SSL VPN vendor Netilla Networks Inc. will today open up a whole new line of application-specific SSL VPN-based appliances, starting with the launch of a box that will secure access to applications built around Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server.
The company said the new Netilla Secure Gateway Appliance is designed solely to secure web-based remote access to MetaFrame applications without the cost and complexity of Citrix Secure Gateway. It will be the first of a number of preconfigured appliances optimized for very specific niches, CEO Reggie Best said.
We have a very conservative view that we can expect to sell one or two thousand of these devices in the first year. There’s real need for this sort of appliance and we are seeing some real customer demand from users of Citrix, he said.
Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server is used to serve Unix and Java applications to any device, over any connection, and without the need for any desktop or software emulation software. There is a large base of Citrix MetaFrame of up to 120,000 enterprise customers worldwide, some 60% of which are departments of large enterprises or small and mid-size businesses.
Best said the traditional way of securing access using Citrix Secure Gateway is too complex and too costly for many of these. The new appliance is designed to be very cost-efficient. A box priced at just $5,000 will support 25 users and for $6,495 it would be good for a total of 50 users, he said.
The data center appliance is designed also to reduce the complexity of MetaFrame security. Securing remote access using Citrix Secure Gateway can involve integration with the STA server, the web interface web server and the Microsoft Windows operating system.
It can be messy. The SGA consolidates all the security functions into a single box and handles authentication, end point integrity checks, firewalling and policy management. It is simple to configure to box and easy to manage, said Best. It installs in less than one hour, the vendor said.
SGA provides browser-based access to Citrix Web Interface, it carries out cache cleansing and incudes integrated firewall security and policy enforcement features. The product will start shipping next month. The expectation is that the low price point of the device will appeal to the small and mid-sized enterprise business sector.
Juniper Networks Inc, the dominant SSL VPN vendor and Netilla rival, has been busy pushing down the prices and functionality in a new line of SSL VPN appliances aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. Its latest NetScreen Remote Access 500 boxes start at just $4,000. In fact, Netilla competitors large (Cisco Systems Inc.) and small (AEP Systems Ltd.) have started releasing budget boxes for SME customers, a sure sign of the maturing market for SSL-based virtual private networks.
Best contends that Cisco’s recent entry into the SSL VPN sector has helped validate the market and publicize activity in the segment. He also said Cisco’s product has gaps and that Juniper’s product is far superior, and we think that our product is far better than Juniper’s, especially in the area of thin client security. He said that Netilla would be working over the next three to six months on delivering to market an appliance pre-configured for the Micrsoft Terminal Services environment.