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Palo Alto Networks VM-Series vs pfSense comparison

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Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Palo Alto Networks VM-Series vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"One of the most valuable features is the AMP. It's very good and very reliable when it comes to malicious activities, websites, and viruses.""One of the most valuable features of Firepower 7.0 is the "live log" type feature called Unified Event Viewer. That view has been really good in helping me get to data faster, decreasing the amount of time it takes to find information, and allowing me to fix problems faster. I've found that to be incredibly valuable because it's a lot easier to get to some points of data now.""The implementation is pretty straightforward.""I have integrated it for incidence response. If there is a security event, the Cisco firewall will automatically block the traffic, which is valuable.""If you compare the ASA and the FirePOWER, the best feature with FirePOWER is easy to use GUI. It has most of the same functionality in the Next-Generation FirePOWER, such as IPS, IPS policies, security intelligence, and integration and identification of all the devices or hardware you have in your network. Additionally, this solution is user-friendly.""I have experience with URL filtering, and it is very good for URL filtering. You can filter URLs based on the categories, and it does a good job. It can also do deep packet inspection.""Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports.""The feature set is fine and is rarely a problem."

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"With the improved visibility we now have, the traffic is being properly monitored, which means that we are better able to manage it. These are improvements that we saw very quickly.""The VM series has an advantage over the physical version because we are able to change the sources that the machine has, such as the amount of available RAM.""In Palo Alto the most important feature is the App-ID.""The most valuable feature is the Posture Assessment.""The feature that I have found the most useful is that it meets all our requirements technically.""The most valuable features are web control and IPS/IDS.""The most valuable feature is that you can control your traffic flowing out and coming it, allowing you to apply malware and threat protection, as well as vulnerability checks.""It has excellent scalability."

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"The documentation is very good.""I like the connectivity to the open VPN. It's very smooth.""One of the advantages of pfSense is that it is very easy to work with. It is a very good open-source solution, and it works really well. pfSense provides a complete package. For some features, it could be the first solution in the world. It is a very good alternative in the market for a firewall solution. You don't need to go to Cisco or other brands with expensive firewalls. pfSense also allows us to offer some support services.""I like pfSense's security features.""I especially like the VPN part. It works like a charm.""I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal.""My technicians find the pfSense's web interface very useful. It is very easy to use. pfSense is very reliable and stable. We like the OpenVPN clients that can be deployed using pfSense very much.""The main features of this solution are customization and ease to use."

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Cons
"The initial setup could be simplified, as it can be complex for new users.""We cannot have virtual domains, which we can create with FortiGate. This is something they should add in the future. Additionally, there is a connection limit and the FMC could improve.""The Firepower FTD code is missing some old ASA firewalls codes. It's a small thing. But Firepower software isn't missing things that are essential, anymore.""I believe that the current feature set of the device is very good and the only thing that Cisco should work on is improving the user experience with the device.""I would like to see improvement when you create policies on Snort 3 IPS on Cisco Firepower. On Snort 2, it was more like a UI page where you had some multiple choices where you could tweak your config. On Snort 3, the idea is more to build some rules on the text file or JSON file, then push it. So, I would like to see a lot of improvements here.""I would like it to have faster deployment times. A typical deployment could take two to three minutes. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. It is better than it was in the past, but it could always use improvement.""This product is managed using the Firepower Management Center (FMC), but it would be better if it also supported the command-line interface (CLI).""Implementations require the use of a console. It would help if the console was embedded."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"Palo Alto is that it is really bad when it comes to technical support.""In the next release, I would like to see better integration between the endpoints and the firewalls.""The command-line interface is something that some people struggle with and I think that they should have an option to go straight to the GUI.""There should be an option for direct integration with the Azure platform.""The product needs improvement in their Secure Access Service Edge.""It would be helpful if we had a direct number for the support manager or the supporting engineer. That would be better than having to email every time because there would be less wait.""I would like to have automatic daily reporting, such as how many users have connected via SSL VPN.""It'll help if Palo Alto Networks provided better documentation."

