Purewire Relies on Brocade for Delivering a Global Web Security Service with a Cloud-Based Infrastructure

We have two main goals. One is keeping users secure, and the second is not to disrupt normal web browsing activity.”
– Dr. Paul Judge, CTO and Co-Founder, Purewire

Software as a Service – Around the Globe

What infrastructure is needed to deliver a web-based software service with consistently fast performance to users around the world? While it is one matter to deliver performance to users in a dedicated, local environment, it is another altogether to deliver performance globally over the World Wide Web. This question of performance is one Purewire had to answer as it built out a data center infrastructure for its web security service, which it launched a little over a year ago.

Purewire is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of web security services for organizations of all sizes – small businesses to Fortune 1000 enterprises. “Purewire provides a service to secure users while they are surfing the web,” said Dr. Paul Judge, chief technology officer and co-founder of Purewire. “We accelerate traffic, so they are getting legitimate content faster. We also are looking at the destination to make sure they are going to the appropriate places, especially in the case of businesses. And then the third thing we do is examine the responses from those websites to make sure they are not malicious and trying to attack the user’s PC or compromise that user’s computer.”

Purewire acts like a security guard sitting between a user and the web at large. “A user simply points outbound web surfing through the Purewire service. And regardless of the location or destination they are visiting, their web activity is going through this infrastructure,” he said.

The Purewire service appeals to enterprises because it offers comprehensive web security for their workers. Enterprises can enforce a user policy for web activities like browsing, web applications and social networks. It protects users inside and outside of a company’s firewall. Judge continued, “The Purewire service not only protects users when they are at the office, but also when the user picks up that laptop and goes across the street to the coffee shop or across the country to a hotel. Purewire is always in between that user and the web, so we have the same level protection regardless of location.” It applies to laptop PCs as well as mobile devices like the iPhone and Blackberry, which have previously gone unprotected. A cloud-based service also avoids having to install web security appliances at every remote or branch office. Thus, it is easier to deploy and centrally manage.

The challenge for Purewire was to deliver these security benefits without causing a perceivable slowdown in a user’s web experience, regardless of their location. “We have two main goals. One is keeping users secure, and the second is not to disrupt normal web browsing activity,” he said.

Brocade ServerIron for Global Server Load Balancing

Purewire set up server farms hosting its web security service in several data centers around the world. Then it needed a means to direct users to the best data center for the fastest response time, and within a data center, to route requests to the most available server. They chose Brocade ServerIron 350, ServerIron 450 and ServerIron 4G series of application delivery controllers to provide this global server load balancing and traffic routing capability. These application switches offered high performance and application throughput as well as ease of management in a globally distributed environment.

Dr. Judge elaborated, “No matter where a user is in the world, we need to reliably get their data routed to our data center and through our data center. So we use Brocade for load balancing and traffic redirection. Whenever a user is, say, in the middle of South America and decides they need to connect to a Purewire service, the load balancing will direct them to the appropriate data center. Then within that data center, we again use intelligent load balancing to direct that traffic to the best possible server.”

A user doesn’t know we’re there, unless and until we have to protect them from some threat.”
– Dr. Paul Judge

Performance as Designed

When asked if this cloud-based infrastructure is meeting expectations, Judge responded, “Yes, absolutely. Customers are delighted. Our channel partners are delighted. People are becoming more aware of the need to protect their users and more aware of the advantages of deploying that as a service. The number of customers that we service and the amount of traffic that we monitor is steadily increasing… The Purewire service is performing as designed – a user doesn’t know we’re there, unless and until we have to protect them from some threat.”

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