Looking Under the Hood

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

With the Launch of the TZ 210 Series, SonicWALL shows it can deliver enterprise-class performance for under a $1,000.

As designed, the SonicWALL TZ 210 series offers a UTM security engine that boasts speeds of 50 Mbps, a fivefold speed increase over previous generation products. The throughput improvements should prove beneficial to businesses that are using high-speed broadband services.

The SonicWALL TZ 210 Wireless-N offers Gigabit-speed Ethernet WAN and LAN ports and 802.11n to maximize throughput to wired and wireless users. The unit also features four 10/100 Ethernet ports that can be used for local access or defined to work as DMZ ports. A nice touch would be to upgrade those four ports to gigabit Ethernet – after all, many consumer level routers are now sporting gigabit ports and gigabit speeds are becoming common on the LAN.

The integrated 802.11n access point uses MiMo technology and features the three requisite antennas, which screw on to the back of the unit. SonicWALL uses a Draft 2.0 implementation of 802.11n, which should provide excellent compatibility with the various "n" devices on the market, and backward compatibility with 802.11b/g devices.

Initial setup of the unit proves to be surprisingly easy, thanks in part to an excellent "getting started" and various setup wizards. Although the unit doesn’t approach the simplicity of consumer-level product, it’s more of an indication of the unit’s advanced feature set and not so much the design. Solution providers with network security knowledge should have no problems what so ever installing, configuring and supporting the device.

Solution providers can manage the unit via a browser or choose to use SonicWALL’s Global Management System (GMS), which provides comprehensive global management and reporting tools for simplified configuration, enforcement and management from a central location.

Installation of the unit requires creating an account with SonicWALL using the company’s "MySonicWALL" Web-based service. Administrators will register the unit there and download additional software, activate advanced services and manage licenses. MySonicWALL is integrated quite well with the physical device and administrators will find it easy to add optional features. MySonicWALL offers simple point and click feature activation, which makes easy work of adding advanced gateway services, such as antivirus or content filtering.

The unit runs SonicWALL’s own operating system, SonicOS, which controls all features of the device. The features under SonicOS can be controlled via a browser in most cases, and also from a command line interface. With security appliances, the devil is usually in the details – SonicWALL masters that devil by offering extensive drill downs into the various features of the device, administrators can have absolute control over port assignments, access rules and most any other element.

The unit’s wireless features follow the same pattern. Administrators can define zones, provisioning profiles and detailed security settings for the integrated wireless radio and also setup security for wireless access points that are plugged into any of the Ethernet ports.

Solution providers will find the inclusion of high availability a welcome option. High availability elevates the unit to an enterprise-class device and creates additional opportunities for solution providers servicing businesses that must have reliable access 24/7. High availability is relatively straight forward to setup and simply ties two SonicWALL devices together. Administrators will find extensive built-in reporting capabilities. Reports can be generated to show usage or for troubleshooting.

Solution providers will find the company’s channel program quite friendly – several support options are offers and solution providers are kept in the mix when it comes to subscriptions and upgrades. Decent margins and training opportunities round out the channel program, which also offers marketing support, along with sales assistance.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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