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Citrix+MSFT= New Security Appliances

Citrix  is extending its partnership with Microsoft  to begin development on an appliance that will integrate technologies from both companies.

The new product will include Citrix's WANScaler solution, Microsoft's Windows Server and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server.

"Microsoft gives Citrix tremendous credibility, technology and market reach in the branch office market," Wes Wasson, vp of product strategy with Citrix's application networking group told internetnews.com.

"By joining forces with Microsoft, Citrix will be able to provide a much more compelling solution than either standalone WAN optimization players who have only a small part of the branch solution) or traditional networking vendors who have had little success in providing true application-layer services to enterprise customers."

The partners are calling the planned solution a new type of branch office appliance that consolidates remote access, acceleration and administration. Wasson said complete product details and feature set are not being announced at this time.

Products that result from this joint development initiative are expected to be available starting in the second half of 2007.

He did say that they would be "unique in the industry in terms of breadth of functionality and ability to simplify branch office infrastructure, while dramatically improving the performance and cost of applications as they travel over WAN to branch office users."

The application acceleration and remote markets are already hotbeds in the industry.

Earlier this year, Microsoft acquired remote access vendor Whale Communications Ltd (a remote access vendor). According to Wasson, the Whale acquisition is not directly related to the new announcement with Microsoft.

Microsoft and Citrix have been partners for many years. Citrix is one of the few companies that historically has a partnership agreement that gives it access to Windows Server Source code.

The two companies also have inked a 2004 deal that extends to 2009, providing for code sharing as well as patent cross-licensing between the two companies.

Microsoft has been ramping up its remote access and acceleration portfolio this year with Branch Infrastructure Promotion.

That promotion includes Windows Server 2003 R2, Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and System Center System Management Licenses and is intended to help support remote offices that typically have few IT support resources.