Whale Communications is adding compression to its SSL VPN platform, making it more apparent that its Intelligent Application Gateways are not just remote access boxes.The gear now contains a compression engine that gains knowledge of the end user accessing the device, what kind of machine the user is coming in on and what application or other resource they are seeking. It then determines whether to compress and how.The engine can compress an entire application or not, and it can also compress just certain parts of an application that might otherwise cause delays. There may be parts of the application that cannot be compressed, and this feature allows the maximum compression in such cases. This is important because a person accessing via a limited-bandwidth connection might benefit from receiving a compressed response, for example, while the same compression might make little difference to a person using a larger Internet connection.The gateway itself also includes an application firewall that can block traffic that doesn't conform to expected parameters typical of a particular application. More sophisticated application firewalls that are stand-alone devices are commonly used to protect Web application servers from attacks against vulnerabilities in individual applications. But not all SSL VPN vendors have application firewalls of their own.Whale also differs from other vendors in that it always connects users to servers using a proxy and doesn't open up network connections. This terminating communication with the remote machine and creating a second connection to servers is something other vendors have but that they will override using agents that are downloaded to the remote machines.Whale maintains these network connections weaken security. Instead, it writes per-application software that supports non-Web applications via the proxy.The addition of per-application compression to its features makes Whale's gear something that potential customers might want to put in their list of gear to evaluate.