Last fall, SonicWall announced a series of announcements across their network security portfolio that they described as the biggest set of solution announcements in their history. Now they are announcing a series of betas around what they are terming significant new innovations in the cloud and the endpoint, They involve their SonicWall Network Security (NSv) virtual next-generation firewalls, the SonicWall virtual web application firewall, and the SonicWall Capture Client. They are also running a beta for the new SonicOS 6.5.1, which includes support for new firewall APIs.
“We have been very busy since our product releases last September and October,” said Bill Conner, SonicWall’s CEO. “We have been running the largest number of betas in the company’s history, and these three new ones are breakthrough innovations that extend SonicWall to future innovations in the cloud and the endpoint. This is about extending our platform and addressable market in major new ways – virtual firewalls, endpoint, and web application firewall – with one platform and the same brand, truly integrated, with common software underneath.”
While this enhances customer choice, Conner said that the real priority here was to have the exact same feature functionality and the same user experience, regardless of where the solutions are deployed.
“We rewrote the code because we want the same feature functionality on all the appliances, which was something that we did not have before,” he said. ‘Whether you run these in a private cloud or a public cloud, on VMware, AWS or our SuperMassives, you will have the same effectiveness and user experience. We are the only ones that will be able to do that. These solutions are also much more intuitive now for customers and partners to manage and administer.”
Conner said that the SonicOS 6.5.1 beta was extremely significant.
This SonicOS for our virtual firewalls builds a common OS across all appliances – including the private cloud and public cloud,” he said. “It also finally opens the SonicOS for commercial grade APIs in a new ecosystem.”
Conner said this is far superior to the API sharing capability that existed before.
“That was much more limited,” he said. “We had some one-way agreements, and a few two-way ones, but it wasn’t an open architecture with commercial-grade APIs.
Conner says that the upgrade here moves SonicWall ahead of their competition.
“That feature functionality runs across all our platforms,” he said. “Our competitors have rich sets of APIs, but they are by product and not by platform.”
Conner said SonicWall customers and partners can expect to see multiple significant API integrations rolled out in short order once commercial availability is reached.
“The engineering team came to us, in the field, and to the partner base, and they asked us which integrations would be most valuable to the channel,” said Steve Pataky, Senior Vice President, and Chief Revenue Officer at SonicWall.
Conner thinks that the SonicWall Capture Client, which stems from the partnership SonicWall announced with SentinelOne last September, has a particularly strong opportunity to expand partners’ markets.
“With this, we now have a Capture client with best of firewall and endpoint in a common platform,” Conner said. “If endpoints get contaminated, we can now roll back to a previous instance with a point and click. That’s a huge deal.”
“For MSPs in particular, that rollback capability is money in the bank,” Pataky said. “Now small partners can offer a level of remediation that you haven’t seen before, outside of the big guys. That’s very enabling for the channel.”
“People say we are late to the market on endpoint,” Conner added. “It is late for enterprise, yes, but we are focused on medium and small business. In this segment of the business, these are incredibly important capabilities, and end users and partners don’t yet have the abilities to do this.”
The new SonicWall web application firewall provides context-aware protection for web applications hosted in public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure, by performing Layer 7-aware deep packet inspection on all web traffic. The new SonicWall NSv virtual firewall is a full-featured firewall service for virtual environments that provides the same deep packet inspection, security controls and networking services equivalent to that of SonicWall physical firewalls.
“We’ve got a lot of great feedback from partners from our using the same SonicWall code across the different environments,” Pataky said. “That relieves a big piece of the enablement burden, that there are not separate rules for this device versus this one, versus that one.”
Pataky said that while they don’t expect all of SonicWall’s 20,000 partners to immediately embrace these new technologies, they are gearing up their enablement capabilities for those that will.
“It all comes down to the enablement engine, with SonicWall university and putting real world-class training in place,” he indicated. “We know that our entire channel won’t go there, that it’s about segmenting, but those who understand where the industry is headed will.”
The new solutions will enable SonicWall partners to have new conversations with their existing customer base, as well as address new customers.
“These are all about providing new opportunities for partners to take to market,” said John Gordineer, SonicWall’s director of product marketing. ‘It will allow them to have a slightly different discussion with their existing customer base, and gives them greater depth and breadth of portfolio to expand that base.”
The new solutions are scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2018.