What is Flexible Performance Licensing?

January 6, 2014
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2 min read

Flexible Performance Licensing is a method for licensing throughput on IBM Security Network Protection XGS appliances.  This is a new feature introduced with XGS Firmware 5.1.  Flexible Performance Licensing is currently available on models XGS 3100, XGS 4100 and XGS 5100.

Flexible Performance Licensing allows for the acquisition of a high throughput capable appliance at a lower initial price point.  This can help a customer plan for expected or even unexpected future network growth.

An example of this would be acquiring a XGS 5100 appliance to secure a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) network.  However, the customer’s average load on this network is only 10%, or around 1 Gigabit per second.  This customer could purchase a XGS 5100 with a 10GbE Network Interface Module (NIM) and the base performance license, also known as Flexible Performance Level 1 (FPL 1).  FPL 1 entitles the customer to secure up to 2.0 Gigabits per second.  However, in two years, the network throughput is expected to increase to 3.5 Gigabits per second.  With a XGS 5100 entitled to Flexible Performance Level 1, the customer would want to add two additional performance licenses.  The addition of the two performance licenses would permit the XGS 5100 appliance to be moved to Flexible Performance Level 3 and secure up to 5.0 Gigabits per second.

Flexible Performance Licensing has no impact on how much actual network traffic any XGS appliance can pass.  This value is represented by the “Maximum Throughput” row on the XGS appliance datasheet.  Flexible Performance only affects how much of that traffic is being secured.  If network traffic is above the Flexible Performance limit, the inspection engine may pass the traffic that is over the limit without being inspected.

Flexible Performance Licenses are designed to be used on any appliance of the same type.  The license is not fixed to any one appliance.  This means that any XGS 5100 Flexible Performance License can be reclaimed and reused on any other XGS 5100.  A XGS 5100 Flexible Performance License cannot be used on a different appliance type, such as a XGS 4100.

Changing from one Flexible Performance Level to another does not require a reboot or any other change to the XGS appliance.

To see each XGS appliance’s performance capacity and the different Flexible Performance License levels for each appliance, please refer to the XGS appliance datasheet.

Brian Fitch
Senior Product Manager, IBM Security

Brian Fitch is a Senior Product Manager for IBM. He currently manages the XGS Next Generation Intrusion Prevention System product line. In the past he was ...
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