Exaprotect SolSoft ChangeManager 7.4
Strengths: Powerful drag-and-drop policy creation. Many different features for building and deploying network policies on a large scale.
Weaknesses: The various components have a disparate look and feel. Interface of the project designer has a steeper learning curve than most.
Verdict: Good policy creation features. As an overall solution, it misses the mark in some aspects that you would find in other systems at a similar price.
SummarySolsoft ChangeManager 7.4 is a suite of client server and web components that are primarily used for network security device configuration management, as well as auditing to support change management. The suite allows for several operations or security personnel to centrally create, authorize and deploy policies to several different types of routers, switches, firewalls, VPN and IPS devices.
Initial installation of the product wasn't as smooth as we hoped. The system uses MySQL, and it must be installed on the same host as the database. We configured our license file and our database in the initial steps of the install, but not all components installed on the first pass, and our license file had to be located in a specific directory before we could continue. After a complete reinstall we were up and running.
The product consists of several different components: a project designer, a project report server and the overall server configuration component. The project designer is the heart of the solution. It's a client application for stakeholders who are tasked with creating, editing and managing configuration files and policies. The designer's interface has more of an "engineer" look and feel, rather than a user-friendly interface. However, the drag-and-drop policy creation and the sheer number of features makes up for any aesthetic shortcomings. The tool clearly shines in larger organizations where policy management for disparate devices is often time-consuming. Policy creation also comes with built-in support for roughly 20 different models - from vendors such as Cisco, Juniper/Netscreen, Check Point and others. There is also a nice policy setup wizard for those who aren't quite acclimated to the massive amount of items that you can drag into the designer GUI. The project report server is a component that separates the duties for those particular stakeholders who aren't so much involved with the policy design, but tasked with managing and authorizing the overall deployment and change to devices. Since all tasks are driven on a 'project' basis, the reporting mechanism falls short because it only reports on each project, and it assumes all the information you'll need at the time is contained in that subset of information.
Overall, the product performs well when it comes to creating and deploying network policies at a very granular level. As an overall solution, the components all have a dissimilar interface, as the solution suffers from a tremendous lack of cohesive "look and feel." We would expect a bit more uniformity with the project reporter interface when relating to the rest of the components.
The documentation is presented in a series of PDF files, and is adequate to install and maintain the system.
Pricing for the solution is listed at $35,000. Available support packages include standard, which is 20 percent of the cost on an annual basis. 24/7 support is also available. We feel the cost benefit would only be reaped in larger organizations with many different devices.