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Barracuda F-Series: Firewall Overview and Analysis

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See our complete list of top next-generation firewall vendors.

Bottom Line

Not every NGFW vendor offers strong cloud support, but it's an area where Barracuda shines: With support for AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and VMware vCloud Air, the company's cloud capabilities are market-leading, and strong VPN features support distributed office use cases.

Company Description

Barracuda Networks provides security, networking and storage products based on network appliances and cloud services. Its customer base spans 150,000 organizations in more than 100 countries. Based in Silicon Valley, it has more than 1,000 employees, more than 5,000 partners, and offices in 15 countries.

Product Description

Barracuda is grouped among many others as a Niche Player in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. The Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series is a family of hardware, virtual and cloud-based appliances designed to protect a hybrid network at the headquarters, cloud location, and every WAN endpoint. It achieves this by integrating the full set of NGFW technologies, including Layer 7 application control, intrusion prevention, web filtering, malware and advanced treat protection (ATP), anti-spam and network access control. Additionally, the full stack of SD-WAN capabilities is included with every appliance: VPN tunnel sharing across multiple physical uplinks; performance-based routing and link selection depending on uplink health status; application-based routing; protocol VPN technology; traffic management; bandwidth compression; and caching. Cloud integration, connectivity and central management are built into the core of the product. It is also integrated into the cloud frameworks of Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

"Today's firewall architectures were primarily designed for traditional network topologies where the LAN is protected from Internet-based threats, and traffic from smaller locations is backhauled to a central location, with enterprise applications hosted in a central data center," said Darius Goodall, senior director of product marketing at Barracuda. "Modern network topologies are characterized by a larger amount of globally dispersed locations, SaaS-based applications and adoption of public cloud platforms. This imposes new requirements on firewalls."

Features

Security and performance: Very Good. NSS Labs gave the CloudGen F800 a 95.4% security effectiveness rating, strong but a few percentage points from the leaders. The device's 5,037 Mbps performance was also very good.

Value: Good. NSS Labs gave Barracuda an $8 TCO per protected Mbps, in the middle of the pack.

Implementation: Tops. Barracuda scored very high marks here. One user described the implementation as "fun," if you can believe that.

Management: Tops. One customer: "The product just works. I like the GUI on the F-series the best. It's more simplified than coding from scratch, but not so dumbed down that you feel disconnected from the details."

Support: Tops. Not many vendors can claim happy customers in the support department, but Barracuda came out on top here. One customer said Barracuda support engineers take the time to explain the problem and solution, and even find problems that aren't Barracuda-related.

Cloud features: Tops. In an area where many firewall vendors lag, Barracuda has put a lot of effort into supporting cloud environments. See the Delivery section below for more details.

Barracuda firewall chart

Markets and Use Cases

Barracuda is strong in central and southern EMEA and North America. Customers tend to be mid-sized to large enterprises with globally dispersed wide area networks or those who need uninterrupted secure connectivity to cloud resources. Further use cases include: secure branch office connectivity with MPLS replacement; direct branch to cloud internet breakout with security enforcement at the branch; cloud multi-tier architecture/network segmentation in the cloud; hybrid multi-tier architecture cloud/on-premises; remote access to cloud resources; cross-cloud connectivity; on-premises perimeter firewall; and on-premises internal network segmentation.

Security Qualifications

NSS Labs CAWS Continuous Security Validation, ICSA labs certified enterprise firewall, FIPS-140-2 certified OpenSSL-based crypto library, and a certified cryptographic kernel module.

Intelligence

Barracuda's Advanced Threat Protection cloud service utilizes various machine leaning and intelligence features to identify potential malware.

Delivery

19 on-premises models ranging from small desktop form factor to 2U datacenter 40 Gbps+ appliance. Virtual versions for VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen, OpenXen, and KVM. Cloud version for Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google GCP, OVH vCloudAir, and ProfitBricks PublicCloud.

Agents

No mandatory agents. For remote access, it provides SSL-VPN clients for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux and FreeBSD. For authentication, there is a windows agent for installation on the domain.

Pricing

The lowest end appliance is priced at $681 plus support, while high-end appliance are around $100,000. It's hard to find a vendor more open about pricing – you can find all U.S. pricing details here: https://www.barracuda.com/purchase/index.

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