Exinda Review

Plug it in, in-line, and it works; enables us to prioritize traffic to a very granular level

What is our primary use case?

It's a WAN optimization tool. It allows us to provide WAN optimization at a more granular level than we would be able to do with a standard MPLS QoS configuration.

How has it helped my organization?

Exinda allows us to provide better voice quality out to India over heavily utilized WAN links.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to provide very granular classes of service. That's important because it allows us to prioritize certain traffic types over others, to a very granular level. It allows us to really control what the priority applications are, from a connectivity point of view. And we can do it very quickly as well, which is something we wouldn't be able to do with a third-party WAN provider.

What needs improvement?

The product itself is very good. The areas for improvement would be around the support service that GFI provides. The licensing is also complicated and the presales process is quite complicated as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Exinda for over five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it scales well. If you need to upgrade licenses, it's fairly easy to do. You do have to go through a fairly lengthy presales process to get new licenses. But in terms of scalability and manageability, it's okay.

It's being used in all of our main data centers. It's being used in our key offices. We may look to deploy a few more in the UK over the next few years, but there's no real driver for that at the moment. It may be useful to use it for getting more visibility and optimization of traffic in the cloud. So we may end up deploying another four or five Exinda units over the next two or three years. But it won't be in large numbers.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate GFI's technical support a six out of 10. It's difficult to log a support ticket with them. You have to go through a very generic portal, and it's a very long-winded process. Once you've got the ticket logged, it's fine. They're pretty responsive. But you can't just phone up somebody and raise a support ticket. You have to go through their portal, which can take a while.

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

We did not have a previous solution. We went with Exinda because it works. It did what we wanted it to do, in terms of optimizing WAN traffic and our business saw a benefit as a result.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is very straightforward. It's literally just plug-and-play. That is one of its key benefits. You just plug it in, in-line, and it works. It doesn't require any other network configuration to get it working, apart from the management connection. It's pretty simple.

Our original deployment took a couple of hours.

What was our ROI?

You can't do a business ROI on a product like Exinda. We can't say how much money we have saved by having Exinda versus how much money we would have lost by not having Exinda. It doesn't work that way.

The benefit that we have seen is that if we turn it off, people notice that the applications are running slowly.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a trial with Riverbed Steelhead but it didn't work. It was just too difficult to implement. And once we implemented it, there was no benefit.

What other advice do I have?

Before you deploy, think about what you're trying to achieve and think about what your success criteria are. That's what you need to do with any solution. There's no point buying a solution and then trying to work out what you're trying to achieve with it. First, decide what a successful deployment looks like and then see if Exinda will do. 

While it works for my company, it may not work for a different organization with a different network setup. It works well for us because we have a largely centralized application deployment. If we had a more distributed application, the benefit from Exinda would be a lot less.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is about control and visibility. It gives me visibility over network traffic and it gives me some control over how to prioritize different traffic types.

In terms of the number of users of the solution, it is not that sort of a tool. It sits on the WAN. So anybody who's using the network, their traffic will be going across an Exinda. It requires very few people for deployment and maintenance. For the deployment we needed two people, just to help get it racked. If you need to have one replaced it's a very simple process. You don't need a large number of people to manage and maintain an Exinda deployment. The people involved are network techs.

As a solution, I would rate Exinda at nine out of 10. What I don't like is the fact that I haven't purchased the overall management interface. That is the interface that allows you to manage multiple Exindas. Personally, I think Exinda should provide that for free. I think that if you buy more and more Exinda boxes, you shouldn't then have to incur a charge for the overall management software. While I can manage each Exinda separately, if they provided me with the overall management platform for free, that would probably encourage me to buy more appliances.

I think their view is that if you have more than, say, 10 Exindas, you really need the management platform. We have nine, at the moment. We could go from nine to 20. Managing them all separately is not that difficult. But for me, if I've invested in the platform, and then Exinda says, "Well, we've come out with a solution that allows you to manage your estate more easily," having it would probably encourage us to buy more Exindas, because it would be easier to manage them.

Surely it would be in their interest to give me the overarching management platform, either for free or at a heavy discounted price. They've come up with a solution that allows you to manage more and more boxes, but then you have to pay for it. So you get hit with a double cost. You get hit with the cost of buying more Exindas and then you get hit with a very hefty cost for their management platform. I'm not going to go into specifics, but the last time I looked at the management platform cost I said, "Wow, how much? How much to manage a box that I could manage by myself?" I remember looking at the cost and saying, "Well, that has killed that sale immediately."

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**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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