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"The hotspot and the portal feature in this solution are not stable for WiFi access. We use it at least once or twice every day and it crashes. Some modules can be better by improving detection and having new updates. Additionally, we have some issues with clustering and load balancing that could improve.""I have been using WireGuard VPN because it is a lot faster and more secure than an open VPN. However, in the latest version of pfSense, they have removed this feature, which is one of the main features that I need. They should include this feature.""The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus.""There's a bit of a learning curve during the initial implementation.""The main problem with pfSense is that it lacks adequate ransomware protection.""It needs to be more secure.""The interface is not very shiny and attractive.""ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco pricing is premium. However, they gave us a 50 to 60 percent discount."
  • "There are additional implementation and validation costs."
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of this solution is very high for some parts of Africa, which makes it a challenge."
  • "Palo Alto can be as much as two times the price of competing products that have twice the capabilities."
  • "The cost of this product varies from customer to customer and the relationship with IBM, including how many offerings from IBM are already being used."
  • "Because I work for a university and the URL is for the institution, it's a free license for us."
  • "It is not the cheapest on the market. The total cost for two firewall instances is $75,000. This includes licenses, deployment fees, and support for two years."
  • "The VM series is licensed annually."
  • "Palo Alto definitely needs to be more competitive compared to other products. The problem that I have faced is that the price of licensing is very high and not very competitive."
  • More Palo Alto Networks VM-Series Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This solution provides enterprise-level features at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise firewall."
  • "It is an open source firewall."
  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
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    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Learn More
    Overview

    Cisco NGFW firewalls deliver advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from
    small/branch offices to high performance data centers and service providers. Available in a wide
    range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Advanced threat
    defense capabilities include Next-generation IPS (NGIPS), Security Intelligence (SI), Advanced
    Malware Protection (AMP), URL filtering, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), and flexible VPN
    features. Inspect encrypted traffic and enjoy automated risk ranking and impact flags to reduce event
    volume so you can quickly prioritize threats. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering
    for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.
    Cisco Firepower NGFWv is the virtualized version of Cisco's Firepower NGFW firewall. Widely
    deployed in leading private and public clouds, Cisco NGFWv automatically scales up/down to meet
    the needs of dynamic cloud environments and high availability provides resilience. Also, Cisco NGFWv
    can deliver micro-segmentation to protect east-west network traffic.
    Cisco firewalls provide consistent security policies, enforcement, and protection across all your
    environments. Unified management for Cisco ASA and FTD/NGFW physical and virtual firewalls is
    delivered by Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO), with cloud logging also available. And with Cisco
    SecureX included with every Cisco firewall, you gain a cloud-native platform experience that enables
    greater simplicity, visibility, and efficiency.
    Learn more about Cisco’s firewall solutions, including virtual appliances for public and private cloud.

    The VM-Series is a virtualized form factor of our next-generation firewall that can be deployed in a range of private and public cloud computing environments based on technologies from VMware, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Citrix and KVM.

    The VM-Series natively analyzes all traffic in a single pass to determine the application identity, the content within, and the user identity. These core elements of your business can then be used as integral components of your security policy, enabling you to improve your security efficacy through a positive control model and reduce your incident response time though complete visibility into applications across all ports.

    In both private and public cloud environments, the VM-Series can be deployed as a perimeter gateway, an IPsec VPN termination point, and a segmentation gateway, protecting your workloads with application enablement and threat prevention policies.

    Providing comprehensive network security solutions for the enterprise, large business and SOHO, pfSense solutions bring together the most advanced technology available to make protecting your network easier than ever before. Our products are built on the most reliable platforms and are engineered to provide the highest levels of performance, stability and confidence.
    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about Palo Alto Networks VM-Series
    Learn more about pfSense
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Warren Rogers Associates
    Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    Non Profit8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider33%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm23%
    Government15%
    Manufacturing Company15%
    Healthcare Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company29%
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    Government5%
    REVIEWERS
    University10%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm8%
    Energy/Utilities Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider44%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government6%
    Media Company4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business43%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise29%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise66%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business38%
    Midsize Enterprise31%
    Large Enterprise31%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise8%
    Large Enterprise63%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business57%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise30%
    Find out what your peers are saying about Palo Alto Networks VM-Series vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is ranked 10th in Firewalls with 16 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 60 reviews. Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is rated 8.6, while pfSense is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Palo Alto Networks VM-Series writes "An excellent solution for the right situations and businesses". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". Palo Alto Networks VM-Series is most compared with Azure Firewall, Fortinet FortiGate, Cisco ASA Firewall, Juniper SRX and Meraki MX, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos UTM, Sophos XG and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway. See our Palo Alto Networks VM-Series vs. pfSense report.

    See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

    We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.