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Microsoft on Feb. 1 announced the launch of its Intelligent Application Gateway 2007, a new product that extends the company’s Secure Access Platform by incorporating technology gained in its acquisition of Whale Communications last year.

The software giant’s ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) Server now includes Whale’s SSL VPN (secure sockets layer virtual private networking) and Web application firewall product. The combination provides a single integrated appliance technology for network perimeter defense, remote access, endpoint security management and application-layer protection.

In addition to the technology benefits, customers will also get a simplified licensing model, according to Joel Sloss, senior product manager for Microsoft Edge Security and Access Products. Sloss said that Microsoft is pricing the technology very competitively.

The new licensing model calls for customers to determine up front who needs access to the applications or data and then buy a license based on the number of users. With some other licensing programs, customers must buy licenses in blocks or bands of users, so adding just one more user can take that customer to a whole new price bracket.

Click here to read about Microsoft’s acquisition of Whale.

“With IAG it’s a single price for all applications,” Sloss said. “You buy the appliance, count the number of users and that is what your price is. It’s simple for VARs and end users to understand.”

Microsoft also announced two new OEM licensees for the technology. Since Whale sold its technology as a hardware device and Microsoft did not want to be in the hardware business, the company is partnering with two OEMs to make hardware devices, Network Engines and Celestix Networks.

Sloss said the pricing model was designed to be “in line and more cost effective than primary competitors.” He noted that the entry level retail price for the Celestix device is $5,995.

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Channel partners will go directly to the OEMs for support, said Sloss, adding that many of Whale Communications engineers went to OEM NEI after the acquisition.

Microsoft also announced growing momentum for its NAP (Network Access Protection) technology—security technology that will be included in Microsoft’s Longhorn server operating system due out later in 2007. Microsoft said it is now partnering with 100 networking and security companies including F-Secure, Juniper Networks, Nortel Networks, McAfee and Symantec.

And 40 companies will offer demonstrations of NAP at RSA Conference in San Francisco, including NAP interoperation with equipment from Aruba Networks, Cisco Systems and Extreme Networks.

“We developed NAP because customers told us the threat wasn’t just at the network edge,” said Mike Schutz, group product manager, Microsoft Edge and Security. “Viruses and malware were walking in the front door. This ensures when employees and business partners connect to the network that their devices are healthy.”