Fast-forwarding firewall faceoff

SonicWall comes out on top in performance tests, but trade-offs remain

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Next-generation firewalls claim to identify application-layer attacks and enforce application-specific policies while delivering top-notch performance, even with advanced security features turned on.

In the first installment of this two-part Clear Choice test, we tackle the performance issue, evaluating NGFWs from Barracuda, Check Point, Fortinet and SonicWall (recently acquired by Dell). On May 7, we'll present Joel Snyder's analysis of the features and functionality of these same devices.

Our overall conclusion is that next-gen firewalls are getting faster, and the tradeoff between speed and security is definitely getting smaller, but it's still there.

While all devices moved traffic at multi-gigabit rates while doing application inspection - the feature that separates a next-gen firewall from a traditional firewall - forwarding rates fell when we offered SSL traffic, and plummeted when we turned on SSL decryption.

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