Cisco edges F5 in VPN shoot-out

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WatchGuard, Barracuda, Dell, F5 Networks, and Cisco security appliances all deliver impressive features

Connecting remotely to network servers is a fact of life for millions of end-users. Whether working from a PC or a mobile device, users rely on secure, reliable remote connections to maintain their productivity.

We tested five products that deliver remote SSL/VPN connectivity: WatchGuard SSL 560, Barracuda SSL VPN 380, Dell SonicWall EX-7000, F5 Networks BIG-IP Edge Gateway 3900 Platform and Cisco's ASA 5515-X security appliance.

We found each of these products to be capable, fully mature and established in the marketplace, which made it a bit of a challenge to choose a winner. Our top pick, the Cisco ASA 5515-X security appliance narrowly edged out the competition. While it didn't dominate in every category, the Cisco ASA 5515-X won top billing due to its rich feature set, powerful and granular configuration options and overall balance of capacity and features.

The other four products were essentially all runners-up, each with unique features that make them suitable for implementation, depending upon individual remote connectivity requirements. The SonicWall EX-7000 and F5 Big-IP appliances are higher capacity units that can handle up to 5,000 and 60,000 concurrent users respectively.

The Barracuda SSL VPN 380 and WatchGuard SSL 560 fall more into the mid-range with the ability to handle concurrent users in the hundreds. Beyond capacity, which may narrow the field for organizations needing to support large numbers of users in a high throughput environment, choosing an SSL VPN solution is largely a matter of matching features to remote connectivity requirements.

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