Azure Firewall Review

Recently added features such as SD-WAN have greatly simplified operations

What is our primary use case?

We are currently working with Microsoft, trying to develop a new solution which is based on VeloCloud. It's an SD-WAN solution. This product has not been launched in China yet and we still have some work to do. I'm the company owner and five of my team use Azure Firewall. It's a startup team and I work with Microsoft directly.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of the product are its great security and connectivity. 

What needs improvement?

The interface could be improved, it's not very user friendly. They are now trying to compete with a new Chinese domestic public cloud provider which has more features. It's difficult to find the ports on the current interface, but it's easier with this new provider. 

We're looking to provide a better routing, or something like an SD-WAN solution that can improve the user experience. I think that's something Azure can do as an additional feature. There are five Azure clouds: Two belong to the US government and one is worldwide. Then there is Germany Azure and China Azure. China Azure is barely able to communicate with the rest of the world, and that connectivity issue needs to be looked at in detail and a solution found.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this product for three years. It's an online platform so you're always getting the latest version. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable product. I've recently spent a lot of time on Palo Alto Firewalls and compared to that I would say that Azure Firewall is still a better firewall. They provide more and more features like SD-WAN or the cloud standard box feature.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm satisfied with the technical support overall. I generally chat with the Microsoft team on the phone. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I'm still using Palo Alto, Cisco ASA, Fortinet, Check Point and Juniper. Basically I use all of them. For small businesses with one standard, though, I would recommend Azure Firewalls. It's quite simple and easy to implement the whole security policy. For medium and large enterprise companies, however, they already have their on-premise firewall devices implemented. Users are trying to centralize their firewall security management and they prefer it to using virtualized firewalls like Checkpoint Virtual Firewall or Fortinet Virtual Firewall. That way, they can leverage their user technology capability, and try using a single interface to manage those devices. 

How was the initial setup?

From the virtual machine perspective, it's quite easy to set up. You can choose the image file from the public market, and then you can setup. However, the account, the Microsoft Azure identity, the whole creation process was very complex and it is not that user friendly. Users usually use their Azure ID, as well as sometimes providing the live ID. That's a second ID, and it confuses people.

What other advice do I have?

The network firewall is a complex project, you have to review all the requirements. It's possible that sometimes the Azure Firewall won't be able to support some things because they customize their applications and they may not meet with the Azure Firewall's features. Each user has unique requirements on shaping or manipulating network traffic. I wouldn't recommend any product without doing the research.

I would rate this product an eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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