SonicWall Looks to Protect the Enterprise with the NSA 3500

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


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

Unified Threat Management comes to enterprise networks via SonicWall's latest security appliances, the NSA series.

Anyone who has worked with network security products should be very familiar with the name SonicWall, a vendor that has been shaking things up in the small and midsize business world for some time. Now, SonicWall is looking to shake things up in the enterprise security market as well with its NSA series of products.

The NSA series combines multicore processing and high bandwidth capabilities to make a UTM (Unified Threat Management) security appliance that can keep up with the demands of a larger network. Currently, the product line consists of six models, ranging from the entry-level NSA 3500 to the super-high-performance NSA E7500. Models with the E prefix are specifically designed for larger enterprises, while the non-E models are aimed at the SME (small and medium enterprise) market.

In terms of basic features, all of the NSA security appliances are very much alike. All of the NSA units combine UTM protection for enterprise-class networking and IP Security VPN. The NSA Series units all use the SonicWall deep packet inspection architecture, which offers real-time detection and protection through a suite of services that include gateway anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, anti-spam and content filtering. What's more, a common management interface makes the NSA units easy to manage, the company said.

SonicWall provided eWEEK's Channel Labs with an NSA 3500 for review, and we were impressed by the ease of setup offered by the unit. From the outset, SonicWall has placed top priority on ease of use, and that commitment is evident through the unit's setup wizards and quick start guides. The company also provides comprehensive PDF-based documentation on how to set up and manage the product. The documentation includes a plethora of illustrations, screen shots and diagrams to help make most any custom setup a snap to perform. The unit's browser-based interface is equally clear and very concise.

Neophyte administrators will be able to quickly set up basic policies, rules or VPN connections while more advanced administrators will be able to drill down deeper into the management interface and fine-tune those same rules and policies. Usually, when a security appliance integrates so many options, the unit tends to be difficult to manage and monitor. SonicWall's redesigned management interface overcomes those problems by offering a clear path via tabs to each of the unit's capabilities.

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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