• United States
Executive Editor

NetScaler cranks up SSL remote access

Jul 17, 20032 mins
NetworkingRemote AccessSecurity

* NetScaler is expanding its equipment’s range into SSL remote access

NetScaler has already made a name for itself with an application-layer packet-analysis engine that can be used to lift the processing burden of Secure Sockets Layer sessions from servers. Now the company is getting into the SSL remote access game.

With its Model for Application Intelligent Networking Phase II, the company is adding software to its platform to allow remote users to authenticate to NetScaler Secure Application box and access corporate servers.

The NetScaler gear proxies between remote users connected to the Internet and the host servers that are located in corporate networks. The Secure Application gear creates SSL sessions to secure the data as it crosses the Internet.

This same description describes what is already offered by other vendors specializing in SSL remote access, such as Aspelle, Aventail, Neoteris, Netilla, uRoam and Whale. NetScaler differs in that it also optimizes the connections between its gear and the remote and host users.

Secure Application Networking Systems sit between clients and servers setting up independent, persistent TCP/IP connections for both. The system then multiplexes requests and responses for application data across the connections. So, multiple clients sending requests to a server farm can be answered via one or a few TCP/IP connections rather than having the server set up and tear down a connection for each user request.

This gives NetScaler a leg up, adding efficiency to how its box deals with remote users and servers. But that is to be expected, because that is what the company set out to do.

The SSL remote access vendors, by contrast, set out to provide secure remote access, and they provide features NetScaler lacks. For example, some of them can categorize what type of machine the remote user is connecting from – trusted, untrusted, semi-trusted – and grant different access rights for each. Some also say they scrub data from remote machines that intruders could use to reestablish secure remote access sessions.

NetScaler says it is working on these features and will deliver them later this year.

NetScaler appliances come in four models that range in price from $25,000 to $75,000, which includes hardware, software and support for five simultaneous remote users. Licenses for more remote users cost extra, ranging from $5,000 extra for up to 100 users, to $70,000 for up to 2,500 users. If customers want to add support for accessing native client/server applications, they pay $10,000 extra..