Cisco launched a new ASA 5580 series of security appliances that the company said is its highest-performing appliance offering to date.

The Cisco ASA 5580 series can provide up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) of throughput, and also acts as a remote-access concentrator for SSL- and IPsec-based virtual private networks (VPNs).The concentrator can handle as many as 10,000 users. The company said the appliance's high performance make the device a good choice for organizations with demanding applications such as VoIP, video, backups, etc.

Cisco will offer the ASA 5580 in three models that vary in capacity. The Cisco ASA 5580-40 can handle up to "two million simultaneous connections, 750,000 security policies and 10 Gbps of firewall throughput scaling up to 20 Gbps for data-intensive applications such as video sharing or storage-area networking." The ASA 5580-20 model comes in two varities: A security appliance and a remote access VPN concentrator. Both of those models can handle up to 1 million connections and 5 Gpbs firewall throughput.

"The advent of Web 2.0 applications and a huge increase in the number of connections is driving the need for an increasingly high-powered security infrastructure," said Mick Scully, vice president of product management for Cisco's Security Technology Group.

"Many organizations have been unable to keep up their security posture in the face of burgeoning traffic growth. Cisco's security strategy involves delivering products that can meet these needs. We recently delivered a data center-caliber intrusion prevention sensor for greater packet inspection, and the Cisco ASA 5580 represents the latest offering from Cisco to provide high-performance firewalling and VPN connectivity. Together, these products bring the promise of our Self-Defending Network strategy to life in high-performance, data-intensive environments," Scully concluded.