By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

The Symantec Clientless VPN Gateway 4420 does its job effectively, with a couple of major drawbacks.

The SCVG cluster that we tested costs $16,700 with a 100-user license. Although the appliances cost $9,500 each, Symantec offers a "high-availability discount" as long as the second unit is used exclusively for backup purposes. The SCVG 4420 started shipping in February.

During tests, the SCVG 4420 proved the most difficult product to integrate into our authentication environment. Tapping into RADIUS was simple, but the LDAP connection process differed just enough to throw us for a loop. The SCVG 4420 does offer a nice wizard for linking to Active Directory, but, according to a document on Symantecs Web site, this process will not work for Windows 2003 Active Directory.

Once connected, the SCVG 4420s policy delegation features proved quite flexible and easy to use, with the ability to define policies at the top of the hierarchical structure and cascade policies to child objects. We liked the handy diagram that visually represented the tiered structure of the roles we created.

It was a breeze to define resources and apply policies, thanks to the SCVG 4420s ability to create rule sets that can be applied to multiple roles. Likewise, customized portals were easy to create and assign.

At the time of our review, the SCVG 4420 did not support the latest version of Sun Microsystems Java Runtime Engine (v1.4.2_04). To get the Java components to work, we had to install an older version (v1.4.2_03) on each remote device.

In any case, file and Web browsing worked well, and access to our SSH (Secure Shell), Telnet and Terminal Services applications went off without a hitch—the Java applets opened on the fly to establish the necessary proxy connection.

Using the full Layer 3 VPN tunnel requires administrative access on the remote machine to install the necessary components.

The SCVG 4420 product has the least advanced high-availability features of all the products we tested. Although it was straightforward to build a cluster, we discovered, to our horror, that the units would not automatically synchronize their configuration.

Symantec officials said they intend to implement a more robust clustering solution when they integrate the SSL VPN software into the Symantec Gateway Security firewall line of products. At that time, officials added, SCVG customers with an active maintenance agreement will be able to upgrade to the all-in-one technology.

Click here to read the next review in this series.
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Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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