Getting started with Microsoft ISA Server 2006, Part 1: Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 12 in the series Getting started with Microsoft ISA Server 2006

Getting started with Microsoft ISA Server 2006, Part 1: Introduction

Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server) is a firewall and proxy software from Microsoft. It can protects local network from hackers, limits access for internet access, improve internet speed for users and logging any connections that pass through an ISA Server.

History of ISA Server

The history of ISA Server starts from Microsoft Proxy Server 1.0 and Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 which both were released in 1997. They were merely designed to provide internet access (Internet Sharing) and came in only one edition of each version. Microsoft Proxy Server 1.0 only has basic functionality and many limitations. The second version improves many features from the previous version. It supports Windows NT account integration, many more protocols, packet filtering capability.

Then, ISA Server 2000 was released in 2001. And in 2004 for ISA Server 2004 and ISA Server 2006 in 2006. Each product has two editions: Standard and Enterprise. ISA Server 2004 introduced multi-networking support, integrated virtual private networking (VPN) configuration, Application-Layer Firewall support, support for the H.323 protocol, Active Directory Integration, SecureNAT, Secure Server Publishing, and improved reporting and management features. The rules based configuration was also considerably simplified on ISA Server 2000. ISA Server 2004 Enterprise Edition included array support, integrated Network Load Balancing (NLB), and Cache Array Routing Protocol (CARP). One of the core capabilities of ISA Server 2004 was its ability to securely publish Web servers. ISA Server 2006 is an updated version of ISA Server 2004. It doesn’t has major difference compare to ISA Server 2004. Most features and interface of both versions are quite similar.

The future version of ISA Server is Forefront Threat Management Gateway which runs only on 64-bot platform and Windows Server 2008. At this time, the current version is beta 3.

Features of ISA Server 2006

Microsoft ISA Server 2006 has 2 editions: Standard and Enterprise. The major different of the two editions are scalability and network load balancing capable. The standard edition can be installed on a single server up to 4 CPUs and memory (RAM) limits at 2 GB. See Comparison of Standard and Enterprise Editions for ISA Server 2006 for more information.

Here is the summary features of ISA Server 2006:

  1. Multi-layer firewall. Provides three types of firewall functionality: packet filtering (also called circuit-layer), stateful filtering, and application layer filtering.
  2. Application layer filtering. Provides deep content filtering through built-in application filters.
  3. Virtual private networking capability.
  4. Intrusion detection capability. Flood protection such as denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, IP spoofing protection, etc.
  5. Supports various authentication. Authenticate users with built-in Windows, LDAP, RADIUS, or RSA SecurID authentication.

For more details, see Key features of ISA Server 2006.

What’s Next?

You have now know about ISA Server 2006. Next following articles, I will show sample installation, configuration and real-world application of ISA Server 2006. On the sample, I will use Microsoft ISA Server 2006 Enterprise edition with service pack 1.

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  1. Stephan July 14, 2010
  2. John August 13, 2010
  3. linglom August 19, 2010
  4. John August 19, 2010
  5. amhed101 March 1, 2013

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