Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Overview

Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Advanced Threat Protection tools. It is most often compared to Azure Firewall: Palo Alto Networks VM-Series vs Azure Firewall

What is Palo Alto Networks VM-Series?

The VM-Series is a virtualized form factor of our next-generation firewall that can be deployed in a range of private and public cloud computing environments based on technologies from VMware, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Citrix and KVM.

The VM-Series natively analyzes all traffic in a single pass to determine the application identity, the content within, and the user identity. These core elements of your business can then be used as integral components of your security policy, enabling you to improve your security efficacy through a positive control model and reduce your incident response time though complete visibility into applications across all ports.

In both private and public cloud environments, the VM-Series can be deployed as a perimeter gateway, an IPsec VPN termination point, and a segmentation gateway, protecting your workloads with application enablement and threat prevention policies.

Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Buyer's Guide

Download the Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Customers

Warren Rogers Associates

Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Video

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ITCS user
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Solution Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
It prevents data loss and business disruption

What is our primary use case?

We use it to protect applications and data on AWS.

Pros and Cons

  • "Embedding it into my application development lifecycle prevents data loss and business disruption, allowing the adoption to operate at the speed of my AWS Cloud."
  • "It has a good performance which helps you with the stability of your virtual environment."
  • "It can definitely improve on the performance."
  • "It has to be more scalable for the deployment of VMs on the cloud."

What other advice do I have?

It solves several challenges protecting your AWS workloads with good security features, delivering superior visibility, control, and threat prevention at the application level when compared to other cloud-oriented security solutions. I have not tried integrating Palo Alto with other products.
Michael Robtoy
Infrastructure Team Lead at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
App-ID and User-ID have repeatedly shown value in securing business critical systems, but we have run into issues with the antivirus interfering with App-ID

What is our primary use case?

We use this as our primary security barrier between trusted and untrusted zones.

Pros and Cons

  • "In AWS, Palo Alto provides us a better view than flow logs for network traffic."
  • "App-ID and User-ID have repeatedly shown value in securing business critical systems."
  • "I would like to see a more thorough QA process. We have had some difficulties from bugs in releases."
  • "We have ran into issues with Palo Alto’s limitations for resolving large IP lists from DNS lookups, as well as the antivirus interfering with App-ID."

What other advice do I have?

It is a good product, but there is room for improvement. We use this with Microsoft AD, N2WS, IIS, MySQL, MS SQL, and a number of proprietary applications.
Learn what your peers think about Palo Alto Networks VM-Series. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
511,607 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Sachin Sheth
Director of Cloud Security at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Reseller
It provides complete security posture from end-to-end

What is our primary use case?

Primary use case is network protection, next-generation IDS, and IPS protection.

Pros and Cons

  • "It provides complete security posture from end-to-end. This has given us better visibility into what our security aspects are."
  • "The product could provide protection above Layer 3, which gets into the application layer and provides better visibility into those aspects of application security."

What other advice do I have?

Identify a use case first of all. If the use case is a match, then use the product. We use it in the cloud for both AWS and non-AWS versions. The AWS version is far better. It works seamlessly and integrates very well with some other services. We have integrated it with Splunk for the security aspects and with identity and access management for configuration purposes.
Pradeep Kurra
Cloud Practice Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
You can scale it if you put it in Auto Scaling groups. On the cloud side, they need to come up with more HA solutions to support the multi-region.

What is our primary use case?

We use Palo Alto for the VPN, firewalls, and the hybrid site-to-site. We have purchased Palo Alto VM for one of our customers. It has been a year since we have been using this product. We use Palo Alto's on-premise version for a different purpose. We are using the cloud version for our contractors to VPN to the AWS environment. For Palo Alto on-premise, we use it more for security firewalls. On the cloud side, we use it for customer contractors to get into the AWS environment for VPN. we use native routing and native security tools that they developed already in AWS.

Pros and Cons

  • "You already can scale it if you put it in Auto Scaling groups. If you put it in a load balancer, it should already be able to scale."
  • "On the cloud side, they need to come up with more HA solutions to support the multi-region."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend the product, and tell people, "Go for it." It has not disappointed us for the purpose that we use it. It is really matured in the networking area. Because of our use case, we didn't have to integrate the product with anything else. The AWS side of the product is a seven out of ten rating. The on-premise side of the product is a ten out of ten for a rating.
AP
Director at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It allows us to see all our traffic to properly secure it

What is our primary use case?

We use it to secure all traffic leaving and entering AWS.

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows us to see all our traffic to properly secure it and only allow what is needed through the firewall."
  • "AWS doesn't integrate well with third-party firewalls."

What other advice do I have?

They are the leading next-generation firewall. I would recommend deploying a next-generation firewall. I am using the on-premise and AWS version. They are exactly the same.
CB
System Administrator at DeepMap
Real User
It offers a single pane of glass for all the different types of installations

What is our primary use case?

* To do a lot of intrusion detection. * Threat prevention. * As an application firewall, to be able to securely deliver apps to the public.

