It's not enough to offer hardware that can perform multiple security functions; you have to be able to do them fast.Crossbeam, which makes several multi-slot hardware platforms designed to handle multiple applications, is introducing a VPN accelerator card for its enterprise-sized security box called the C-30.The card will push the speed of Check Point VPN-1\/Firewall-1 running on the device to 300M bit\/sec VPN encryption and 2G bit\/sec firewall protection.The C-30 is a relatively new device from Crossbeam that was introduced in June and was designed specifically for midsize businesses. The stackable appliance, with two Gigabit Ethernet and 16 10\/100M bit\/sec Ethernet ports, will cost $24,000, which is less than half of the cost of the company's X40, its flagship 14-slot hardware.The devices use a hardened version of Linux as an operating system and can port and execute other software such as firewall, VPN, intrusion detection and content scanning. They can run thousands of instances of certain applications on the same device to create, for instance, thousands of virtual firewalls. Packets can be processed simultaneously across the applications on the device or one after another depending on how the customer configures the machines.As with any of these devices, users trade off convenience for choice of applications. While multiple applications can run on a single device, customers forfeit the ability to choose whatever firewall or intrusion detection software the want and must use whatever is compliant with the hardware.The upside is that user have fewer devices to manage, saving on operational costs.