Juniper SRX Review

Good Layer 3 and Layer 4 protection, but the solution is not end-to-end

What is our primary use case?

Juniper SRX is solely used as a firewall gateway. We use it only for interfacing with the internet and for server farms, as a data center firewall gateway.

What is most valuable?

Most of our clients use it as a traditional firewall, blocking Layer 3 and Layer 4, blocking by transport.

What needs improvement?

We also use firewalls from FortiGate and Palo Alto and they're built with technology to make them next-generation firewalls. Juniper utilizes a router OS and includes enhancements to make it a firewall. But FortiGate and Palo Alto are full-on firewalls because they are built from scratch with features which are specific to firewalls. 

Juniper needs to enhance the solution so that it is more powerful. They need to update the administrative tools to create an easier admin experience. An average administrator would find it easier to configure if they could use https rather than the command line interface to do so.

In addition, it would be more powerful if Juniper brought out a security product other than firewalls, like anti-spam, endpoint protection, etc. Customers who want to deploy security solutions are not just thinking about firewalls. They're thinking about security across their environment. If Juniper could give me a security solution, beyond the firewall, that integrates with the firewall, that would be helpful. Other products have built a security fabric. So if a customer already uses one of their solutions, like a firewall, they will be thinking about integrating with that vendor's other products. If there is more than just a firewall solution, they will use that same vendor's products throughout the security environment. A security fabric is more powerful than just blocking via network parameters.

Juniper should have an end-to-end solution, from the endpoint to the network level. It would provide a more powerful security solution to the customer. Customers are looking for a holistic security solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For one to three years it's stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If users want to scale up the firewall, they basically want the cheapest firewall that gives them powerful features. Most users choose FortiGate rather than Juniper. Technically, Juniper's scalability is good. But when customers look at the overall price, FortiGate will come out cheaper than Palo Alto or Juniper.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good. The engineers help support our customers day-to-day.

How was the initial setup?

The setup depends on the deployment, on what we have to configure. But from one firewall to another firewall, it's about the same. They're not really complex. We have experience using the command line and the user interface. If you ask me which one is easier to configure, I will answer that configuring through the user interface is easier.

The amount of time the deployment takes depends on the complexity of the solution. If the firewall is used as an L3 firewall or L4 firewall, for blocking by IP address and, it's going to be faster to deploy than deploying the firewall using Unified Threat Management. In that case, we need to carefully tune the VPN configuration.

What was our ROI?

The time for one of our customers to achieve ROI depends on the scalability of the product. It also depends on the type of organization. If it's a hospitality or government organization, it will take them more time to achieve ROI than an internet service provider, where using this product is in line with their business objectives.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In terms of pricing, Juniper is in the middle. The most expensive firewall is Palo Alto. If a customer wants the cheapest price they should go for FortiGate. Juniper is in between these products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

From experience, we like to use firewalls from Palo Alto and FortiGate because the solution is easy to configure with a UI to execute the app. If we use Juniper firewalls, we don't really use the UI because it is not as easy as the command line interface for configuration.

The VPN is different between Juniper and Palo Alto. As far as I know, Juniper does packet inspection in their VPN. Functions like anti-spam and antivirus are running step-by-step. Once the anti-spam processing is done, it goes on to antivirus scanning. But with Palo Alto, the technology is different. It copies each packet to each function. For example, if we activate anti-spam, antivirus, and another check, Palo Alto makes three copies of each packet and inspects them in parallel. This makes the system faster, compared to Juniper. This is the biggest difference as far as I know.

What other advice do I have?

Juniper is good at the routing protocol. If you want a solution to protect your environment from the internet, I would propose a firewall gateway solution but ultimately it depends on what the customer needs.

We are partnered with Juniper, so if customers ask for a firewall solution, the first solution that we pick is generally a Juniper firewall. If a customer wants a firewall other than Juniper, we offer it. Usually, we will do a firewall like FortiGate or Palo Alto, if the customer has enough money, as Palo Alto is very expensive.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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