Array SPX Series Universal Access Controller
Strengths: Immensely feature-rich product
Weaknesses: User interface can be a bit confusing at the beginning
Verdict: Documentation and ease of use are average, but the rest of the product is superior. This appliance is our Recommended product
The Array Networks SPX Series Universal Access Controller is an appliance that provides a number of features through a browser-based SSL VPN approach. The SPX allows remote file access through SMB, browsing internal websites, access to internal mail servers and standard TCP-based services.
The product supports many different mechanisms for web-browser authentication, including Secure-ID, Radius, LDAP and Active Directory, as well as an easy-to-configure local database. The solution is based on a concept of virtual sites, which allows users to gain access to different resources based on which virtual site is accessed.
The installation of SPX Universal Access Controller is a two-part process. The initial configuration takes place via a serial (DB9) connection and a program such as HyperTerminal. The initial configuration is similar to the common Cisco command, and some familiarity with this command set will simplify the process. This phase of the configuration sets the system's true IP addresses and net masks on the inside and outside interface, as well as the web interface IP address and port for the second phase of the configuration.
Once the initial configuration is done, the real setup occurs via the web interface. The web interface is necessary to configure the initial virtual sites to allow for client connectivity.
The configuration of a simple virtual site is quick, but the user interface offers so many options that it can be confusing at first. It is a good recommendation to attend a quick training session (typically part of the sales process) to get acquainted with the options of the interface as well as the interface itself.
The SPX Universal Access Controller arrives with a pseudo quick-start guide, which walks the user through the configuration via the serial connection. Additional guides are PDF documents launched through the web configuration interface.
Support is offered by phone and a password-protected web in three different tiers - bronze, silver and gold. Onsite installation and training courses are available for a fee.
Offering a considerable feature set and good support at a price of £4,595, Array Networks' SPX Series Universal Access Controller provides excellent value for money.