pfSense Review

I use pfSense because it gives me the flexibility to greatly expand basic firewall features.


How has it helped my organization?

I stood up pfSense in a Large Telecom providers Lab environment for their next generation products. I was able to achieve 10G throughput (about 9.1 true throughput as tested over 4 days solid), and only hit a max of 20% CPU utilization on a DL380 G7. This server also had Suricata (in IPS mode and a heavy ruleset), as well as pfBlocker running.

What is most valuable?

I use pfSense because it gives me the flexibility to greatly expand basic firewall features. It's open source (and free - as in beer and speech), but also has commercial support. This can be run on any commodity hardware on the market (I've ran it on AMD and Intel - even Atom, processors) and throughput is excellent, even with lower speed CPUs and less RAM.

What needs improvement?

The GUI. There are TONS of plugins for pfSense, as such, if a user wants to add quite a bit of functionality, the GUI will feel a little congested.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

A little... BUT, this was contributed to a failing Arista switch that would do a coredump and reboot. The pfSense installation at high speeds failed over perfectly though.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No - in our high-speed tests (10G), we were not able to push the CPU over 20% utilization.

How is customer service and technical support?

I didn't really need any technical support. But was in contact with the Developers of pfSense as we were starting to work with them for an NFV setup.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Fortinet, SourceFire, etc.... the cost... oh the cost! Why pay these guys when I can use pfSense for free AND only pay for support when and if I need it?

How was the initial setup?

Very straight forward. If anyone has ever installed any kind of OS or set up a firewall, it will be a piece of cake.

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

Open Source - just download! If you need support, it's available.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

It's an amazing product. There really are few issues with pfSense.

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