On Monday, we announced that Microsoft and Whale Communications are teaming up to deliver an integrated access solution that combines ISA Server 2004 with Whale’s Intelligent Application Gateway.  This integration creates one of the industry’s first edge security solutions to offer both IPsec and SSL VPN capabilities in a single, easy to manage appliance.
At the end of the day, this means our mutual customers will have the greatest flexibility and choice for their remote access connectivity needs.  With this hardened Windows Server-based appliance, IT administrators can provide granular application and resource access through Whale’s leading SSL VPN technology, while still having the ability to offer full, secure network connectivity powered by our IPsec-based VPN technology (the one that’s built into in ISA Server 2004 and is part of the Windows Server Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS)).

As a networking guy, I’m really excited to see these two technologies come together, especially as our customers wish to offer their employees more mobility, but not at the expense of security.  As a long-time security guy, I’m impressed by the combination of the rich, application-layer firewall features of ISA Server 2004 with Whale’s comprehensive end-point baseline compliance capabilities.  And since Whale is a Network Access Protection (NAP) partner, this new product has the makings a great addition to the NAP platform.
But, as a Microsoft guy, it’s great to see even more evidence that our partners are turning to the Windows Server System platform and security technologies to build their products on.  I was in the Security Business and Technology Unit when we launched the ISA Server 2004 appliance initiative (in fact I worked on Mike Nash’s keynote where we demoed this for the first time at TechEd 2004) and this announcement further demonstrates the growth and momentum in Windows-based appliance space. Ultimately, it means our customers will have a great set of solutions to choose from to meet their specific infrastructure needs. 

Ian Hameroff
Product Manager, Windows Server Core Networking