Now that UAG is the future of remote access for Microsoft, TMG has taken a second place in that area. That’s why we cover UAG here on ISAserver.org. In addition, the TMG firewall is included with the UAG server, to protect the UAG server and provide it with some additional functionality.
We’re really excited about DirectAccess over here. It’s definitely the future of Microsoft’s remote access strategy and it’s something that will remain important even if cloud computing goes mainstream. Why? Because regardless of how popular cloud computing becomes, not all applications are going to lend themselves to moving to the cloud. There are too many security, compliance and performance issues that won’t be solved in the next decade which prevent cloud computing from completely supplanting the on-premises datacenter.
That’s where DirectAccess becomes extremely relevant. Cloud computing, among other things, is designed to make information always available to the appropriate users regardless of where the user is located, since the cloud datacenter is an Internet accessible site. In order to come full circle on the cloud vision and the idea that information is always accessible regardless of location (and type of computing device if you want to take the anywhere access idea to its full potential), then you need the same kind of transparent and “always on” connectivity to the corpnet.
And that’s where DirectAccess comes in.
As Tom has written before me, and I have continued to write, DirectAccess at first blush can seem daunting. However, when you actually get into it and start doing it, it’s not nearly as difficult to put together as other popular Microsoft technologies, such as System Center Configuration Manager or SQL server. In fact, once you get your hands on it, you’ll find that putting together a basic DirectAccess solution with UAG is quite easy – and your users and your CxO’s are going to hug you for making it possible for them!
But how do you get that hands-on experience to build the confidence you need to create a live solution? You could read the planning and deployment guides, try to cobble together a test lab on your own, and hope that you arranged all the pieces in the right order. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen. What you need is some tight, tested, and reliable guidance to create a test lab that is known to work, and explains all the moving parts and brings order to what otherwise might seem like chaos.
When I built my own UAG DirectAccess solution, I had the advantage of asking my husband about the order of operations, how the pieces fit together, and how to make sure everything was done right. But the first thing I did was go through his step by step guide. I found a few bugs in it, but overall it let me know how things worked and I was able to put together a great UAG DirectAccess solution in my home office. Nice!
The good news I have for you today is that Tom has upped the ante on the Test Lab guidance and completed a suite of Test Lab Guides that walk you through a number of UAG DirectAccess scenarios. I’ve tested these myself and they work flawlessly! I even learned how to create some “manage out” scenarios and got NAP to work too – which is cool, because I had no idea how to deploy NAP with UAG DirectAccess before going through Tom’s Test Lab guides.
For more information on the UAG DirectAccess Test Lab guides, check out his Edge Man blog post over at:
DEBRA LITTLEJOHN SHINDER
MVP (Enterprise Security)