Microsoft Ships Intelligent Apps Gateway 2007

Microsoft said Thursday it is shipping Intelligent Applications Gateway (IAG) 2007, a combination of its Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server with Whale Communication's virtual private networking software.

IAG 2007 combines Whale's secure sockets layer virtual private networking (SSL VPN) and Web application firewall products with ISA Server. They are integrated to provide a single, consolidated appliance for network perimeter defense, remote access, endpoint security management and application-layer protection.

Simultaneously, Microsoft also announced that hardware appliances pre-installed and pre-configured with IAG 2007 are available from hardware manufacturers Celestix Networks and Network Engines.

Microsoft bought out Fort Lee, New Jersey-based Whale Communications last summer in order to acquire its SSL-based access and application protection products.

In fact, Whale began shipping this year a bundle that combined its IAG product with Microsoft's ISA Server 2004. The new bundle includes ISA Server 2006.

Since acquiring Whale, which is currently a wholly-owned Microsoft subsidiary, developers have been working to more closely integrate IAG with ISA Server, focusing on security and stability, as well as modifying the hardware architecture in order to make it less expensive to implement, Joel Sloss, senior product manager in Microsoft's edge and security organization, said in an interview.

The bundle is only sold with a hardware appliance. Whale's original architecture required two servers in the same box -- one to run ISA Server on the external network and a second one to run IAG on the internal network. The two servers were interconnected by a SCSI card so the internal and external networks were isolated from each other.

The new architecture uses ISA Server 2006 to provide similar isolation without the expense of having to have two hardware servers in the same appliance. Legacy business based on Whale's older architecture has been transitioned to Network Engines, Sloss said.

ISA Server is still sold separately.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced licensing changes with IAG 2007 that Sloss says will make SSL VPNs more affordable for customers.

For instance, IAG 2007 will feature all-in-one pricing for both the gateway and all Intelligent Application Optimizers and network connectors -- software modules developed for business-critical applications that implement specific client-side and enhanced application-layer security policies.

In another move, Microsoft is changing the way it calculates how many client access licenses (CAL) customers must pay for. Client access licenses will now be based on the number of authenticated users or devices connecting to IAG appliances rather than on concurrent users, providing customers with more flexible and scalable pricing and licensing, officials said.

"One CAL applies to any gateway running on any server anywhere in the world," Sloss added. CALs cost $22 each while concurrent licenses were sold as a group. "If you had 500 concurrent licenses and needed one more, you had to buy another [group of licenses]." In addition, the change to CALs brings IAG into the same licensing model as other Microsoft server licenses.

Celestix's appliances start at about $6,000 each and Network Engines' units start at about $15,000, Sloss said.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.


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