Pros and Cons

  • "It offers a single pane of glass for all the different types of installations."
  • "It gives us the ease that we are secure. We have set up the proper things that help make our data safe."
  • "I would like a way to do everything programmatically, or be able to copy the configs from different prices at different levels."

What other advice do I have?

Talk to their technical services to make sure you are getting the right size solution for what you want to do. The product is easy use. I don't have to think twice when I am using it. I know it is doing its job. Customer support has been great. We are using both the AWS and on-premise versions. Both versions are about the same. The interface is nice and easy to configure. I like that it seems like it is one platform to manage.
PT
Solution Architect at JM Family Enterprises
Real User
AWS has improved our agility to apply firewall rules because everything is based in the cloud

What is our primary use case?

We use it for firewall purposes.

Pros and Cons

  • "AWS has improved our agility to apply firewall rules. It has reduced the amount of time that it takes to apply firewall rules because everything is based in the cloud."
  • "We don't know how it will scale once we start putting more load on it."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend to try it out.
Dan Rabinowitz
Director of Infrastructure at Arcadia
Real User
Out-of-the-box, it has all of the components that you need for a very secure environment

What is our primary use case?

We use Palo Alto as a perimeter security device.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has the ability to create Palo Alto VM-series using software."
  • "It is nice to have a rock solid security platform that we can count on."
  • "In the next release, I would like to see better integration of multi-factor authentication vendors."
  • "We have run into some issues with scaling and limitations associated with some of the configurations."

What other advice do I have?

Do a demo. Set one up and try it. We have used both the physical and AWS versions. The physical version is a good product. However, in an AWS environment, the ability to automate and scale pieces of it are critical. We integrated a couple other products with it, which seems to be working well.
Christian  Amaya
Support Engineer & IT Professional at SISAP
Real User
A reliable tool with excellent support

What is our primary use case?

For this VM in particular, it is microsegmentation which is used for implementing the firewall inside the data center.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is reliable and the support is very good."
  • "In the newer version, there are 3850s, all of them are scalable. They fit better into the medium or small businesses."
  • "From time to time, they have released some content updates that have some issues, maybe twice a year."
  • "There are various reports that come with the box or with the VMware, but you can only run them daily."

What other advice do I have?

If you do not have a Next-Generation Firewall, Palo Alto is a good choice. It is reliable and the support is very good. The VMware version is in all the boxes and they use the same OS, so it is not different if you manage a physical box or a virtual box. The only difference is the virtual box depends on where it will be placed, and its main usage is for microsegmentation and data center firewalls.
Rene Ortega
System Engineer at a tech consulting company with 501-1,000 employees
MSP
A solid operating system with all the necessary data center security features

What is our primary use case?

I have some financial experience with the program. We use it with Cisco and Fortinet technology, and have integrated it with NSXi. It has had good performance. As an integrator, we need to understand the business case: * The customer's needs. * The implementation phase. * Provide clarity and clarify details with the customer. * Relate to their business's needs more than the technology system.

Pros and Cons

  • "They now know the details about their network traffic that they did not know before: Applications that they are using and some application they did not know they were using."
  • "A solid operating system with all the necessary data center security features."

    What other advice do I have?

    It is a great product. It is a great company, and I am very glad to work with them. Use the learning material that Palo Alto has free on their webpage. The customer should compare it with other products. They need to see the product and understand the power that that technology brings to cyber security. In this case, they can see the benefit against risks to your network and its capacity to prevent threats.
    Adao Costa
    Managing Partner with 11-50 employees
    Reseller
    It scales linearly with load and no issues

    Pros and Cons

    • "We have reduced the number of configuration lines by 90%. We need fewer number of admins right now because of it."
    • "It scales linearly with load and no issues."
    • "All areas need improvement: manufacturing, education, financial, etc."
    it_user798924
    Technical Lead Infrastructure at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    We now have a lot more details about what our users are doing on the network

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to monitor all traffic, so we can do URL filtering with it. We can also use the VPN features, which we have not set up yet, but we know the functionalities are there. In addition, we use it to monitor all our trusted and non-trusted traffic, then block it as appropriate. It does a lot of threat management as well. It is like a threat management gateway and it does some virus scanning. From that perspective, it is really good.

    Pros and Cons

    • "We now know a lot more detail about what our users are doing on the network."
    • "It is very stable. It is fairly easy to use."
    • "I have not actually called their support line, because we have a direct contact to a senior engineer in the company for any issues that we handle with them. I will say they are very responsive, and they do give you the information you need when you need it.​"
    • "The user-friendliness of the UI could be improved."
    • "The interface is all Java-based. I would prefer an HTML5 interface."
    • "Just sometimes it can be a bit sluggish navigating through pages. That is just purely because of Java.​"

    What other advice do I have?

    Make sure you have a detailed plan of what you want to get out of it, you fully understand your network infrastructure beforehand and you have all the IP addresses documented and things that you might need before you actually implement it. Also, it is a feature-rich product, so ensure you have looked at what it can give you, and decide if you need all that functionality in your network. If you do not need it, then you can obviously go for something that is a bit less feature-rich.
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.