Many of today's UTM boxes have their roots in Linux. Which perform best?

The InfoWorld Test Center attacks Astaro, SonicWall, WatchGuard, and ZyXel firewalls, and only one puts up a fight. Indeed, a rapidly growing number of small and mid-size companies are opting for the administrative and operational simplicity of the single-box solution. And so we decided that UTMs aimed at the mid-size company were the perfect group to use for the rollout of InfoWorld's new firewall and UTM test protocols. When we began this process well over a year ago, we asked for input from virtually every firewall and UTM vendor we knew, and we invited every UTM vendor we could find to send us an appliance to test. In the end, four vendors answered the call. Astaro, SonicWall, WatchGuard, and ZyXel submitted units for this first set of tests.

Although all four fulfill the basic definition of a UTM -- combining firewall, VPN, intrusion detection and prevention, anti-malware, anti-spam, and Web content filtering -- we could not have asked for four more diverse units. There are differences in basic approaches to security (by default, allow most normal traffic or allow absolutely nothing), differences in administration capabilities, big differences in throughput, and most important of all, immense differences in effectiveness against malware.

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