I am hoping to build a lab environment to fully learn the palo alto firewall and I wanted some recommendations on the most cost effective way to achieve this. I already have some physical cisco gear (switches, routers) however I'm not against going virtual. Is there any lab offerings with some test licenses which I can obtain?
All suggestions are welcome.
Purchasing a PA-220 or PA-440 lab bundle (the PA-410 has some logging and other limitations that you likely don't want to deal with if you're trying to learn the platform) that's the best path forward in my mind. You can get a lab VM bundle as well, I just think a physical appliance is better for a lab environment aspect.
If you don't want to make an immediate multi-hundred dollar investment, then using the PAYG model on Azure/AWS or one of the other cloud providers can be cheaper. Just ensure that you're shutting things down when not in use so you don't get a surprise bill just because the thing was left running.
The VM's are not that expensive if you have your own hypervisor, in the cloud it can be costly. I paid ~$700 for a PA-440 lab unit for my house. I'm sure your company might be able to purchase a lab unit? I recommend the 440 over the 220 since its got the ML stuff. I think on the FUEL user board you can get a test drive of a VM fully license model for a short period of time.
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