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A 'Stirling' Release for Microsoft

Security encompasses many aspects of an IT infrastructure, from clients to servers to edge protection to remote protection. It can involve numerous products and technologies spread all over an enterprise, becoming more and more unwieldy over time.

Microsoft has done its part to contribute to security sprawl by releasing no fewer than 10 new security and access products in the last year, under the umbrella designation of code-named "Stirling."

To bring all those disparate security elements together and make them manageable from one interface is the goal of the Forefront Server Security Management Console. At its TechEd conference in Orlando Monday, Microsoft announced the beta 2 release of the Stirling management piece.

Stirling includes a number of established products grafted together with many new ones, including:

  • Forefront Client Security
  • Forefront for Exchange
  • Forefront for SharePoint
  • Forefront Server Management
  • Microsoft Antigen anti-virus
  • Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server)
  • Intelligent Application Gateway
  • Windows Live OneCare desktop protection

These products are integrated with Microsoft Network Access Protection, which keeps unsafe computers off the network by making them meet security standards.

Microsoft came late to the security game, but Margaret Arakawa, senior director of security product marketing at Microsoft, said in a press release that Microsoft has lapped the field with Stirling.

"The reality is other vendors are not able to deliver the level of integration or unified protection, reporting, and visibility that Microsoft can," she said. "It is not easy to take disparate security technologies and management capabilities that sit in various parts of the infrastructure and the IT organization and unify them in an interconnected system of protection and management. Microsoft can do this because we have developed our Forefront portfolio with comprehensive protection and secure-access technologies across the infrastructure and have built Forefront on a common management and policy infrastructure."

It will be awhile, however, before Stirling is ready for action. According to Microsoft, a customer technology preview of Stirling will begin in the second half of 2007, followed by a public beta in the first half of 2008. The product is expected to be generally available in the first half of 2009.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at kward@1105media.com.

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