What is most valuable?
On the Load Balancers the features that were the best for me are the HTTP caching feature, this definitely helped increase our response time on the servers, the other feature that stood out for me is the SSL offloading feature, this helped us save resources on the application servers. The Barracuda Instant Replacement system is also a big help to me with staying up to date with the latest appliances.
How has it helped my organization?
A good example would be that we needed anti malware and content filtering along with bandwidth management, the Barracuda solution helped me to consolidate this and optimize our network. We also found that with the granular control we could block things strategically and allow administrators to optimize our bandwidth usage. The Barracuda solution has improved the way we function by consolidating threat management and network optimization in one standalone appliance.
What needs improvement?
It's extremely difficult to say what improvements are needed as everything we needed we could get. I think if they had a product that could allow for more WAN optimization with bigger disk space, it would definitely help. At the moment we use steel-head technology in a different appliance and if we could get the same performance from a Barracuda then we would use that. At the moment that's all that I can think of.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used the Barracuda Load Balancers 340 to the higher models like the 640 for roughly three years now and have had clients that have been using it for more than eight years. I definitely see myself servicing more clients with this solution.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
We haven't really experienced any business critical issues with the product, however, we have had minor issues with deployment in the past. It was our first time implementing a solution as such and after that we not have the issues again. There are times where we make changes to our network and come across new issues but they are all minor and with a bit of reading we manage to resolve them quickly.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Not at all. For what we use it for it seems very stable. We find with WAN optimization it’s a bit unstable but we don't use it for that.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Not at all. We find the product very scalable especially with Virtualization.
How are customer service and technical support?
With the level of customer service from Barracuda I would rate them an 8/10. We find them polite and helpful, however you do wait quite a while to speak to someone. Technical Support
The level of technical support is great when needed. We have used it a few times when doing migrations and data center moves and we always speak to experienced people that help us gain knowledge in new issues that we come across. I can gladly say that there has not been one question that they have not been able to answer.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not use other solutions before, however, when we decided to implement a solution like this we did test a couple of other solutions and we chose the one best suited for our environment and that was the Barracuda product.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was straight forward, and it took us very little time to do so, and we minimized the downtime needed for the setup. It has a basic GUI that we could easily find our way around and there are a number of setup wizards and prompts that assist you when beginning the setup. The great thing was that we could do our setup and configurations while the appliance was in demo mode. This meant that if it took us a long time to setup and configure, the license would only be activated when we had completed the setup and everything is running smoothly. This way we were not paying for the license when the device is non-functional.
What about the implementation team?
We have a team of highly skilled in-house engineers who made the attempt of doing the installation themselves and it was a success. We needed minor technical support but we had this directly from Barracuda and they assisted us very well. Their expertise were great.
What was our ROI?
It is difficult for me to give exact numbers but it’s estimated at a 43% saving annually.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Inclusive of two (along with the Web Filter) of the high end appliances our total was around US$21,000. Day to day it averages about US$5,000 calculated annually. This number is not an exact figure but merely a rough estimation.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at cloud based content filtering, all very good solutions but the Barracuda solution saved us the most money and we could achieve the efficiency we needed that stayed within our budget.
What other advice do I have?
The technology keeps changing and there are newer products coming out all the time, it’s very difficult to stay at the top for a long time.
I would recommend that you get a POC and test it. This was the best way for us to answer all the unsure questions that we had. I would definitely look at the features of other solutions when comparing, we found that some other solutions have more features but we didn't need to use those features and the cost of those solutions were more expensive due to the extra features so if you not going to use them why pay for them? Make sure you test, and compare apples with apples.