Winfrasoft Gateway Appliance 6500-DE review
A classy Forefront TMG 2010 solution, with a quality hardware platform and a good selection of software utilities
Review Date: 28 Jan 2011
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £3,400 (£4,080 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
UK firm Winfrasoft specialises in Microsoft-based security appliances, and aims to make its mark by offering a range of unique features. One of its main competitors is Celestix and in this exclusive review we find out why Winfrasoft thinks it has the better choice.
As with the Celestix MSA 1500i, Winfrasoft's 6500-DE runs Microsoft's Forefront TMG 2010, but whereas Celestix uses proprietary hardware platforms, the 6500-DE employs a standard Dell PowerEdge R610 rack server, which is on the PC Pro A-List.
Winfrasoft also uses industry-standard servers from HP and operates an open-box policy, so users can upgrade their systems. The warranty includes Dell's on-site maintenance, which can be upgraded.
The installation wizard helps set up the four Gigabit ports for LAN, WAN and DMZ duties. It also activates Winfrasoft's monitoring agent for software updates, remote support and alerting.
You can adjust network settings and choose from four operational templates. We opted for a standard edge firewall deployment and pushed the TMG client to our test systems, which saved us time as it sorted out their proxy settings.
From here on, you'll find the same TMG features as you will with Celestix's appliances. The 6500-DE provides inbound and outbound security gateway services with IPsec VPNs, forward and reverse web proxies and web caching.
The standard package includes an SPI firewall, HTTPS traffic inspection and Microsoft's NIS (network inspection system). To activate anti-virus scanning and URL filtering you'll need a Web Protection Service subscription, and costs will depend on your current Microsoft support agreements.
Anti-spam is provided by ForeFront Protection for Exchange, which doesn't support third-party mail servers. It's easy to configure as its snaps into the main TMG console and provides wizards for creating email security and spam detection policies.
The management console provides quick access to server settings and the VPN-Q 2010 utility. Prior to allowing a VPN connection, it places a remote client in quarantine while it runs end point scans to determine whether the system meets minimum requirements, which can include patches, firewall status and specific software.
The price also includes a fully licensed local copy of Paragon's Drive Backup 10.0 Server Edition. This provides file and disk image-based backup facilities along with full disaster recovery and bare metal system restores.
Winfrasoft's TMG 2010 package is a better choice than Celestix's alternatives as its hardware platforms are industry standard, it can be field-upgraded and comes with a superior warranty. The 6500-DE is also easy to install and deploy, and Winfrasoft's bumper bundle of extra software adds even more value.
Author: Dave Mitchell
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