Microsoft Adds Firewall and Caching Product to Windows DNA 2000

Microsoft Corp. announced a new server product in the Windows DNA 2000 platform at TechEd in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month.

The newest addition to DNA 2000 is Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 (ISA), caching and firewall software designed to make Internet activity more secure while enhancing performance.

Bob Muglia, Microsoft’s ( group vice president of the business productivity unit, said in a keynote address that ISA will protect networks from hackers and Web server attacks. It also can prevent unauthorized Web usage by employees.

"You can think of this [product] in two ways. You can think of it as an edge server for a corporation, but you can also think of it as an accelerated caching server, both within a corporation and on the Internet," he said.

The firewall can filter applications, packets, and circuits, as well as provide stateful inspection and intrusion detection. The software can stop most common types of intrusive attempts that hackers use, Muglia claimed.

Additionally, the product enables administrators to enhance security of private networks and Web sites by only allowing traffic that conforms to corporate usage policies to pass into or out of the organization.

Administrators can define Internet usage policies via rules for managing traffic and enforcing access policies by user or group, as well as application, site, content type, and schedule.

On the caching side, ISA supports RAM caching, Cache Array Routing Protocol (CARP), hierarchical caching, and scheduled content download.

It also can be used to preload Web pages, hence speeding delivery to users, internally and externally. Preloading Web pages also saves bandwidth by storing commonly accessed Web pages on the corporate network, rather than continuously retrieving them from the Internet. Microsoft says it expects administrators to use the software to accelerate access to Web servers and e-commerce applications to more efficiently distribute information to end users. ISA can also be used to offload processing from Web servers.

"We built this server to meet the needs of the most demanding corporations and Web sites," Muglia says.

ISA will replace Proxy Server in the pending BackOffice Server 2000 suite of tools when it ships later this year.

Joel Sloss, BackOffice product manager, says Microsoft opted for ISA because it has more functionality than Proxy Server.

The new product explains Microsoft’s refusal to discuss the future of Proxy Server over the last year. Microsoft limited its statements about Proxy Server to promising a Windows 2000 Update Wizard that enables users to run the software on the new operating system.

ISA beta code is available for download from Microsoft’s Web site. General availability is expected later this year.

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