Aventail Introduces Managed Extranet Service

The overall service provider market is expanding. Internet service providers (ISPs) are nearly as common as phone companies these days, application service providers (ASPs) are in the midst of creating a burgeoning market, and extranet service providers (ESPs) may be the next flavor of service provider to make the big time.

Market research firm the GartnerGroup Inc. (www.gartner.com) expected that by the end of 1999 more than 40 percent of large enterprises extend their intranets to include selected outside organizations. In turn, robust enterprisewide extranets will appear this year.

From a survey by Forrester Research Inc. (www.forrester.com), the firm says 80 percent of interviewed companies plan to roll out extranets to all of their channel partners within two years. Of those companies, 46 percent say technical infrastructure and 30 percent say lack of technical skills are the primary barriers to extranet deployment.

According to analysts, the average deployment time for an extranet is 10 months. To speed time of deployment, Aventail Corp. (www.aventail.com) announced last month a managed service for extranets, dubbed Aventail.Net.

Aventail.Net is designed to reduce extranet deployment to 10 weeks and relieves corporations of the management of online business partnerships.

Building on the Aventail ExtraNet Center platform and its focus on the business-to-business space, Aventail.Net is a managed service that includes planning, deploying, and managing extranets. The company delivers subscribers a proof of concept extranet in 30 days and a secure production-ready extranet about 10 weeks later.

To create this solution, Aventail is purchasing and integrating key technologies and services into its offering from technology partners such as F5 Networks Inc. (www.f5.com), IBM Corp. (www.ibm.com), RSA Security Inc. (www.rsasecurity.com), and VeriSign Inc. (www.verisign.com). On the professional services side, Aventail will look to PriceWaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. (www.pwcglobal.com), as well as several service providers for extranet hosting services.

Aventail.Net incorporates IBM SecureWay Directory Server, based on open standards such as LDAP, TCP/IP, and PKI as the default directory.

The managed extranet also leverages VeriSign's OnSite managed digital certificate service to issue and manage electronic credentials for secure access control and digital signatures. Another security aspect of Aventail.Net is support for RSA SecurID two-factor authentication method.

For load balancing, Aventail.Net incorporates F5 Networks' BigIP as the default load balancer.

Phil Schacter, senior analyst at The Burton Group (www.burtongroup.com), says Aventail.Net leverages Aventail’s technology and expertise to help corporate customers more rapidly deploy secure extranets.

"The managed services approach promises to expedite the deployment process, while outsourcing the operational and management burdens associated with registering partners, enforcing security policies, and monitoring site access," he says.

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