IT Pro Verdict
Businesses planning on deploying Microsoft’s Forefront TMG 2010 will find Winfrasoft’s appliances a far easier way of doing so than sourcing their own hardware and installing it all themselves. There are a lot of choices on the market, but the 9500-DE stands out with its classy hardware platform and superior warranty. Winfrasoft’s open-box policy means you can upgrade as required and the extra backup and VPN software makes it even better value.
Most security appliance vendors use proprietary hardware platforms which cannot be upgraded to cope with increased demand and will need to be completely replaced. UK-based Winfrasoft avoids this extra expense as all its Microsoft powered appliances are delivered as Tier-1 platforms that can be field upgraded.
On review is the Gateway Appliance 9500-DE which comes with Microsoft's Forefront TMG (Threat Management Gateway) 2010 loaded on a Dell PowerEdge R710 rack server . It has enough horsepower to manage a large number of users. As long as you use Dell certified hardware you can upgrade it without invalidating the warranty.
Whereas most competing vendors only have a one year RTB warranty, the 9500-DE comes as standard with three-year, on-site service from Dell. This can be upgraded to Silver or Gold support if you want a quicker response. The 9500-DE on review came supplied with Windows Server 2008 Standard 64-bit and TMG Workgroup Edition but it's powerful enough to run any of the five versions of TMG.
For installation you connect a local monitor, mouse and keyboard, fire up the appliance and follow Winfrasoft's wizard. This assists with setting up the four Gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN, WAN and DMZ duties and starts Winfrasoft's monitoring agent which manages software updates and remote support connections.
For ongoing management we left the appliance headless and managed it via RDP. The WAM (Winfrasoft Appliance Management) utility provides swift access to the main TMG console where you can run its own setup wizard. This provides four templates which cover all the main deployment methods and we chose the edge firewall option which uses two network ports.
The price includes Paragon's Drive Backup 10 Server Edition software for appliance backup and restore facilities. It runs scheduled file and image based backups and, along with file and disk recovery tools and supports bare metal system restores.
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.