SolarWinds Patch Manager and Firewall Security Manager
Approx. c£1,920 for Patch Manager licence; c£830 for Firewall Security Manager licence (both include one-year maintenance)
Strengths: Easy to install and manage; integrates with many other solutions
Weaknesses: Nothing that we found
Verdict: SolarWinds has always had competent products and this one is no exception. It is well worth consideration, especially if other SolarWinds tools are used in the overall installation
Patch Manager and Firewall Security Manager from SolarWinds are two products that can be used together by administrators and security professionals to achieve a full picture of system patch policy and firewall policy auditing.
Patch Manager features a large catalogue of third-party software that is updated consistently to work in tandem with solutions such as Microsoft Windows Update Services. Firewall Security Manager provides the ability to analyse and audit firewall security policy, and ensure that firewalls are secure and compliant with organisation policy.
We found both of these products to be easy to install and configure. Installation files for both had to be downloaded from the SolarWinds customer portal before beginning. To install Firewall Security Manager, we had to run the setup executable on our Windows Server. After a short installation wizard, we had it installed and were able to launch the client application to begin managing our firewalls. Patch Manager was a similar install and took only minutes. Once set up, we were able to access the management console for configuration.
Overall, we found both products to be quite easy to use and manage and to contain an abundance of on-board features, as well as extendable features through integration with other products or applications. For example, Firewall Configuration Manager can integrate directly into Network Configuration Manager from SolarWinds to extend configuration management capabilities to include more auditing and compliance reporting, as well as change management and automation. Patch Manager also can integrate directly into Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to streamline updates and patch management across the entire Microsoft infrastructure. While the integration of these products into others is great, they also stand on their own quite well.
Documentation includes installation and administrator guides in PDF format, all of which are well organised and easy to follow with many step-by-step instructions for installation, configuration and integration. However, the guides did lack screenshots and visuals, which could have better illustrated more complicated configuration steps.
All customers receive the first year of technical support as part of the purchase price of the product. After the first year they can choose to purchase additional aid through an annual agreement for a fee. Customers also have access - at no cost - to a large online community, as well as documentation downloads and other resources.
With prices starting at around c£1,920 for Patch Manager and c£830 for Firewall Security, we find these products to be good value for money overall. However, for some environments the value can go up if some of the tools that can integrate with these are already on hand. We find the true value in both is how well they can integrate and add a large amount of functionality to other products.