NEC has selected network security company Fortinet's FortiGate network security platform as the enhanced firewall for its MasterScope Virtual DataCenter Automation cloud platform software. To protect the software, NEC has chosen Fortinet's FortiGate-3000 series and FortiGate-1000 series next generation firewalls (NGFW). The NEC software, announced in May, supports automatic configuration, deployment and operation of cloud (infrastructure as a service) environments within enterprise and service provider data centres. The MasterScope Virtual DataCenter Automation software uses software-defined networking, which automates cloud operations through OpenFlow, the communications protocol that gives access to the forwarding plane of a network switch or router over the network. The software is linked to the company's Programmable Flow Controller PF6800 and enables centralised control of virtual servers and virtual networks. NEC's cloud platform makes it possible to automate operations for changing network settings arising from virtual server retrieval requests from users, a process that has up until now been time consuming for server administrators. While the software is initially geared for the Japanese market, NEC plans to expand sales to additional markets, including North America, Europe and Asia.