OpenVPN Access Server Review

Has the easiest UX for end-users and greatest interoperability with all operating systems we used

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case was to give mobile knowledge workers a secure connection across the Internet to our LAN, whether by laptop, mobile tablet or smart phone.

How has it helped my organization?

It allowed people to remotely access files from their mobile devices. It was so easy for end-users to use that they were able to work more efficiently no matter where they were, whether at a client’s campus, home, traveling – wherever they had a device and internet access.

What is most valuable?

This open-source solution provided the easiest UX for our end-users and had the greatest interoperability with all the operating systems we used, including but not limited to: iOS, Android, OS X, Windows, and Linux.

What needs improvement?

The upgrade path from older versions was more difficult than we wanted to tackle, so we ran an older version of the software for longer than I wanted. Patching, updating, and migrating to newer versions was a problem for us. That said, we were on a rather old version that I inherited yet it worked rock solid.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We more than doubled our staff at my previous company and our OpenVPN appliance handled it well.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support wasn’t needed during my 5 years administrating OpenVPN.

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

OpenVPN was already implemented when I took over the IT department. I do know that there was also a Cisco VPN product in place, but it was finicky and many of our end-users had issues with the Cisco VPN. At the time, it also didn’t work on mobile devices and the required ports were blocked by certain ISPs (like some hotel internet connections, cellular providers, etc.)

What about the implementation team?

In-house expertise.

What was our ROI?

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

At one point I had to purchase addition connection licenses. I was very pleased with the pricing and licensing; so much easier than navigating the confusing jungle of Microsoft and Cisco licensing and pricing. That alone made the product a delight to manage.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn’t purchase OpenVPN, but I have evaluated other products for other departments I managed at other companies. Cisco and Fortinet are the two I remember off hand.

What other advice do I have?

We did not use this product on AWS. We hosted the server on our network.

My advice would be, if OpenVPN fits your environment and needs, it’s a great solution. Do it.

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