Untangle Platform Ties Apps Together for Network Virtualization

Untangle launched Tuesday an open source network gateway platform to stop spam, spyware and virus attacks for small and medium-sized businesses.

The Untangle Gateway Platform is based on technology that virtualizes the network stream. It is built around more than 30 best-of-breed, open source projects — including SpamAssasin, ClamAV and Snort — to provide enterprise users and channel partners an alternative to more costly proprietary gateway appliances, according to Bob Walters, CEO of Untangle.

Unlike established gateway security products, Untangle’s new gateway platform is software-based. The company will continue to offer an earlier version of its gateway that uses preinstalled software in an appliance, however.

“Six months ago, 100 percent of our sales was the box. We made the decision that we didn’t need the box. The gateway software can run on any machine with enough processing power and memory,” Walters told LinuxInsider.

Change in Directions

Untangle’s gateway appliance is a box with Linux as its core, Walters explained. Rather than sell the appliance and preinstalled software, he decided to offer the software-only product and leverage virtual technology.

“We are no longer primarily in the hardware business. But we will offer that as an option,” Walters said.

The switch in delivery methods will lower the company’s cost of sales and production by 50 percent of existing proprietary competitors, he added.

The Untangle Gateway Platform is available as a free download. Most users will want to purchase the company’s paid support, Walters noted.

The Need for Free

Market dynamics is driving the need for a free, open source gateway product, Walters said. The infrastructure for commoditizing software and the economics of open source domination of commercial products have created a new market niche.

Untangle has inked 100 channel partners. That’s a key foothold, explained Walters, because the channel is the first point of consumption for SMB users, representing about 80 percent of the financial stream.

“Nobody else is in this space. We are going to take on the competition,” Walters said.

Untangle hopes to challenge expensive proprietary vendors such as SonicWall, WatchGuard and Barracuda, he added.

Product Highlights

The Untangle Gateway Platform offers for free a Web filter, spam blocker, an attack blocker component, protocol control and OpenVPN (virtual private network). It also contains virus, phishing and spyware blocking components.

Also included in the platform are intrusion prevention tools, a firewall, router and the ability to generate reports.

Untangle offers paid live support, Active Directory integration, advanced policy management, remote access portals and configuration backup.

The cost for one to 10 users is US$25 per month. The cost for 11 to 50 users is $50 per month. From 51 to 150 users costs $150 per month. More than 150 users is $250 per month for support.

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