Aventail, which only recently introduced a\u00a0Secure Sockets Layer\u00a0appliance for 'Net-based remote access, is now enhancing it with software to reach more types of applications.As initially described by the company, its\u00a0EX-1500\u00a0appliance would give remote end users with Web browsers secure access to Web-enabled corporate applications hosted behind a firewall. To access non-Web applications, a separate client called Aventail Connect had to be pre-installed.But now Aventail is making available a Java client, dubbed Aventail OnDemand,\u00a0 that automatically uploads to the end user upon authenticating to the EX-1500.Some competitors, such as Neoteris, already use Java to expand the number of applications their SSL remote access gear can reach, says Michael Suby, senior research analyst with consulting firm Stratecast Partners.Another new feature that comes with the EX-1500 is support for Microsoft\u2019s Server Message Block (SMB) and Common Internet File System (CIFS) to allow accessing this type of files over the Web. The device also includes a new mini-portal called ASAP WorkPlace that can be customized for different user groups. So one group might have a portal that shows access to only e-mail but others might have one that shows access to Lotus Notes as well.\u00a0The EX-1500 box represents a new direction for Aventail, which previously sold this technology as part of a managed service. Over the past year or so, though, start-ups including Neoteris, Aspelle, Netilla and SafeWeb, have started selling similar devices, putting pressure on Avential to do so as well, Suby says. Established IPSec VPN vendors including Check Point and Nortel have also started offering SSL remote access capabilities in their remote access gear.Aetna has used Aventail\u2019s managed service, but is buying a box now that one is available, says Kevin Sweeney, director of information systems for the insurance company. \u201cWe\u2019re not in a position where we want to outsource our security. [The EX-1500] lets us control our security,\u201d he says.He says the Java capabilities will help out where Aetna offers limited access to other businesses, but where browsers are insufficient. \u201cWeb browsers don\u2019t cut it to do client-server applications,\u201d he says. Aventail offers a full client for remote machines but it is not always easy to deploy it to partners, Sweeney says.The EX-1500 costs $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the number of users and features it supports. The OnDemand option costs extra, but Aventail declined to break that out.