Microsoft Debuts VPN Appliance

SSL-based Intelligent Application Gateway is latest offering in its Forefront security product line

Microsoft rolled out today its long-awaited SSL VPN appliance, the Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007, a new endpoint product under its Forefront security umbrella. IAG is a combination SSL VPN/Web application firewall from its Whale Communications acquisition, plus Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server).

IAG simplified the original architecture of the Whale device, which was comprised of two servers. "It was two Intel servers glued together with a SCSI server -- one server pointed to the external network, and one server pointed to the internal network," Joel Sloss, senior product manager for Microsoft's edge security and access products said in an interview with Dark Reading. "As good as that was for network separation, it does drive up the complexity of the solution and fundamental cost of the hardware."

Microsoft's new SSL VPN appliance uses a single motherboard solution, he says.

In a separate announcement, Microsoft says over 100 partners plan to support and integrate with its Network Access Protection (NAP) platform, which is built into Vista and Longhorn, the upcoming version of Windows Server. Over 40 of these NAP implementations will be shown at the RSA Conference next week in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the company has handed off distribution of its new IAG product to key OEM partners: Celestix Networks Inc. and Network Engines Inc. are offering the pre-configured appliances and selling them via reseller partners. The goal is to make the appliances more affordable for all sizes of organizations, according to Sloss.

Sloss says the new appliance fits Microsoft's strategy for providing a policy-defined network for network access. Whale was ahead of the curve with its SSL VPN/Web application firewall combo, he notes, as well as its out-of-the-box custom security policies. "Other vendors are just now realizing the link between access and security," he says.

Available now, the IAG is priced from $6,000 to $13,000 from Celestix, and for around $15,000 from Network Engines.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)