Much of the new technology SonicWALL is previewing on their roadmap at PEAK16 is under media embargo. One element that is not though, is a major one. SonicWALL is announcing a technology preview of its Cloud GMS, which is scheduled for availability in Q4.
LAS VEGAS – This year’s PEAK event – the third and last under Dell’s purview – is displaying an interesting paradox. As SonicWALL prepares to emerge from Dell into a separate pure-play security company in November, a key differentiation for the company is its technology, which the company sees as well suited for the enterprise, even though their customer base remains largely in the SMB. Yet for many of the assembled partners – 768 this year – learning more about SonicWALL’s business strategy as a separate company is also a top priority.
SonicWALL has addressed this by providing what information they can about the philosophy and policies that will guide the new company. However, they also sought to highlight what they see as key technology breakthroughs that will spur the new SonicWALL’s growth. And while some of these were off-limits to media reporting, one that was not is their Cloud Global Management System (GMS). Its technology preview was announced at the show.
Patrick Sweeney, SonicWALL’s VP Marketing and Product Management, said that a Cloud GMS had become indispensable.
“We are moving to cloud management,” he said. “We have to. That’s the way the world has gone.”
Boris Yanovsky, SonicWALL’s CTO and VP Development Engineering, acknowledged that while adapting their GMS system to the cloud was an absolute necessity, it also posed challenges.
“We recognized there were some things we needed to change,” Yanovsky said. “We could see that the reporting our current GMS relies on is not going to scale for millions of firewalls in the cloud. So we pulled it back, and we re-architected it a little bit. It is a much more compact way of sending data so we can scale a lot better.”
The SonicWALL Cloud GMS will be offered to partners on a low cost monthly subscription model, based on the number of firewalls under management. It provides single pane of glass management for all the settings of its firewall, wireless access point, and switches, along with over 60 comprehensive and fully customizable reports.
Yanovsky acknowledged that the reports are not yet at the same level as the on-prem GMS 8, but said that it is coming — eventually.
“We don’t yet have full reporting capability with Cloud GMS – and that will be added over time,” he said. “Some firewall management things are missing. You won’t get an alert for a fan blowing out or things like that. Yet even though some things are missing, it is a great opportunity.”
The cloud hosted GMS will also significantly reduce truck rolls.
“Our vision with this is Zero Touch Management,” Yanovsky said. “Instead of sending a firewall to the customer, and they deploy the IP address and change everything and configure the firewall, they will just plug it in, and the firewall discovers the cloud infrastructure and begins to provision itself.”
Partners clearly see a need for this, to the point where some have already built systems of their own to do the same thing.
“It’s something we have been asking for a lot in the past, to the point where we have deloyed our own methodology of managing remote users,” said Farhan Selod, the technical lead at Toronto-based partner Eastbay IT Consulting. “Now that there’s a fully supported product, it is certainly something we should use.”
The SonicWALL Cloud GMS solution is presently in a limited release beta, with an expanded beta scheduled for the fall. Expected availability is in the fourth quarter of 2016, most likely later in the quarter. By that point, SonicWALL’s marketing department will also have renamed it with a sexier badge, through the same process by which their advanced threat protection service became Capture.