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 Steppenwolf:

    What sort of issues are you having? So far I've found the following:

    • Unable to modify IPSEC VPN sometimes. Reboot required to resolve.
    • VPN Failover never shows that a link is connected even though one is (and works fine)
  • In reply to jamesharper:

    I have the following issues in 17.0.0 GA found:

    • Unable to clone an IPSec-connection -> Error: IPsec Connection "XXX" could not be updated
    • RemoteID is not displayed for connections with ExternalCertificate (see screenshot)
    • Unable to create an IPSec-connection with the same DNS Local ID -> Error: Local ID already used by another IPsec/L2TP/Cisco Connection

    Thanks.

     

  • IPSec seems to be an issue for several people.
    We upgraded an appliance to v17 and all our VPNs stopped working. Went back to v16.5 and everything was alright again...

    On another note... why is it still not possible to drop or quarantine spam mail on pop/imap?

  • In reply to Björn Vermöhlen:

    When I rebooted my head office Sophos (v17), the one branch office that I had upgraded to v17 failed to reconnect. I had to log into it and bring the VPN back up.

    Also PPPoE seems to just give up after a while and needs to be manually connected.

    v17 is going to need a lot of reboots!

    That aside, i like XG more and more with every new release.

    James

  • In reply to jamesharper:

    Read my post "Troubled Waters". The end particularly.  community.sophos.com/.../xg-troubled-waters

     

    Suggestion:  I wish a TAP port could be setup on a single click in order to use Wireshark instead of the XG's logviewer.  I just can't work with XG's log viewer.  It is not even on-par with Checkpoint in 1995 when I first used it.

     

    NAT in v17 is still very confusing.  Why NAT is not an object attribute instead of being a rule's attribute is beyond me.  It's cumbersome to say the least.

     

    Also, there's no negation ...  For example a firewall rule could look like this: destination "not" "Encryption_Domain" scan HTTPS.  Where Encryption Domain, let's say, is a group containing all local subnets NATed behind a gateway. In this hypothetical case, "not" "Encryption_Domain" describe the Internet.  By the way, I am not aware of an object in XG that does it.

     

    Waiting for XG v18.  Or maybe v20 ....

     

    Paul Jr