclaimer: I previously ran product Marketing for Secure Computing and McAfee Network Security so has some bias, though hold NO market positions in any of the companies in this blog)
In Sept of 2008, days before the market collapse, Secure Computing accepted an all-cash offer from McAfee. In November, the deal closed. Many wondered what the future of Sidewinder, one of the oldest, but arguably most secure and revered product in the market. In less than 2 yrs, we now have the answer, with McAfee Firewall Enterprise V8.0. 8.0 is a BIG release, even if it only does some of what was announced. Application and user awareness, ePO integration and more make this a big product.
Next generation firewalls are coming hard and fast into the market, led by the innovative and disruptive Palo Alto Networks. Fortinet and others also have some level of this capability, and you can bet that network players Cisco and Juniper are not far behind.
With 8.0 , McAfee has fired a broad shot across the bow of the firewall market. Sure, lotsa questions remain, everything from performance to IPS on 8.0 and its impact on the OTHER McAfee IPS product line, to can McAfee win the love of the channel. However, this is a shot to be reckoned with. McAfee has a $500M+ Netsec business and wants more.
A bit more on IPS. The market seems to be saying this...1) IPS is part of the Next Gen FW 2) IPS provides compliance level protection 3) We need more innovation for threat prevention (witness the recent SNORT NRG initiative.) Now, I see this convergence as a leaving a wide open space for Next generation threat prevention at the NW level, a product that protects against today's browser based attacks, not the network probes of the past. Who/What will emerge to fill that gap?? That's a post for another time...