Palo Alto PA-5060 is one fast firewall
Palo Alto's new firewall delivered performance 10 times faster than when we tested in 2008.
Network World - Palo Alto's new firewall delivered performance 10 times faster than when we tested in 2008, and came close to its rated capacity of 20Gbps in firewall-only mode, according to our exclusive Clear Choice testing.
Of course, there is always a tradeoff between security and performance. In the case of Palo Alto's PA-5060, it all depends on what features you turn on and off.
Palo Alto has shaken up the firewall market with its "application aware" feature, and we found that this next-generation capability carries no performance penalty. The PA-5060 does application-layer inspection by default.
On the other hand - and this is a pretty big caveat - UTM rates were nowhere near the device's stated 20Gbps limit. Performance was far lower with any UTM feature enabled than when the PA-5060 operated in firewall-only mode.
Regardless of which UTM features we enabled -- intrusion prevention, antispyware, antivirus or any combination of these -- results were essentially the same as if we'd turned on just one such feature. Simply put, there's no extra performance cost, beyond the initial sharp drop in rates, for layering on multiple types of traffic inspection.
Rates also fell when the device handled SSL traffic. And when decrypting SSL traffic, the system's four 10-gigabit Ethernet interfaces ran at rates that would make Fast Ethernet aficionados smile.
Some of this is to be expected. All security devices slow down when handling SSL traffic, and we've seen far bigger drops, in percentage terms, when enabling UTM features.
Overall, we'd characterize the PA-5060 as a capable performer. While it offers many unique application-inspection capabilities, it doesn't quite do away with the perennial question about security-vs.-performance tradeoffs.
Forwarding rate was the primary metric in our tests. We used both mixed and static HTTP loads to measure rates under various configurations, along with separate tests to assess performance for SSL traffic. We also verified the PA-5060's TCP connection capacity and connection setup rate.
The forwarding rate tests clearly show that the PA-5060, which can be equipped with up to four 10-Gbit/s interfaces, runs at least 10 times faster than earlier Palo Alto models.
In a test involving heavy Web traffic with a mix of content types and object sizes, the PA-5060 moved data at around 17Gbps when configured as a firewall.
That's a bit under the system's 20Gbps rated capacity, which isn't altogether surprising since such data-sheet numbers often are obtained using best-case conditions such as a single large object requested over and over.
In contrast, the traffic load we used involved a mix of text, images and binary content of various sizes -- just the sort of Web traffic often seen on enterprise networks. The 17Gbps rate we saw in testing is probably a more meaningful predictor of performance on production networks.
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- Cybersecurity Imperatives: Reinvent your Network Security The Rise of CyberSecurity
- Surescripts Case Study- Securing Keys and Certificates Surescripts implemented Venafi's Trust Protection Platform™ to secure digital keys and certificates, ensure the privacy and confidentiality of electronic clinical information for its...
- Ponemon 2014 SSH Security Vulnerability Report According to research by the Ponemon Institute, 3 out of 4 enterprises have no security controls in place for SSH which leaves organizations...
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.
- Deep Dive into Advanced Networking and Security with Hybrid Cloud Security and networking are among the top concerns when moving workloads to the cloud. VMware vCloud® Hybrid Service™ enables you to extend your... All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!