Software WAF vs. Appliance WAF

Web application firewalls deal specifically with web-based traffic, i.e., HTTP/HTTPS, and can be deployed either as standalone appliances or as self-contained software installed on the web servers themselves. They employ a wide range of functions to work in conjunction with perimeter firewall and IPS technology to augment application attack prevention. Most WAFs include HTTP/HTTPS protocol enforcement and negative signature detection.

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Software WAF Appliance WAF
Performance Have no effect on network performance as they do not break the network infrastructure Create latency in network traffic due to operation as reverse-proxies and SSL decryption /encryption overhead
Data Protection No need to handle SSL certificates, since the web server handles SSL traffic in the usual manner. Require concentrating all SSL server certificates within the appliance. This creates a central point for certificate theft by hackers.
Application Awareness Reside on the web server, identifying all installed applications and websites. Rules are adapted specifically per application. "Application-blind" since they are deployed on the network with no relation to the web applications. Need to "learn" the application structures over a long period of time.
Total Cost of Ownership Applicure Technologies offer variety of pricing programs.The pricing program includes enterprise license offering, perpetual licenses, annual usage licenses and SaaS solutions. The best Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the industry. Est. price $10,000-30,000 per appliance. Require professional services round the clock due to the dynamic nature of the learning mechanisms.
Deployment and Maintenance 5 minute installation process. No "learning" period. User is not required to have application security knowledge and expertise. Application-awareness eases the process of defining new rules. Require professional understanding of networking, databases and web application security. Continuous maintenance and configuration. Estimated setup time of one to two months prior to production.