Crossbeam Systems

Crossbeam Systems
Type Private
Industry Network Security
Founded 1999
Headquarters Boxborough, Massachusetts, USA
Key people Mike Ruffolo, CEO
Employees 300+

Crossbeam Systems is headquartered in Boxborough, Massachusetts and has offices in Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. The company makes an open, high-performance hardware and software network security platform that is designed to deploy network security applications from third-party security software vendors (including McAfee, Sourcefire, Trend Micro, Websense, Check Point, IBM, Imperva, Actiance and Sophos) within large networking environments, including enterprises, service providers and government agencies. The industries that Crossbeam serves include energy[1], financial services[2], government, healthcare, higher education [3], managed/ service providers[4] and mobile operators [5]


Company History

Crossbeam Systems, Inc. was incorporated on November 23, 1999 by Stephen Justus and Mike Akerman, with Throop Wilder joining as a founding team member in 2000 [6] . Since the beginning, Crossbeam has been focused on designing and manufacturing a range of very high-performance network security platforms, with the philosophy that security solutions should be open and offer choice [7] to the customer in the security applications they use. Today, Crossbeam is the only manufacturer of a dedicated open network security platform. On 12th October 2011, Crossbeam announced the introduction of the latest generation Network Processing Module that dramatically enhanced performance across the portfolio to 140Gbps as measured by a real-world IMIX traffic profile. This new technology also enabled Crossbeam to introduce a new mid-range data center product - the X50. [8]

Peter George led the company from 2001 to June 2007 as CEO and president. Pete Fiore took over the company in 2007 and led the company to growth and profitability until his death in December 2009. Mike Ruffolo joined Crossbeam [9] in March 2010 and continues today as CEO and president.


The company’s key innovation is its X-Series network security platform [10], which was introduced in September 2001 as a way for telecommunications operators to consolidate their security server or appliance infrastructure into one chassis , which acts as a virtual security architecture [11] or ‘network in a box.’ The X-Series architecture consists of five major components including a chassis, an operating system and three types of hardware blades or modules:

– Network Processor Module (NPM)
– Control Processor Module (CPM)
– Application Processor Module (APM)

Over the past 10-plus years, the X-Series platform, including the modules and operating systems, has gone through five major generational upgrades. In October 2010, Crossbeam announced the latest expansion [12] of its X-Series family of network security platforms to include the X20, X30, X60 and X80-S.

X-Series Chassis

Chassis Type Module Slots Lifecycle
X20 4-Slot 2010–Present
X30 4-Slot 2010–Present
X40 8-Slot Replaced by X60
X45 7-Slot Replaced by X60
X50 4-Slot 2011-Present
X60 7-Slot 2010–Present
X80 14-Slot 2001–Present

X-Series Modules

Generation Network Processor Modules Application Processor Modules Control Processor Modules
1st (2001) NPM 4100 APM 4200 CPM 4100
2nd (2003) NPM 8100 APM 8200 CPM 8100
3rd (2005) NPM 8200 APM 8400 CPM 8400
4th (2007) NPM 8600 APM 8600 CPM 8600
5th (2009) NPM 8620/50 APM 8650
6th (2010/11) NPM 9610/50 APM 9600 CPM 9600

X-Series Operating System (XOS)

The component technologies are tied together by a specialized Linux-based operating system called XOS that provides the ability to run several applications together in series or parallel and allows a single application to run across any number of processor cores or APM blades.

Major XOS Version Ship Date
9.6 November 2011
9.5 November 2010
9.0 April 2010
8.5 October 2009
8.1 January 2009
8.0 March 2008
7.2 August 2007
7.0 November 2006
6.0 November 2005

C-Series (2004–2010)

Similar to the X-Series, the Crossbeam C-Series provided the ability to deploy any certified security application, but was limited to one application per appliance and had a fixed form factor. The C-Series ran a different operating system to the X-Series, called COS. The C-Series was discontinued in 2010.

Major COS Version Ship Date
6.2 December 2009
6.1 March 2008
6.0 July 2007
5.1 February 2007
4.0 February 2006


Crossbeam’s business model is to partner with third-party security vendors, allowing customers to run multiple security applications [13] on a single X-Series platform. Customers can choose to install any number of active and certified products onto the X-Series platform.

Partner Product Certified to run on Crossbeam Partnership Status
Enterasys Dragon IDS/IPS Not Active
Secure Computing SmartFilter Now McAfee
McAfee Firewall Enterprise Active
Sourcefire IPS, RNA Active
Trend Micro IMSS, IWSS Active
Websense Web Security Suite Active
Check Point FireWall-1, NGX, VPN-1 NGX, FireWall-1 GX, Power-1 VSX, Security Gateway Active
IBM Proventia IPS Active
Imperva SecureSphere Active
Actiance USG Active
Sophos PureMessage Active


Crossbeam Systems, Inc. dropped ‘Systems’ from day to day operations in March 2010 when it rebranded the company with a new look. A new logo was introduced.

Company tag lines:

2005–2008 Safer, Simpler Networks
2008–2010 Consolidation. Virtualization. Simple. Security
2010 – Rethink the network

Current Customers

Select Crossbeam customers include:

• Axpo Informatik AG
Baylor University
• BT
• Centrica
• Cox Communications
• Fiserv
• NTT Communications
• Portugal Telecom (PT)
• Scottrade
Sportsbet [14]
• Telefónica UK
• Temple University
• The Weather Channel
• Volkswagen Group
• Globe Telecom


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded Crossbeam a patent in December 2010 for its approach to network security services delivery. Specifically, Crossbeam was awarded a patent for the underlying architecture of its X-Series platform, which provides a method for distributing applications and services in and throughout a network.


  1. ^ Crossbeam website, “Energy: securing energy using less energy
  2. ^, “Network security infrastructure consolidation: What's your strategy?” 26 October, 2010
  3. ^ EdTech, “High Availability Benefits from Virtualization,” May 2010,
  4. ^ TMCNet, “Crossbeam Systems Helps BT Strengthen Virtualized Security Offering
  5. ^ InfoSecurity, “O2 taps Crossbeam for mobile data security,” 2 February 2010
  6. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, “Crossbeam Systems
  7. ^ TMCNet, “Open Platform Security Company Crossbeam Explains its Qualifications Sims,” 19 November, 2010
  8. ^ "Crossbeam Announces Massively Scalable Security Platform" 12 October 2011
  9. ^ SC Magazine, “Company news: Michael Ruffolo named CEO at Crossbeam, plus changes at Fidelis and Symantec,” 4 May, 2010
  10. ^ Crossbeam website, “Products: X-Series Family
  11. ^ ISP-Planet, “Crossbeam Systems: Crossbeam's X-Series Security Platform is designed to provide a security architecture in a box,” 21 January, 2009
  12. ^ CTOEdge, “Crossbeam Extends Security Platform Lineup,” 4 October, 2010
  13. ^ Network Computing, “Crossbeam Launches New Hardware To Run Multiple Security Apps,” 5 October, 2010
  14. ^ Computerworld, “Sportsbet gables DDoS attack, wins,” 12 April, 2011

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