Secure Mobile Access 12.0 upgrade is first SonicWall release as independent company

SonicWall wants more of its firewall-focused partners to sell the endpoint-focused SMA together with the firewalls, saying that they are a logical companion sale.

sonicwall_logo_final_transparentSecurity vendor SonicWall has announced its SonicWall SMA [Secure Mobile Access] 1000 Series OS 12.0, an update of its secure access solution for authorized remote and mobile users. It becomes the first product enhancement since SonicWall formally separated from Dell at the beginning of the month. The major enhancement in this release is Global High Availability, which will greatly expand the use of resources.

SMA is an extremely mature product. SonicWall has been selling it since 2007, but the product was actually invented back in 1996, by Aventail. SonicWall acquired it in 2007.

“It is aimed at customers who want a single pane of glass security solution at the edge, with a single access policy for remote services,” said James Whewell, Product Director at SonicWall.

The 1000 series is the high end model of the SMA line, and it scales to the high end of the market. Dell, SonicWall’s old overlord, is also a customer, and has 100 of these appliances deployed.

The big news in this release is Global High Availability, which will increase the capacity of the SMA 1000 to serve larger customers because it improves business continuity capability.

“Version 12.0 focuses a lot on High Availability [HA], addressing this key part of business continuity planning,” Whewell said. “There has been a resurgence of demand in the last 18 months for robust service and core values, to make sure customers can meet their SLAs. The SMA 1000 series provides connectivity to allow home work for snow days or other types of crisis.

“The big advance here is that in previous versions, HA was based on a single data centre and a single rack,” Whewell stressed. “Now, we have enabled full Global HA, which breaks this model. It lets you use all your hardware in an active / active mode, so that you can get much greater use of resources.” It includes a patent pending Global Traffic Optimizer for traffic load balancing with zero-impact failover for high resiliency across data centers. It also includes real-time monitoring across environment performance and user sessions, while delivering active/active configuration for high availability.

“Dynamic pooled licensing, where licenses now flow to available nodes, is now facilitated as a consequence of this,” Whewell added.

Version 12.0 also includes blended single sign-on technology.

“This provides a single pane of glass workplace with resources both in the cloud and on-prem to seamlessly move resources, where you only have to sign in one time,” Whewell said. “This helps customers move to the cloud.”

The new version of SMA also includes the newest cryptographic algorithms, as well as a more intuitive user experience.

“We have refreshed the UI at the portal to give it a more modern look and feel,” Whewell stated. “We have also continually evolved our client access, which is natively written by us, not OEMd like some of our competitors.”

While SonicWall remains best known for its firewalls, the company is strongly emphasizing to its partners that it is about much more than that.

“The independent SonicWall is not just thinking about firewalls,” said Bill Odell, SonicWall’s VP of Corporate Marketing. “This ties into a couple big channel themes, around the cloud and mobility. We want partners selling firewalls to think more about things they can attach to that, to deliver a more holistic solution.”

“We are making inroads with each release to make SMA more relevant to the firewall,” Whewell said. “We now have a direct integration, and with every release, we are bringing the two closer together to make it an attached sale wherever possible.”

Whewell also noted that this version makes things much easier for smaller MSPs who want to sell SMA as a managed service.

“We think that this HA is critical for the channel,” Whewell said. “With this version, the pooled licensing makes it so much easier to offer as a managed service. They can take a Fortune 500 technology and make it available as a managed service offering, whereas before it was really only practical for large MSPs. With this release, we can push SMA across a much wider selection of partners.”

SonicWall SMA 1000 Series supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Chrome OS devices, with up to 20,000 concurrent connections on a single appliance, and the ability to scale to hundreds of thousands of concurrent connections with multiple appliances when managed by SonicWall’s Central Management Server and utilizing dynamic pooled licenses.

SonicWall SMA 1000 Series OS 12.0 is now available at no cost to installed base SonicWall SMA customers with a support contract in place.