With the formal end of life announcement for Forefront TMG 2010 last year, many firewall and secure web gateway vendors have been touting themselves as replacements for TMG. The folks at Citrix recently made available a white paper [PDF] making their case as a comprehensive replacement for Forefront TMG. While I don’t have any personal experience with the NetScaler solution, it does appear to have many of the features that TMG administrators have come to rely upon, such as URL filtering, virus and malicious software inspection, SSL termination (HTTPS inspection), content caching, low-level intrusion detection and prevention, and VPN capabilities. In addition, the NetScaler supports flexible network placement with edge, back firewall, and unihomed (single-legged or one-arm) deployment options. The solution is available in both hardware appliance form factor and virtual appliance.
Citrix makes an attempt to position their solution as the ideal and comprehensive replacement for Forefront TMG, and while it does have many features that TMG provides there is one glaring omission – an alternative to the Forefront TMG Firewall Client. ISA and TMG administrators have long used the Firewall Client to provide seamless and transparent proxy services for Winsock applications. The firewall client enables fully authenticated proxy support for non-web based protocols, and it appears that the NetScaler does not include such capabilities.
As with most white papers comparing solutions like this, it is helpful to understand they are essentially marketing material designed to downplay the features of the competing solution while often embellishing their own features. There are also some inaccuracies with regard to Forefront TMG capabilities, which is also not uncommon in documents such as these. For example, the document states that Forefront TMG 2010 failover requires three nodes, which is incorrect. You can easily create a standalone array using Forefront TMG 2010 Enterprise Edition using two nodes.
Overall the Citrix NetScaler looks like a pretty good solution. If you are in the market today for an alternative to Forefront TMG 2010 (…and should you be? That’s a topic for a future post, so stay tuned!) then download their white paper and take a closer look.
As many of you know, I recently joined the team at Iron Networks to work more closely with DirectAccess and to be involved with some of their exciting new solutions for enabling the Microsoft private cloud. I was noticing that they don’t have much of a following on Twitter yet, so in an effort to change that I’m announcing a Twitter contest! This Friday, May 31, I will select one individual who is following both me and Iron Networks on Twitter and send you a free copy of Tom and Deb Shinder and Yuri Diogenes’ latest book entitled “Windows Server 2012 Security from End to Edge and Beyond”. I had the privilege of serving as the book’s technical reviewer and I can tell you it is an excellent reference that you’ll want to have in your library. So go out and follow me and Iron Networks for a chance to win!
I’m happy to announce that my latest Trainsignal video training course is now available! This new video training course is on Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010. It is an introductory course on Forefront UAG designed to teach network engineers and security administrators the basic essentials of planning, preparing, installing, configuring, monitoring, and maintain a Forefront UAG 2010 remote access solution. In the course I demonstrate how to publish popular Microsoft on-premises applications like SharePoint and Exchange Outlook Web App (OWA). In addition I cover publishing Remote Desktop Services and VPN remote access. I also provide a high level explanation of endpoint detection and endpoint policy enforcement and demonstrate how to provide high availability for the solution. Here is the entire course outline:
Lesson 1 – Introduction and Course Outline
Lesson 2 – Forefront UAG 2010 Overview
Lesson 3 – Planning to Deploy Forefront UAG 2010
Lesson 4 – Installing and Configuring Forefront UAG 2010
Lesson 5 – Configuring a Portal
Lesson 6 – Publishing Exchange Outlook Web App
Lesson 7 – Publishing SharePoint
Lesson 8 – Publishing Remote Desktop Services
Lesson 9 – Configuring VPN Remote Access
Lesson 10 – Enabling Endpoint Detection
Lesson 11 – Configuring High Availability
Lesson 12 – Web Monitor Overview
Lesson 13 – Forefront UAG Backups
Once again I had the opportunity to work with my good friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Jordan Krause on this course. As he did in my previous Trainsignal video training course on Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess, Jordan served as the technical reviewer and provided valuable insight that ultimately made the course better. If you’re planning to implement Forefront UAG 2010 to provide secure remote access to both managed and non-managed systems and devices, be sure to sign up for a subscription at Trainsignal.com today! Not only will you have access to this video training course on Forefront UAG 2010, you will gain access to the entire Trainsignal library of content, including my course on Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess, all for just $49.00 per month!
It is with great pleasure that I announce I have recently joined the team at Iron Networks. Iron Networks (formerly nAppliance) is a division of Iron Systems based in San Jose, CA. Iron Networks is a Microsoft OEM partner specializing in turn-key cloud security and access solutions and converged infrastructure platforms. I’ll be intimately involved with many familiar Microsoft technologies like Forefront UAG 2010, DirectAccess, Hyper-V, and System Center 2012. Iron Networks has some compelling solutions for secure remote access, including a comprehensive remote access appliance that includes both Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess and Forefront UAG 2010. The Unified Remote Access (URA) platform effectively addresses remote access needs for both managed and non-managed clients. In addition, Iron Networks has an interesting new solution aimed at simplifying private cloud deployment and public cloud integration. The Iron Networks MNV Cloud Gateway Appliance, using System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 and Hyper-V network virtualization technologies, is designed to ease the pain of migrating virtual workloads across subnets between on-premises datacenters or to hosted, public cloud datacenters. Finally, Iron Networks has a complete, ready to deploy private cloud solution that was recently featured in the keynote address at the Microsoft Management Summit 2013. After working for many years with niche technologies like ISA server and Forefront TMG 2010, I’m really excited about the opportunity to be more closely involved with mainstream technologies like Hyper-V, System Center 2012, and private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions. Of course I’ll be sharing my experiences with you here and across my various social media channels, so be sure to connect with me to stay in touch!
Are you planning to attend Microsoft TechEd this year? If so, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be delivering a session entitled “The Future Is Now! Next Generation Remote Access Today with Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess”. I’ll be presenting at both TechEd North America in New Orleans, LA, and at TechEd Europe in Madrid, Spain. Looking forward to seeing you there!