SonicWall NSA Review

Good content filtering but needs better software and has a faulty DPI SSL feature

What is our primary use case?

The solution is primarily used as a perimeter firewall for a gateway toward public internet traffic. Basically, it is a gateway between our internal network and public traffic.

What is most valuable?

Feature wise, the content filtering is good.

The basic firewall rules of the solution are great.

What needs improvement?

The product has a lot of bugs, actually. We are facing some issues with this product. The DPI SSL feature which is there, it is not working properly.

The IRL, when it was installed, had us facing some issues. However, as they kept on uploading the images, the issues are starting to get fixed. 

They already have this feature of advanced capture, set rotation, and so it is a next-generation firewall only. They could improve on their software side. Their software, which is managing the hardware, it's not up to the mark.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using our current particular model (NSA 5600, the most current model) for the last two years. The other firewall we were using, SonicWall 5500 we've used for the last seven or eight years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It took some time for us to establish stability within the solution at the beginning. At this point, we find it to be quite stable except for the DPI SSL feature.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had already scaled from the older version, the 5500, however, the 5600, is quite a new product. They have since changed the OS, so it ended up being a bit complex from the earlier version. The complexity is there, obviously. It's not that easy to manage. You really need to have someone with knowledge right there with you.

It is an internal firewall. All of our traffic, internal traffic, goes through this firewall only. There are somewhere around, at any point in time, 600, 700 users. We have total sync of 2,000 users, 2,000 plus. But at any point in time, 600 users are there, connected. It runs continuously, on a daily basis.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've never contacted technical support in the past. We go through our vendor. We don't call SonicWall. 

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

While there are a lot of options on the market, we only use SonicWall at this time. We have used Sophos in the past previously. We found that Sophos Firewall had more flexibility compared to SonicWall, especially in the configuration capabilities.

How was the initial setup?

he initial setup was actually it was done by our vendor partner. And it was not difficult for them. However, during the initial set up, we faced some issues. It was not easy until there were image upgrades, and now those issues are fixed. 

We've also outsourced the maintenance part of the solution's upkeep to our vendor. We only do the followup and we level call. Basic manageability, they do the operation, we manage at our end. Basic operations. But for other calls, we level call with the vendor.

What about the implementation team?

We hired our vendor partner to do the initial implementation for us. We didn't handle it in-house.

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

I'm not sure what the pricing of the product is. It falls within a middle range in terms of pricing. It' not the cheapest or more expensive. 

The SSL VPN feature, which is what we needed to purchase, is a separate license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There's a lot of firewalls available, including Cisco, FortiGate, and Juniper firewalls too. There are many alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We don't have a business relationship with SonicWall.

I wouldn't recommend the solution, actually. It's hard to set up and the stability takes a while to establish. They need to do better on their software side, and other solutions, like Sophos, have more flexibility in their configuration capabilities.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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