Kerio Control Review

Good open source availability with great policy routing but needs to be more user friendly


What is our primary use case?

We do quite a special deployment. I work on superyachts. My clients, basically have various ways to forward their internet connection, either by satellite, or, if they're within the range of the shore, they use 4G and a multitude of other connections. Kerio provides for an easy way to manage the various connections. Also, because of the limited bandwidth of the vessels using VSAT, they have control of internet traffic.

What is most valuable?

With Kerio's control, one very useful feature is the policy routing. This enables us to, if we have the yacht's network split up into VLANs, give the option of basically pushing different VLANs through different internet connections. This is very flexible. Then the PFM and the Netgate firewalls are also very flexible. 

The user interface and the ease of use are pretty good. Everything fits together so nicely.

What needs improvement?

The one thing that did put me off of the solution was that, after they were taken over by GFI, the licensing and a few other items have gotten very complicated. 

I am just a little bit wary as to the future of the Kerio Control. I do like open source. I think open source is the future. I don't think there is any place for proprietaries and if I can use something as open source, I would prefer to use open source.

I never found I missed anything in terms of features. From a user point of view, because I install these things and put them on a yacht, then the people on board, they're the ones that have to manage it once the installation is done. That means I have to train them, and, as long as they understand what they need to do and how to use I'm they'll be fine. That said, it can be a bit complicated for a novice user. A simpler user interface is necessary.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've never tried to scale the solution. In my case, it doesn't make sense to try. My installations are very finite. The yacht doesn't grow, so it's very self-contained.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't contacted technical support in the past, to be honest. I'm the kind of person that I would rather look things up online. The beauty of working in IT is that a lot of problems you come across have already been witnessed. Someone else has come across them and has already posted solutions online for you to find. I'm not one of these people that tends to call help desks. I used to work on help desks quite a lot myself, so I am well versed in troubleshooting.

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

We have experience with pfSense. 

With Kerio, everything is just a bit more cohesive. Everything fits together. With pfSense, you need to install add-ons to get the features you need. You can have the same features as Kerio, but it may require installing an add-on. With Kerio, of course, everything is already there.

Another very nice feature I like with the pfSense firewall is the ability to actually run a packet capture on the router, on the gateway itself. Thatis something very useful that I miss having access to, as it's not available on Kerio.

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation's level of difficulty all depends on the requirements of the customer. Some customers just want it there so that they can actually monitor and see the traffic usage, and, if necessary, they can go and speak to people and ask them to stop using up so much data. Some clients use it more as a deterrent and just as a way of monitoring what's going on. Other clients like even more control, which can make it a bit more complicated. They want to put in quotas for users and block certain sites, which is possible, and just a bit more work. It will all depend on clients.

Deployment typically can be done within one day. However, a lot of time users may be upgrading the whole network with wifi switches. Everything gets built together. For us, we're trading our gateway and our networks on board. It shouldn't take more than a few days for a full network installation.

What about the implementation team?

I am self-employed, so I work with other companies that usually do the installation of the hardware and I come in at the end to just make sure everything's all configured correctly and set up properly for Kerio configuration.

What other advice do I have?

I'd recommend the solution. 

It is a good solution. I would like to use it more as an open source software these days. The way everything is going in the world, I feel that there's definitely a place for open source. In terms of the proprietary side of it, I'm not too keen on it, and I'm a bit dubious about this takeover by GFI. I don't know if it's a product that will carry on as it is or if things will just keep getting a bit more complicated with it.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. It's done everything I've ever needed it to do. That said, if I can find a solution that does the same, I'll switch. I find that there are actually more options. If you know what you're doing and you find the add-on that you need, then I think it's more flexible.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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