Strengths: Scales well for the largest environments
Weaknesses: Complex setup makes configuration take a bit longer
Verdict: A firewall for large enterprises with a high price and a feature set that keeps the unit out of SMEs' reach
Running on a 3U rack-mounted device, the StoneGate FW-5000 provides two ethernet interfaces that can be addressed and configured separately.
It is primarily a stateful inspection-based firewall, with additional inspection options that allow the appliance to perform deep-packet inspection by looking into the data portion of packets for specific application configuration.
Stonesoft's offering provides standard logging and advanced reporting through the use of a separate management station. The StoneGate is built on distributed architecture.
The management is provided through a central management station and the firewalling component is installed on the inspection agent that is the StoneGate itself.
The appliance differs from the others in this review in that it can block traffic from the management interface in real time.
The installation is a simpler process than that of other enterprise-class firewalls. The rack-mount device uses the VGA port and a PS/2 keyboard port to perform the initial configuration. At the first instance, this takes place through a Linux-based menu system used to configure the primary interfaces as well as point the inspection engine to the primary management server.
The initial configuration also sets the administration password for future logins to the device. If you are managing more than one StoneGate appliance, the configuration can be imported from a USB stick or from a floppy drive.
The box ships with a brief getting-started guide that provides information on the initial configuration and mounting the physical device in a rack-mount configuration.
Support is available in two offerings from Stonesoft. The basic option features call logging via web and phone between 8am and 5pm, next business-day response time, software updates and a hardware replacement service, while premium support offers 24/7 call logging via web and phone and a two-hour response time, as well as the software updates and a hardware replacement service.
The pricing for the StoneGate FW-5000 is £23,731, which puts Stonesoft's product at the upper end of the scale for this group test.