Microsoft Releases ISA Server
- By Scott Bekker
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
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
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.