Microsoft closes Whale buy, reveals road map

It will continue to sell existing Whale products and is offering a 25 percent discount on them

Microsoft  closed its acquisition of VPN (virtual private network) vendor Whale Communications on Wednesday, and outlined a road map for how it would integrate Whale's products into its own security portfolio.

Microsoft will continue to sell existing Whale products, the Whale Intelligent Application Gateway and Whale's application optimizers, and is offering a 25 percent discount on them until Dec. 31, 2006, said Steve Brown, a director of product management for Microsoft.

Pricing for the Whale Intelligent Application Gateway starts at $18,000, while pricing for the application optimizers varies based on the number of concurrent users and applications accessed, Microsoft said.

Whale's products, which give remote users access to applications when they are outside of the corporate firewall, have a number of capabilities not presently offered in Microsoft's remote access security product, ISA Server. These include the ability to make VPN connections based on the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol, and technology in the optimizers that allows network administrators to set policies so remote users can only access specific applications on the network.

Microsoft also plans to continue offering a product that combines Microsoft's ISA Server 2004 with the Whale Intelligent Application Gateway, which the two companies began offering together in December 2005, Brown said. Microsoft will update that product based on ISA Server 2006, the next version of ISA Server, by the end of 2006 or in early 2007.

By late 2007, around the same time Microsoft will offer the next version of Windows Server, code-named Longhorn, Microsoft will integrate technology from Whale's products with ISA Server in a network edge security product that will be a part of Microsoft's Forefront portfolio, Brown said. Microsoft rebranded its security products under the Forefront moniker at its TechEd conference in Boston in June.

Microsoft announced its intent to purchase Whale in May.

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