Strengths: Powerful feature set, great dashboard and drill-down reporting capabilities
Weaknesses: Pushing configuration is only available for SonicWall devices
Verdict: Solid value that includes some monitoring for non-SonicWall devices. If this weren't a vendor-specific solution it would definitely have scored higher
SonicWall's Global Management System (GMS) is a Java-based web-management platform that allows users to control many key aspects of the vendor's product line. With the help of open standards such as XML, Syslog, HTTPS and SNMP, users can monitor activity in real time, deploy policy changes, run reports, aggregate logs and carry out other functions. GMS 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 global deployments. In our Windows 2003 test environment, the installation ran smoothly.
The performance of the GMS is definitely what SonicWall fans will expect, but deploying configuration changes will only benefit the company's 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 you need. The only drawback is room on the screen. Dashboard views are graphical, but as more and more devices are added to the mix, the screen gets rather crowded. But this is a good problem to have.
One simple yet useful feature is the ability to change your views with a simple right click. This can range from viewing groups of devices based on firmware to seeing all devices grouped by location. Reporting features are very impressive, and an optional ViewPoint reporting mechanism is available to allow drill-down. When combined with the GMS's native capabilities, the system is definitely a superior vendor-specific solution.
Pricing starts at £3,212.40 for 25 managed nodes. Up to 100 monitored nodes are supported in this price tier as well. Help is purchased either as a bundle based on the number of nodes or via a GMS support contract. Overall we feel that SonicWall customers managing a lot of devices will benefit from having GMS within their environment.