Page Two

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2004-05-10 Print this article Print

Millers requirements were clear: He wanted to provide remote access for mobile travelers and after-hours users to monitoring experiments and other mission-critical applications; to allow access to a variety of applications with minimal client requirements; to simplify administration and support; and to have native integration with Microsofts Active Directory.

Alexza tested each vendors solution under a 30-day try-to-buy agreement before deciding to install Aventails EX-1500 SSL VPN appliance in the corporate computing network. The flexibility and pricing of the Aventail product, as well as Aventails experience in the SSL VPN market, pushed the solution to the top of the heap.

Eight employees who are constantly on the road and frequently access files were trained for an hour on how to use SSL VPNs and participated in the pilot tests. In the end, Miller chose Aventails EX-1500 SSL VPN appliance, which cost Alexza $17,800. Alexza is paying about $3,000 a year for 25 user licenses.

When eWEEK Labs was on-site last month, Alexza had just finished integrating Aventails product with Active Directory. Miller had also successfully tested SSL Web access to Microsofts Web Outlook and to files stored on his companys Windows 2000-based corporate network.

Case file

  • Company Alexza
  • Location Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Issue Remote access to Alexzas IT computer infrastructure was limited to Web-based e-mail; the company wanted to find a secure, scalable and cost-effective way to provide remote access to mission-critical applications for remote users
  • Solution Deploy an SSL VPN solution from Aventail; integrate Aventails offering with Active Directory
  • Tools Aventails EX-1500 SSL VPN appliance; Microsofts Web Outlook; Waters Empower; Blue Mountain Quality Resources Inc.s Calibration Manager; SolidWorks Corp.s SolidWorks 2003 and 2004; Unanet Technologies Co.s Unanet
  • Whats next Develop a strategy for giving business partners access to mission-critical applications and to exchange information via the VPN
  • Today, Miller is in the process of rolling out the Aventail solution to 25 power users who need access to critical data. Users who want to check their e-mail off-site can use any Web browser. For applications such as Waters Corp.s Empower, a chromatography data program that requires a front-end client such as Citrix that connects to Alexzas Oracle Corp. 9i database, employees use either Aventails OnDemand for Java applet access or Aventails Connect, a Windows agent for fat clients.

    Currently, five mission-critical applications, including Empower and Blue Mountain Quality Resources Inc.s Calibration Manager software, are accessible via the SSL VPN. Miller and his IT staff use Aventails management console to define each users level of access, as well as conduct security audits.

    Miller is now looking at providing access to other monitoring applications. He estimates he will provide access to six more applications this year.

    Miller said he expects to eventually deploy an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, which he will also want to make accessible to remote users.

    "The SSL VPN is a part of our mobile computing strategy, which will become increasingly important as we grow in size," he said.

    Senior Writer Anne Chen can be contacted at

    Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center at for security news, views and analysis.
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    As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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