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I've been evaluating a Juniper NetScreen SSG-20 for a few weeks now.
I'm happy with the device but am a little concerned about the ongoing costs of ownership. I don't mind paying but I want to get value for that payment.
For example, any and all additional services such as spam, virus, security auditing, everything, has an additional yearly maintenance cost.
On the other hand, there are so many well developed, very mature firewall products out there which are open source, which include many of these features, at less of a yearly cost. It simply sounds better to put my money into an open source project, supporting it through a support contract any time I can.
What are your thoughts on this? And, if you are using or have used an SSG, do you know of an open source solution which walks and talks just like the ScreenOS? I ask this because I am trying this after now moving away from Watchguard so would want the learning curve to be as little as possible considering the trouble we went through in converting for this trial.
SSG is one of the "top-tier" commercial products, certainly much more well-regarded than WatchGuard. Juniper are well-known for building very high-throughput devices, so if performance is a primary concern it's unlikely that you'd be able to build something from scratch that would rival it. I guess it depends on what your main criteria are.
I have a Checkpoint UTM-1 for my firewall, It has all those capabilities as well. but I use external appliances for inline SPAM, AV, and Content Filtering, etc.. Products from Barracuda, and Fortinet are built on OSS base with their custom front ends.
Yes I could build similar functionality with all Open Source products, but it's easier for me to pay a subscription fee and have the units kept up to date automatically with minimal interaction from me. I have too much to do already to worry about tweaking things. and a single phone call gets me a replacement appliance overnight if it fails.
I also don't like putting all that load on my firewall.. Offload that work to another server or appliance.
I guess what I am saying is yes you can get the functionality with open source, if you have the time to tweak and admin those boxes as well. I never did get Spamassassin to filter as well as the Barracuda Spam firewall, although I'm sure others have.