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Microsoft’s Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010 addresses many of the shortcomings of the company’s new always-on remote connectivity solution, DirectAccess, providing sorely needed measures of performance and availability scaling, global management, and backward compatibility to help move DirectAccess beyond mere pilot projects to actual deployment on real networks.

While Forefront UAG 2010 has its own shortcomings and limitations, an ecosystem of products and vendors is appearing around DirectAccess to further extend its functionality and reach.

When I tested DirectAccess in October 2009, I found that DirectAccess (which is baked into Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate on the client side as well as Windows Server 2008 R2) made for an interesting and effective pilot project. However, its lack of scale, global manageability and backward OS compatibility on both the client and server sides would effectively limit its usefulness on most live domains and networks.

For channel providers that had been frustrated with the scalability and management issues that DirectAccess presented in both their on-premise customer engagements as well as managed services environments, there’s now a solution.

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