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Array Networks’ SPX-5000

Dec 19, 20052 mins
Network SecurityNetworkingSecurity

Best suited for carrier environments.

Summary of Clear Choice Test of Array Networks’ SPX-5000.

Data sheet for Array Networks’ SPX-5000
Price as tested: $29,000
Overall score: 2.9

Array’s SPX SSL VPN appliances (which come in your choice of short, bright orange box, or tall, bright orange box) has a features list like you wouldn’t believe. However, based on our testing of the SPX-5000, we’ve concluded that the company seems to have short-changed its quality-assurance process (at least on the Version 7.3.1 we tested), as we were continually frustrated in our testing by niggling bugs and poor implementations. The problems we ran into ranged from trivial to serious matters that should have triggered the release blocker button in the development labs, with the worst of them centering on its Web-based GUI that we found to be both poorly designed and badly implemented (see manageability test results).

However, Array did prove that its engineers are the virtualization experts. The product design team went to great pains to make sure that everything about the product, from IP addressing and virtual LANs (VLAN) to management, is properly segregated.

Combine that virtualization design goal with a defective GUI, weak security-policy tools (see results of policy testing), and service-provider features such as heavy-duty SNMP monitoring functionality and the ability to pull security policy directly from a RADIUS or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol directory, and it’s obvious that this product fits best with service providers and not with enterprise customers.

The Array team demonstrated that for any single application and usage scenario, its product could absolutely be made to work by playing with the knobs until it passed the test. However, if you’ve got a generic extranet environment with multiple applications, tight security requirements and cross-platform compatibility necessities, Array should not be on your short list.

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