WatchGuard XTM [EOL] Review

I found this device to be one of the most stable platforms that I have worked with, but paying a yearly maintenance fee for firmware updates is not worth it in my opinion.

What is most valuable?

I love the GUI and the ability to edit rules on the fly without needing to save a configuration. This makes for a very quick adjustment when needed. I also like the fact that you can save to a configuration file, so if there are a number of changes being made, it can always be rolled back to the previous save.

How has it helped my organization?

This device was one that I deployed on my own business network and has given me the ability to thoroughly know the product that I was selling. The added security features from Live Security ensured I did not have to manually update some of the basic functions of the device.

What needs improvement?

I feel that paying a yearly maintenance fee for firmware updates is not worth it in my opinion. I would rather see the yearly fee go for updates to the add-ons and live security, but I think as time goes on firmware updates should be free since the price tag of some of these devices is difficult for some small businesses to swallow.

While I hold the company in high regard the learning curve on these devices can be tough right out of the box. I've had to contact support on numerous occasions due to little quirks in the system that needed to be ironed out.

For how long have I used the solution?

I personally have had an XTM25 in my own network for over five years, and I've used multiple versions of WatchGuard enterprise grade firewalls over the last decade. My first experience was with an X500 Edge and the last product I had the opportunity to use in the field was an XTM26 for small to medium sized businesses.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes, there were times that the device would lock up after completing the initial configuration and would need to be factory reset.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I found this device to be one of the most stable platforms that I have worked with. Even when the UI seemed to fail on a device, the product still functioned until we had time to reboot the device and bring the UI back online.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, I deployed an XTM25 to a smaller business and the company grew beyond what the device could handle VPN wise. There was a trade in process but the company decided not to go with that since it was within a year and the process was not worth their time or effort.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I had great encounters with all levels of customer service from the general help desk all the way up to our regional manager.

Technical Support:

Most of the time when I called customer support it was for features that I did not work with or if I had a configuration question that did not seem to be working. Most of the time, I was able to get the answers right there on the phone. There were times that tickets had to be opened and a call back was warranted, and most of the time I received a solid response within 24 hours.

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

Previously we used a software firewall deployed to a form factor box. We switched because of my experience with the product and the stability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straight forward, The GUI pretty much takes you through all of the settings you would need to know to set up a general device.

What about the implementation team?

I was the implementation team for my organization as I was part of a managed service provider.

What was our ROI?

The ROI for this product in my eyes was knowing that my customers were protected by a stable platform that could be updated and upgraded when they needed it. The features that were available could be added as needed with small additional purchases for feature keys.

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

Depending on the product, my setup cost was around $250 for time and labor. For the most part I could deploy one of these devices in about an hour with very little downtime to the organization.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I had been a vendor of firewall services for many years prior to deploying WatchGuard technology. I evaluated and was not impressed with SonicWALL, or Untangle. I was deploying pfSense on boxes and found that the WatchGuard platform was perfect in size, and the software seemed to match all of the features of pfSense. The reason for switching ultimately came down to additional customer service and availability of support.

What other advice do I have?

This product is solid and has a great reputation behind it. I would recommend the product and company to anyone looking for a great firewall solution.

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