Nortel Networks Alteon 410

The unit is built into a standard 1U rack-mount chassis, with a serial port and two 10/100/ 1000Base-TX ports. An additional 1000Base-SX port is available as an optional extra. Installation was straightforward and fully covered in the documentation. Initial set-up used a command line interface via a serial port.

The rest of the set up can be done using a browser-based GUI, which can be enabled as part of the configuration process. It requires a browser that supports frames and has JavaScript enabled, so any of the well-known browsers will be adequate. The interface link can be configured to use either standard http or SSL as required, which depends on the level of security required by a site's security policy. It provides a well-designed interface with comprehensive command and control facilities, as well as access to user administration and

diagnostic and maintenance procedures. Both the graphical and command line interfaces are password protected.

Documentation is comprehensive, but is supplied on CD-Rom only, with a web browser interface. This is not always as convenient as printed material when there are references between documents. Despite this we managed to follow the procedure and eventually configured the device for SSL acceleration.

The unit uses three types of virtual server, http, Socks and Portal, supporting a maximum of 256 of them in any combination.

The Quick Server Setup Wizard software provides a convenient way to configure these virtual servers, suggesting reasonable default values for most parameters. The wizard also handles the process of obtaining and adding certificates.

Each virtual SSL server has an individual IP address and port number to be used by external clients. It also has the IP address and port number of the real server, which handles the clear traffic. The unit provides comprehensive support for managing certificates and keys, including importing private keys from a variety of sources, such as Apache, webLogic and Microsoft Internet Information Services.

It offers comprehensive server load balancing features and encryption to back-end servers if needed. The units can operate as part of a cluster, with up to 256 units to provide extra processing capacity (the vendor claims this number of units can process over half a million transactions per second).

SSL acceleration can be provided for many other server applications besides web servers. 

Product title
Nortel Networks Alteon 410
Product info
Name: Nortel Networks Alteon 410 (SSL Accelerator group test) Description: Price: $24,995-$25,995
It has reasonable scalability with plenty of capacity if needed in a well-built and easy to use package.
There is no printed documentation, and the configuration process can be confusing in places. 
The performance figures are uninspiring, but its scalability and flexibility make it worth consideration.

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