The R80.40 Addendum dated 8/24/2020 for Max Power 2020  is now available for free download! Click here

 Max Power 2020: Check Point Firewall Performance Optimization

by Timothy C. Hall

Third Edition Now Available!

Publication Date: January 12th, 2020

Length: 513 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1652347705  ISBN-10: 1652347704

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Featuring a new foreword by Dameon D. Welch-Abernathy a.k.a. PhoneBoy

Typical causes of performance-related issues on Check Point (R) firewalls are explored in this book through a process of discovery, analysis, and remediation. This Third Edition has been fully updated for version R80.30 and Gaia kernel 3.10, and you will learn about:

  • Common OSI Layer 1-3 Performance Issues
  • Gaia OS Optimization 
  • ClusterXL Health Assessment
  • CoreXL & SecureXL Tuning
  • Access Control Policy Optimization
  • IPSec VPN Performance Enhancement
  • Threat Prevention Policy Optimization
  • Active Streaming & HTTPS Inspection
  • Elephant Flows/Heavy Connections & DoS Attack Mitigation
  • Diagnosing Intermittent Performance Issues
  • Setting Up Proactive Performance-Related Alerting​​​​​​​​​​

Includes an index of all CLI commands referenced in the text.  This book has everything you need to ensure top performance from your Check Point firewall.

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FAQ for the Third Edition of Max Power 2020: Check Point Firewall Performance Optimization

Q: What topics are covered in the third edition Max Power 2020: Check Point Firewall Performance Optimization?

The third edition assumes version R80.30+ on the firewall with Gaia kernel 3.10. Almost all Check Point-related commands will also work on R80.20, but R80.30 was used to test all commands in the book. R80.10, R77.30, and Gaia kernel 2.6.18 were covered in the second edition, but are not covered at all in the new Max Power 2020 third edition beyond a few passing references.

Q: Is VSX covered?

No.  VSX coverage was planned for this third edition, but had to be cut to keep the book's length manageable.  Another planned topic that had to be cut for time was MDS/SMS management performance optimization.  I had fully researched and outlined these topics as part of the research phase for the third edition, and may revisit these topics at a later date.

Q: What formats is the book available in and how much does it cost?

Max Power 2020 is available in hardcopy from Amazon worldwide for $59.95 USD, and PDF format via for $42.95 USD. There is no DRM or copy-protection on the PDF edition, and any PDF viewer software on any device can be used to view it. The older second edition of Max Power is also still available in hardcopy for the reduced price of $29.95 USD and the PDF format edition is $24.95.

Q: What is the difference between the hardcopy and PDF editions?

The PDF and hardcopy versions are identical as far as content, other than a light-gray, non-intrusive copyright statement at the bottom of every page of the PDF edition. The PDF version does also feature “hot” clickable hyperlinks to CheckMates posts and SK articles; page numbers in the Table of Contents and CLI index of the PDF edition are clickable as well, and of course the PDF edition can be easily searched.

Q: Are there any discount codes?

For the hardcopies purchased from Amazon worldwide I do not have the ability to create discount codes. Amazon will sometimes put books on sale shortly after their release, or offer bundle discounts for purchasing multiple related items, but that is at Amazon’s sole discretion and I receive no notice whatsoever they have or will be doing so.

For the PDF edition sold at, use the discount code CPX15 for a 15% discount; the code is entered on the screen after the billing address (or having checked out directly at PayPal's site). This discount code is good for purchases of all offered products (including the 2nd edition PDF of Max Power and the IPS Immersion Course), and will expire at the end of CPX360 Vienna on February 8th, 2020.

Current Check Point employees with a email address are granted a special discount for purchasing hardcopy and PDF versions of the book directly from Shadow Peak Inc, see the internal Check Point Wiki for details.

Q: Why is the second edition still for sale after the third edition was released?

When the second edition was released in 2018, the 2015 first edition was no longer offered for sale as the second edition simply added on to the first edition, and very little content was actually removed. In the third edition large amounts of material covering R80.10 and R77.30 was removed or significantly revamped, yet at press time R80.10 is still officially supported and there are many R77.30 gateways still in use. The third edition would have been way too large if I had attempted to just add on to the second edition with R80.30+ and Gaia 3.10 kernel coverage.

Q: Why were there no addendums released for the second edition of Max Power?

The second edition covered versions R80.10 and R77.30. In the following release R80.20, SecureXL was completely reworked and the new Gaia 3.10 kernel began to be introduced. Trying to write an addendum reflecting these major differences would have been pointless due to the huge number of changes. The third edition Max Power 2020 reflects these major changes which took quite a while to research and document.

Q: Why are no new R80.40 features (such as Dynamic Core Split Adjustment) covered in Max Power 2020?

Although R80.40 was in Early Availability (EA) while I was still writing the book, Check Point legal does not allow the discussion of software and features that are not already Generally Available (GA) in a published work such as Max Power 2020. I am planning to release a free PDF addendum covering the performance-related changes in R80.40 once it goes GA.

Q: Why was the appendix covering Manual Affinity removed starting in the third edition?

Due to the major changes in SecureXL in R80.20+, and Multi-Queue being enabled by default on all interfaces except the management interface under Gaia kernel 3.10, it is very unlikely Manual Affinity will be necessary at all moving forward. This is especially true given the planned introduction of Dynamic Core Split Adjustment in R80.40+.

Q: The page count increased by 168 pages between the first and second edition, but the new third edition Max Power 2020 seems to have about the same number of pages as the second edition. Why?

The Max Power book series is offered “print on demand” by Amazon. As the page count increases the cost to manufacture the book goes up, which necessitates increasing the book’s sale price to maintain the same royalty level. I did not want to increase the price of the third edition above the current price of $59.95 USD, as I would personally hesitate to buy a technical book costing more than $60 USD, no matter how good it might be.

Formatting-wise, the first and second editions of Max Power used a paragraph line spacing of 1.5 lines, while the third edition Max Power 2020 uses a paragraph line spacing of only 1.15 lines. This reduces overall page count but there is more actual content per page. If the original 1.5 line spacing is applied to the manuscript of the new third edition of Max Power 2020, it becomes approximately 635 pages in length. With the original 1.5 line spacing, the first edition was 344 pages and the second edition was 512 pages.

Q: How can I get an author-signed hardcopy?

I will be attending & speaking on the CheckMates track at CPX360 New Orleans and CPX360 Vienna in early 2020, and would be happy to dedicate and sign any hardcopies presented to me at CPX. Please do not assume that you’ll be able to buy a hardcopy directly from me at CPX, as I will have a limited number of copies. I’d strongly recommend buying a hardcopy from Amazon in your geographic region ahead of time, and bringing it with you to CPX for me to sign. At CPX itself I can be contacted through the CPX app, and I will generally be hanging around the Expo in the CheckMates booth/area and the Training Services/Certifications booth, and in the CheckMates speaker track room.

Q: Can I get a special discount for bulk (20+) hardcopy purchases or bulk author-signed copies?

Please contact sales at

Q: What other content is currently available for purchase from the book’s author?

      Free CheckMates Resources:

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