XG v17: what's coming next

Hi Everyone, 

You're all overdue for an update on current and next steps, so I wanted to take some time to share a brief update. Since v16 launched last year, we've seen a huge increase in deployments worldwide! It's great to see that the feedback and effort you've provided has really been helpful to shape a successful v16 launch! Thank you to everyone who has used XG, and shared your feedback. It's been immensely valuable, and a big factor in the success thus far.

We've also launched v16.05 (Also called 16.5 sometimes, by lazy people like me..) which closed off the last high-level feature gap between XG and UTM9. I've seen some questions on why this release didn't contain more, so I'll take a moment to go over why we released only what we did.

Earlier in 2016, we launched Sophos Sandstorm on both UTM9 and Sophos Web Appliance, to MUCH greater success than we had initially expected. This resulted in far greater demand to launch it on XG, and left us with a tough choice. We could delay v16 significantly, or leave Sandstorm until v17, as originally planned. We believed that delaying v16 by even a few more months, would have caused significant problems for our existing XG partners, and waiting until v17 to launch Sandstorm was just too far out. With that in mind, we looked at what it would cost to deliver Sandstorm sooner. Our web and email teams were already going to begin working on Sandstorm as soon as they finished with v16, so if we limited the features in a release to just Sandstorm, a 16.05 release was possible, without causing a meaningful delay to v17. If we included more features, quality testing would take too long. With this in mind, we decided to launch a highly focused 16.05 release, dedicated to delivering Sophos Sandstorm by end of December. This would get 16 out when it was needed, and also get Sandstorm out close enough to the 16 launch, that we could reduce the problems caused by 16 not having it. So far, the decision has proven to be justified, as the launch of 16.05 has significantly accelerated the already fast growing v16. This sort of smaller feature release, on a fast timetable, isn't something we normally want to do - but in this case, the circumstances called for it.  

While our web and email teams were working on v16.05, the rest of our teams began working on v17, and we're marching towards a beta start around April or May. I can't go into too much detail on all of it just yet, but here are some if the highlights of what you can expect:

  • Troubleshooting and Visibility
    • Improved log viewer v2 - Unified view of all log sources, better filtering and searching, improved readability and display of log contents, unified view of live and historical logs
    • Improved Log Retention - Persistent storage of logs, retained for 1-2 weeks, to improve troubleshooting issues that are days old
    • More insightful log contents - firewall logs will now log meaningful reasons for "invalid" packet drops, web logs will include more details for troubleshooting
    • Rich Policy Test - Enter criteria to check,such as source, destination, user, etc.. and find out what firewall rule will allow or block it, what policies will be applied, and for web traffic, a full analysis of what rule within the web policy will be matched, and what action will be shown to the user
  • Firewall Rule Management - sliimer layout, custom grouping, cool design
  • IPsec VPN engine Improvements - IKEv2, Suite-B protocols, Reliability Upgrades
  • NAT Business rule improvements - Object based, more familiar to UTM9 users, more powerful
  • Synchronized Security - changing game for application control
  • Email - UX Improvements, Spam improvements, Outbound relay
  • Web - streaming improvements, faster content filtering
  • Zero-touch firewall deployments (not strictly part of v17, but part of a parallel project)
  • Licensing and Registration- more usable, less mandatory

This forum has a heavy hand in what shapes our roadmap, but it isn't the only source. For example I and other PMs have frequent calls with customers and partners, and even competitor's customers and partners. Usability study participants, Sophos support, and ideas.sophos.com, also contribute valuable feedback. Quite often these sources are at odds with the community feedback. It rarely differs in whether a feature is desirable or not, but it often differs in importance, and we have to factor all of it into our planning. 

