Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Review

Easy to use with good application and URL filtering

What is our primary use case?

The Palo Alto VM-Series is a firewall that is part of our security solution.

How has it helped my organization?

With Palo Alto, it feels like you're using the Rolls-Royce of firewalls.

What is most valuable?

All of the next-generation features are valuable and set Palo Alto apart from other firewalls.

The application filtering, or AppiID, and URL filtering are good.

The interface with Panorama makes it very easy to use.

What needs improvement?

The command-line interface is something that some people struggle with and I think that they should have an option to go straight to the GUI.

The interface for Panorama has not changed greatly and could be updated.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Palo Alto VM-Series for more than six years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very easy to scale. All you have to do is get access to the VM base and then spin it off into another virtual environment or send it into the cloud.  This means that you now have a data center through Palo Alto.

They have a new product called Prisma that allows you to create links between remote users working from different areas and use that to connect to the clouds in this infrastructure. It also allows you to get connectivity to that but not using a backhaul. Rather, you connect straight from wherever you are.

In the places where we have deployed this solution, they have a couple of thousand users.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is great. This is a brand and they have to protect it, so they make sure that the users get what they need.

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

I have experience with Check Point and Cisco, who both started improving their management interface after Panorama.

How was the initial setup?

I would say that the initial setup is easy. I have been an IT professional for more than 20 years and can say that this is an example of a product where you simply have to read the manual. If you jump straight into it then you will start struggling.

During the initial setup you begin with the CLI, but you enter a command and it brings you to the GUI. Once you are in the GUI, you will see words on the tabs. All of these things are there if you look carefully.

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

The price of this solution is very high for some parts of Africa, which makes it a challenge. If it were lowered then it would be more popular.

What other advice do I have?

I have been using Palo Alto since version 6.0, and I am currently evaluating the latest one, version 9.1.

My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to try the trial version first. It is good for 30 days and it can actually be used because it is the full product. You can test all of the scenarios and try the next-generation features. You can use features like the VPN GlobalProtect and actually see it work. The same with URL filtering and antivirus.

Overall, this is a great next-generation firewall.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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