The NSA E8510 from Dell SonicWALL is a monster security appliance designed for the large enterprise environment. This product features a firewall and integrated intrusion prevention system that scans all network traffic for trojans, software vulnerabilities, application exploits and other malicious code. Aside from the powerful IPS, this product also provides granular user-based application controls that manage bandwidth, control web access, restrict file transfers and scan email attachments preventing data leakage.
The appliance we were sent from the vendor was already licensed and contained an initial configuration, so we did not have a chance to go through the initial setup process. What we can say, however, is that the initial setup process looks quite straightforward based on the documentation. The first step is to register the appliance with SonicWALL by creating a mysonicwall account. After the appliance is registered, the initial configuration is done by accessing the web-based setup wizard using the default IP address of the appliance. This setup wizard allows for selection of the deployment mode and assists in getting the appliance up and running with a basic configuration.
This tool features options that allow for deployment in almost any environment. The NSA offering can be deployed as a full security gateway appliance, in conjunction with another security device, such as an existing firewall or router, or in tandem with another SonicWALL appliance to provide additional security functionality. Aside from deployment flexibility, this product also includes a lot of configuration and policy options. Firewall and security policies can be made to be as granular or as broad as needed with the comprehensive policy engine that is included on the appliance. Each policy rule includes many checkable and configurable options.
Documentation included a detailed getting-started guide that illustrated the steps necessary to get the appliance up and running with an initial configuration, as well as information on deployment options. Other documentation included a full administrator guide and a few supplemental configuration guides. The administrator guide was a massive 1,490-page PDF. It included a high level of detail on how to configure and manage the appliance and its features. This guide was well organized and included many screen shots, step-by-step instructions and configuration examples.
SonicWALL offers support and maintenance contracts in one, two, and three-year increments. Customers can purchase support at various levels of phone- and email-based technical assistance and other options based on contract level. As part of its support offerings, SonicWALL also offers access to a knowledge base, product documentation and product downloads.
At a price just shy of $40,000, this product features quite the price tag. We find it to be a good value for the large enterprise, but probably overkill and way too expensive for smaller environments. With that said, this solution does have a lot to offer in the way of features and functionality - if you can afford it. The SonicWALL NSA E8510 offers robust security features with the high capacity throughput that is needed for even the largest of environments.