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Microsoft Releases ISA Server

Adminstrators may soon be crying “you got a firewall in my proxy server” or “you got a proxy server in my firewall.” Microsoft’s new product may prove that proxy servers and firewalls are two great tastes that taste great together.

Expanding functionality to existing products, whether adding conferencing services to an e-mail server or an HTML editor to a word processor, is one of Microsoft’s strong suits. With the release of its Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Redmond has added firewall features to its proxy server software.

Microsoft hails the product as its entry into the security market. None of its previous products specifically address security issues. It contrasts its solution with firewalls from security-specific vendors, which do not offer operating systems to complement their firewalls. Microsoft says that clustering and load balancing is difficult with firewalls with security vendors, while ISA Server integrates with features in Advanced Server and Datacenter Server.

ISA Server is in someways an update to Microsoft's Proxy Server 2.0, which keeps frequently accessed content at the edge of the network, reducing network load and improving end user performance. Because of the added firewall features, Microsoft considers ISA server an entirely new product. The firewall component will filter Internet traffic at the packet, circuit, and application level to help administrators ensure networks are used appropriately. Also new in this release is a central point of control for security management tasks.

ISA Server will be available in two different flavors, Standard Edition, for single server implementations, and Enterprise Edition, which can scale across multiple machines. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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