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ISA Server 2004 to Launch at TechEd

Microsoft confirmed on Wednesday that it will launch Internet Security & Acceleration Server 2004 at its annual TechEd conference, which is being held this year in San Diego the week of May 24.

ISA Server 2004 is the second release of ISA Server, which first came out in 2000. The product is a combination firewall and Web caching server, and Microsoft has cast the update as a key element of its portfolio of products for securing the enterprise.

Microsoft has used the vague term "launch" in the past to cover three scenarios: unveiling further features of a product, announcing the release to manufacturing or actually making the product generally available. Asked which of the scenarios applied here, a Microsoft spokesman said, "The company will provide complete overview of product features at the time of TechEd."

ISA Server 2004 entered broad beta testing in January. Some key changes from ISA Server 2000 include support for unlimited multiple networks and types with security policies that are configurable per network, enhanced VPN filtering and support for VPN tunnel mode, and a new user interface designed to improve upon the previous MMC snap-in.

Meanwhile, Microsoft reduced the price of ISA Server 2000 by 20 percent for customers who buy it with Software Assurance through a promotion running from March 1 to May 31. While Microsoft typically does not discuss pricing until a product is released to manufacturing, the discount program for ISA Server 2000 could signal a price cut for ISA Server 2004. Microsoft followed a similar path recently by changing the pricing on Services for Unix 3.0, and continuing that pricing structure (free) with the release of SFU 3.5.

In any event, customers who buy ISA Server 2000 with Software Assurance can then immediately upgrade to ISA Server 2004 when it ships at no additional cost.

About the Author

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

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