SonicWALL's Global Management System (GMS) is a Java-based web management platform that allows users to manage many key aspects of SonicWALL's product line. Using open standards, such as XML, Syslog, HTTPS and SNMP, users can monitor activity in real time using several useful views of the world, deploy policy changes, run reports, aggregate logs and a host of other functions. The GMS system can also monitor some non-SonicWALL devices using TCP/IP or SNMP.

The product installs on Windows 2003 using MS SQL 2005, but options to use Solaris and Oracle are available for larger scale global deployments. In our Windows 2003 test environment, the installation ran without a hitch.

Performance of the GMS is definitely what SonicWALL customers will expect, but deploying configuration changes will only benefit its customers, even though non-SonicWALL devices can be monitored. There are plenty of views, configuration features, reports and other options to manage SonicWALL devices in an infrastructure. From throughput monitoring to log aggregation and configuration updates, the dashboard makes an easy task of managing a single device or a thousand. The interface has all the bells and whistles that are needed. The only drawback to the interface is room on the screen. Dashboard views are graphical, but as more and more devices are added to the mix, real estate on the screen to read the activity becomes precious. But this is definitely a good problem to have. One of the more simple, yet useful, features is the ability to simply right click the interface and change your views. This can range from viewing groups of devices based on firmware, to viewing all of your devices grouped by location.

Pricing starts at $4,995 for 25 managed nodes. Up to 100 monitored nodes is supported in this price tier. Support is available via phone or email. Support is purchased as either a bundle based on the number of nodes, or through a comprehensive GMS support contract. Overall, we feel that SonicWALL customers who are managing a high number of devices will benefit by implementing GMS within their environment.