The SonicWALL SSL-RX accelerator can be used as a freestanding unit or mounted in a rack as a 1U device. It contains a redundant power supply for reliability.
The heart of the SSL-RX is a 600 MHz IBM 750CXE CPU with 256MB RAM, while a Broadloom 5821 Cryptographic Engine, producing a claimed performance of up to 30,000 concurrent connections and 4,400 1,024-bit RSA operations per second handles the cryptography. The front panel contains two serial ports and two RJ-45 10/100 Ethernet interface ports, a test LED and a reset switch, while the rear panel has the two power connectors and their associated switches. While this is a sensible arrangement, there is no way to prevent unauthorized access to these panels, so the device should only be used within a physically secure environment.
Set-up and configuration was achieved using the QuickStart Wizard from the command line interface over an ordinary serial connection. Once this was complete, it was possible to use a browser-based GUI or a telnet session to monitor the machine and alter its configuration. The device stores the configuration program internally, but a remote configuration manager is available for various platforms, including Linux, Solaris and Windows NT/2000. If it is used in FIPS-compliant mode, then it can only be configured using the serial link. Configuration access can be controlled both by password and access lists, which determine what can be connected. It is also possible to enforce encryption on remote management sessions.
The browser-based interface was particularly clear and easy to navigate, giving easy access to the various control and configuration functions. A useful feature was the way it displayed reminders that the configuration had been modified, with the option to save the changes to flash memory. It is all too easy to forget to save changes when using a command-line interface.
Documentation was good, with plenty of clearly labeled examples.
The SSL-RX provides a number of extra features, including secure URL rewrite, which prevents URL redirects, and back-end encryption. It can also provide SSL acceleration to a server farm, and can be used with content switches and load balancing devices.
On the whole, this appliance provided a no-hassle set up and was, apart from the physical security concerns, well designed with excellent documentation.