Panda GateDefender Performa 9500 review

Panda has updated its Performa web content security appliances with some much needed improvements. Our live tests show anti-spam performance for the 9500 is exemplary but is this enough to justify the price? Read our review to find out.

Price
£6,400

Panda Security may be best known for its anti-virus software but it's been busy building up an impressive range of security appliances. It has two distinct GateDefender product lines with the Integra family offering full UTM services including SPI firewalling, IPsec VPNs and intrusion prevention.

The Performa appliances are designed to sit behind an existing firewall and provide content security management which includes anti-spam, anti-malware, web filtering plus IM and P2P app controls. In this review we put the enterprise level Performa 9500 through its paces in the lab to see how it measures up.

Two versions of the 9500 are available with the Lite version on review capable of handling up to 18,000 concurrent connections and a 550MB/s throughput for HTTP traffic. The unimaginatively named Large model supports the same number of connections but a slightly higher hardware spec boosts HTTP throughput to 700MB/sec.

Panda stands out for its choice of hardware platform as it's one of very few network security vendors that uses Oracle's Sun Fire rack servers. This is a good choice as the Sun Fire X4140 is a well-specified 1U rack server.

The 9500 functions as transparent gateway so it is very easy to deploy. You can ignore the four embedded Gigabit Ethernet ports in the server as Panda has fitted a separate dual-port Gigabit card which incorporates a hardware bypass switch. The bypass means if the appliance dies on you it won't take your Internet connection with it. The 9500 also supports load balancing across a pair of appliances for even greater fault tolerance.

We certainly had no problems deploying the 9500 in the lab as we dropped it between our LAN and WAN with only the briefest of interruptions to Internet services. Panda has redesigned its web management interface which we found very easy to use.

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