Review: Aventail ST2

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Review: Aventail ST2

Setup for the Aventail ST2 is simple. You just have to configure the interface through a console connection and you can access the web-based setup wizard. This is easy to follow and guides you through the creation of the administrator account.

Once the administrator account has been set up, the box is managed through a well-organised web interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate. We liked the setup of the main console dashboard, and information is clearly displayed and again organised well.

High scalability is one of this product's main features. The Aventail appliance is capable of handling thousands of connections with clustering and high availability. This device also offers several connection options, including PDA and mobile device access. Application access incorporates thin applications, web based, traditional client/server and file shares.

We found this appliance to have many security features that help keep data and information safe. With many simple-to-set-up access options, this device can be as secure as needed. The Aventail ST2 checks access against an LDAP-enabled database, a Radius server, a Windows NT domain, a UNIX username/password database or an RSA SecurID ACE server. This provides flexible authentication and security.

The Aventail box comes with several pieces of documentation, one of which is a large quick- setup card. This card features detailed diagrams of the appliance, with labeled ports and simple initial configuration instructions that get the appliance ready for further administration on the network. Following that, there is a getting- started guide that outlines setting up users and realms. Finally, an easy-to-follow administrator's guide in the form of a PDF file covers just about everything you need to know.

Aventail offers support through a web portal. Phone and email support must be purchased separately. Assistance that can be found on the portal includes technical documents, a knowledge base and other support options, including update downloads.

While expensive, though not at the top of the price range, this system is designed for very large networks that require a lot of power. Aventail's device would therefore be a good investment for a large corporation where there is a need for tens of thousands of connections at a single time.

For: High power for large networks and fairly simple to set up and manage.
Against: Expensive for all but large organisations. Weak support.
Verdict: A strong VPN for very large applications. This may limit its use to larger organisations. The support needs beefing up.

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