SonicWALL's E-Class NSA E6500
Strengths: High-powered device with a great feature set.
Weaknesses: Expensive for most environments.
Verdict: A solid product for the larger enterprise.
SonicWall comes back this year with a new appliance that we have not seen before. The E-Class appliance is designed with the large enterprise in mind. This product features not only an advanced application firewall and a VPN, but it also includes a full threat protection suite. This suite brings together features such as gateway anti-virus, anti-spyware and an IPS that protects against viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, software vulnerabilities and other malicious code, as well as a web URL and content filter. We were especially impressed with its feature set.
This product was simple to use straight from the box. Once the device was in place we just had to go to the web-based GUI and complete a short setup wizard and the device was up and running. Ease of use typically can be a problem for such a feature-rich product, but the redesigned user interface circumvents these expected shortcomings.
We found this product to have high performance both against attacks and in policy configuration. Policies can be configured with a high amount of granularity quickly and easily, with most policies requiring just a check in a box. This appliance also has a nice security dashboard, which gives various statistics and charts at a glance. Reports are solid and comprehensive.
Documentation for this product is quite encompassing and in-depth. The getting started guide features not only initial configuration, but some advance setup as well. Also provided on a CD are various PDF guides that focus on features or configurations. All documentation is easy to follow and well illustrated with screen shots and diagrams. With this comprehensive documentation we had no trouble setting up, configuring and operating the appliance.
SonicWALL offers support contracts for this appliance at about $3,200 for one year. Customers can also access the support area of the website for documentation, FAQs, technical notes, forums, and their support portal.
At a price just shy of $14,000 before a support contract, this product sits at the high end of the price scale. However with that said, it does offer a lot of power and is designed for the larger enterprise environment. We find this product to be a good value for money for the large enterprise.