I mention this, because I know that after reading the above list, there will be immediate questions about "what about feature X?", or "Why not feature Y?". To that, I say:

  • If we're not doing it in v17, we're more than likely still planning it, but the order of priority might might be different than you prefer
  • Some of you will disagree with one feature being chosen over another, and perhaps even disagree very strongly. Just know that this doesn't mean we're ignoring your feedback. The majority of the features and focus of v17 are driven by requests coming from these forums. We're listening!
  • The above list isn't exhaustive, or detailed. What you're looking for might still be planned for v17, but I can't outline all the details just yet. Stay tuned for the start of beta.

Finally, I want to call out a group of features I know you're going to ask about. Renaming/disabling interfaces, and other objects. It's obviously important, and highly desired in the community. Some more enabling/disabling options may be added in v17, but not interfaces, and there won't be improvements in what you can rename just yet, either. I know it's a big annoyance for some of you not have those features, but we need to do it right. (Bring on your apple, copy/paste analogies.. :) ) I worked with the teams to see if we could come up with a plan that included at least interface enabling/disabling in v17, but it wasn't practical. There are hidden costs, that aren't obvious, and there are also other projects in the works, that will significantly reduce those costs. At the risk of being too much of a tease in this post, we have a plan to implements enable/disable, renaming, and many other ui usability niceties everywhere. It depends on completing a project that's been in the works for a while, that I can't discuss just yet. Rest assured, it's all coming, and you're going to like the results! Be patient, and stay tuned!

Best Regards,

Alan Toews

Sr. Product Manager, XG Firewall

 

 

 

One last tease.. 

     

  • In reply to lferrara:

    Does it Count if its Wed in MY part of the world already? LoL Excited to try out the new features and bug test

  • In reply to Dan Soxx:

    Me too. Can't wait for testing v17.

  • In reply to Steppenwolf:

    After all these delays i hope the beta is really solid and mostly bug free. 

  • In reply to tom greene:

    Nearly Thursday my time.

    LOL

     

    Ian

  • In reply to rfcat_vk:

    There are still seven hours left at my place today. :-)

    Hope dies last.

  • In reply to Steppenwolf:

    I think the team over in Germany is handling the release and the work day is about to be finished there so i don't think it will happen today. 

  • In reply to tom greene:

    Two whiffs (last Wednesday and today) is concerning.  No reason to hit the panic button yet but its disappointing for sure.

  • Haven't seen so much expectations since the iPhone X!
  • In reply to WajdiAyach:

    you mean Note 8?  ;))

  • In reply to thedak:

    All good things come to those who wait, just a lil longer, I hope not too much longer! 

  • In reply to JamesGRP:

    Can't wait but actually prefer that it's taking little bit longer than pushing something out just to satisfy the expectations -> and then to be disappointing those expectations because of having it opened to the public too early.

  • In reply to ClaasLisowski:

    How can I get hold of it when it's released?

    I realise that it's still in beta and that the final version can be got through the UI but I would like to have a play with v17 in a VM to familiarise myself with it.

  • In reply to Rick Leslie:

    Just wait and be patient. Talex will post a thread with the beta licence and the pointers to versions of the beta.

    Ian

  • In reply to rfcat_vk:

    Sorry for the slow replies everyone. we had a disappointing result from some of our QA testing, that we were working hard to resolve. One of our new features, which improves logging storage and viewing, was impacting core firewall stability, and was a showstopper for beta release. After a lot of review, the effort to fully stabilize it has turned out to be too expensive to get done before beta. As a result, we made the disappointing (but correct) decision to pull the feature for the moment. The plan now, is that we'll plan a quick follow-up release after v17 ships, to add the new logging features back in.

    This will give us the time to deliver a proper quality release of the feature, but still get all the other goodness we've been building, into your hands. We've spun a new build with the current logging capabilities restored, and we'll have a beta go/no-go decision on beta release tomorrow. At last check, we're looking good for it. Also, while this change removes most of the logging improvements, it's not all of them. you'll still find improved log contents for web, firewall, vpn, and others in the beta!

    Thanks for your patience, everyone! We're almost there!

  • In reply to AlanT:

    Alan, thank you for the update.  The transparency is certainly appreciated.